Sports merchandising. You gotta love sports merchandising. I’m just as guilty as the next guy. I love having a St Louis Cardinal’s baseball logo on my hat, my shirt, my sleep pants, my hoodie, my jacket, the scarf and gloves that go with it, and a good pair of socks not to mention the picture frame, refrigerator magnet, bracelet, aerial topper, and herb pot on top of the TV. Hey, don’t judge. I also have Chicago Bears, Chicago Bulls, White Sox, Cornbelters and a couple of colleges’ and high schools’ stuff to boot. That’s a good name for it — stuff.
Sports mania aside, what is up with the sports merchandising? It’s like we wear our identity on our chest. It’s hard to go anywhere without a heads up or hey there or how’s that team doing shoutout thrown in our direction when passing through the store, sitting in a restaurant, or being in public just about anywhere. It’s a conversation starter for sure. By the simple outward donning of our favorite team we have declared undying support and want everyone to know it. It’s a free pass for others to be comfortable commenting on our preference in teams. We were in Philadelphia not long ago with my husband wearing an Eagles t-shirt. We’re not Eagles fans, but hey, when in Rome… Men would literally shout, “Hey, Philly!” acknowledging a dearly felt sports connection. There was the same shout-out with a different inflection while wearing the same shirt in Times Square a few days later, however. Thank goodness I had a Derek Jeter jersey for the Yankees game in the Bronx. Just want to blend. Waiting for a table on a late Sunday morning and a guy passes you wearing of all things a Cubs shirt. Good Lord, what is up with that? I mean seriously. Packers! Have they lost their ever-loving minds? Bradley? It’s ISU all the way for goodness sakes. They’re obviously from out of town. Good-natured back and forth is fair game with complete strangers like, “You’re not such a bad guy, for a Cubs fan.” With a response in kind about the Cardinals being beat by the them in the playoffs last season. Smiles break and camaraderie ensues. A brief but fun encounter. I mean we just took a ribbing from a fellow baseball fan. There’s a deep understanding that the love of the game supersedes team loyalty. Together we love the game of baseball or football or hockey or basketball or soccer, etc. I heart whatever.
When our kids were growing up the favorite go-to gift was always a jersey with their favorite player’s name proudly displayed on the back or a pair of Jordan Nikes or Dominique Wilkin’s pump-up Reeboks or pullover Starter jacket with the team of the day emblazoned across the front. A good hot chocolate mug, watch, basketball, keychain, whatever they got usually had team merchandising on it. Even when they were very young Santa was hip to that jive as well. Bless Santa’s heart.
I’m not sure why we care so much or are willing to pay two and three times the normal price for something because it has a team logo on it. I suppose it’s because in this crazy world of disconnected disenfranchised souls, this commonality brings us together. All’s right with the world knowing that guy over there is a fellow St Louis fan. Go Cards!!… Sandy