Wearing Your Team On Your Sleeve

This afternoon, I went with my brother Alex to watch the Green Bay Packers at Philadelphia Eagles NFC playoff game at a nearby restaurant, where we met up with Alex’s friend Jack and Jack’s brother Scott.

When you go out in public to watch a sporting event, your choice of clothes tells the other patrons about your allegiances.  I was wearing my beat-up Boston Red Sox hat, informing everyone there of one fact, and implying two other facts to them:

  1. Fact:  I was a Boston Red Sox fan.
  2. Implication:  I was probably a New England Patriots fan as well.
  3. Implication:  I probably didn’t really care about either team in the game we were watching, and was just there to watch football, josh around with other guys, drink some beer, and eat some steak.

If I were a fan of either the Packers or the Eagles, you would expect me to wear some sort of gear from the team I supported.  Maybe a faded Donovan McNabb or Brett Favre jersey; perhaps a crisp new DeSean Jackson or Aaron Rodgers jersey.  Probably not a Michael Vick jersey, because, let’s face it, most people are still skittish about being fans of Vick.  An Eagles hat or a Packers sweatshirt would’ve also done the trick.

But since I was wearing a hat from yet another city, and another sport altogether, you’d have to observe my reactions to the game itself to see who I was rooting for in this football game.  Rest assured, my reactions to the game were muted and parceled out fairly evenly on both sides.

I tried to think of the most harmless thing. Something I loved from my childhood. Something that could never, ever possibly destroy us. Mr. Stay Puft.

Jack was decked out in San Jose Sharks gear, since he’s a huge Sharks fan and his Raiders weren’t playing.  He had the good sense not to wear Raiders gear to watch a playoff game of two otherteams.  Scott was wearing a Cal-Berkeley hat, which would indicate he was either rooting for the Packers — since Aaron Rodgers went there — or perhaps Scott himself went to Berkeley.  Alex was the dork wearing the Ghostbusters t-shirt, showing his allegiance to the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

Nearby, there was a table of six people, all of who were wearing San Francisco 49ers red sweatshirts or t-shirts.  It was odd.  I would expect to see 6 people wearing the same sports paraphernalia on a day when their team was playing… but the Niners’ season ended a week ago.  There was no discernible reason for this group of people to be sitting there, wearing the same outfits, a week after their team’s season ended.

But here’s the strangest thing.  Whenever the Packers scored, or when they intercepted Vick’s last pass to seal the win, this crew of Niners fans erupted into cheers.  It was if it was THEIR team that was winning, as if their team was in the playoffs.  As if they were wearing Green Bay green and yellow instead of San Francisco red and gold.

I was confused.  Well, technically, THEY were confused.  As usual, I went to Twitter to comment on it, and I received this reply, which pretty much sums it up:


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