The natural maturation of a child into a teen, adult and eventually elder has various stages. Putting aside the physical changes of people, it’s no secret that growing up brings “growing out of tendencies.”
At age 11, a kid who always loved playing with toy legos may become interested in violent video games. A little girl who loved her dollies will take “tea party time” into reality mode as a young teen and start going out on dates instead.
One to take note of is as kids, anyone who bought an athlete’s jersey did so because he was a favorite player – someone looked up to. You wanted to be like this person one day in that particular sport and be just as successful.
As a 22-year-old Philadelphia sports fan, I have my fair share of Phillies red player t-shirts. I own Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Brad Lidge and Cole Hamels. All of these players are older than me by at least three or four years. Some, like Howard, Rollins and Lidge are in their 30s.
It is acceptable for me to wear these t-shirts for however long I want to in my life because these are the guys I grew up watching. These are the players I idolized and wanted to be like before I started realizing that I wasn’t going to play pro sports.
But, as these players’ careers move on and eventually come to an end, new players will emerge into the frame. The issue is these new guys will most likely be slightly younger, older or the same exact age as me.
Take for instance promising young Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown. He has a bright future and could be a big asset for the Phillies starting in the next couple of years. Despite him being a key ingredient to my favorite team, I don’t think it will be “cool” or “appropriate” for me to rock his jersey.
I think if you are much older or just about the same age as a star professional athlete, it is odd for you to wear that player’s uniform.
In fairness, people argue what the big deal is. They think there is nothing wrong with a 50-year-old wearing LeBron Jame’s or Sidney Crosby’s jersey.
As kids, wearing jerseys were cool. It was considered hip. Some started collecting and making a whole wardrobe out of them, especially when the material and fabric used to make the jerseys became more and more realistic to what the actual players wore.
Why not continue that hobby as an adult?
The reason is what is there is no one to look up to anymore. It is like Jack Nicholson watching Leonardo DiCaprio movies for pointers. Leo studies Jack. Jack embraces the glory or being the elder statesman and doesn’t need any guidance.
To admire young player’s you don’t have to wear their uniforms. When I get older and attend Phillies games with my kids, I will be representing those who watched the long balls hit by Howard or the hustle plays made by Utley.
I will continue to wear their jerseys rather than the new breed of Phillies stars. It won’t feel awkward or foolish.
Maybe it’s a silly insecurity I have about my “man-hood” or showing shame on my age. On the other hand though, I consider it showing an appreciation for the past.
No disrespect to the new wave of athletes coming into the pro sports world, but you will never see me wearing your uniform. You can win 10 championships in a row for one of my favorite teams.
My body will be clothed old-school style.