Here in North America, we fret and fret about our jerseys. We aim to hold them to some higher standard. Even the most minor tweaks to New York’s pinstripes or Montreal’s classic take on Les Habitents are viewed as travesties. People will spit in disgust. You know, like llamas or mules.
The thought of advertising is generally seen to be the last straw. Fans in Toronto proudly say, “No. It’s called the SkyDome. Not the Rogers Centre!” They’ll fight you over it. They will. There’s an odd link to tradition that it seemingly rooted in ageless nobility.
Meanwhile, those Europeans… they just don’t care.
Oh, they have history, no doubt. They have their Colosseums, and they have their churches. Michelangelo and Da Vinci both painted and lived at the same time — in the same boot-shaped country. Of course, their Colosseum has a farm stable for hundreds of years, and they walk around the Roman Forum like it’s some kind of inconvenience.
Their jerseys, though?
Sure, they have history. Or, tradition. Barcelona has their purple and blue stripes. Juventus has the referee look. Manchester United wears the Reds. Man City those beautiful blues.
But, even in those consistent patterns, there has always been wiggle room. Barcelonas stripe design changes every year, to the point that their away shirts are currently neon orange and yellow. It’s like a negative exposure of their normal tunics.
Manchester United and Man City may rep red and blue, respectively, but their collars change every year. Their sponsors just as often.
Barcelona used to have UNICEF slapped across their chest. Now, they have QATAR FOUNDATION.
Remember when Manchester United repped Vodafone? Now, it’s AON.
And, finally, we have hockey fans in North America terrified by what they say today, and yesterday, and so far this September, as more and more of their favourite NHL players have flocked to Russia, Sweden, and Switzerland.
They’re now seeing Rick Nash dressed like a living, breathing Zamboni, or a NASCAR (whatever ad-clad vehicle analogy you prefer). They’re seeing what happens when you just don’t give a damn. Oh, you can say it’s all about money, right? Well, wouldn’t it be nice if all you worried about was money? Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to give a damn about disappointing your fan base?
Wouldn’t it be nice if we all just relaxed… if we stopped caring? You know, like Europe?