Sunday, February 23, 2014

the hockey jersey

These things I know:

The hockey jersey is the least-flattering garment known in modern times. Whatever your shape, size, age or style, put on a jersey and you look like a block. You are a block wearing your team colours. You represent. Nevertheless, you are a block, wearing a $200 polyester garment that makes you look like a block.

The hockey jersey is warm. Very warm. Hot flashes and hockey jerseys don't work well together. Women of a certain age had best wear hockey jerseys in hockey arenas only, preferably while lying on the ice. Note: this is not recommended during a hockey game, nor while the Zamboni is on the ice.

Sports fans love their hockey jerseys. Alex has 6 of them now, I think. Get on public transit on game day, and  you will see dozens of people wearing hockey jerseys to the office, to lunch, to the game. A Skytrain car full of blocks in expensive polyester shirts. Go figure!

The hockey jersey requires no imagination. Just put it on. You are immediately identified as a fan of the team. Imagination is demonstrated by people who paint their faces or dye their hair with team colours or wear watermelon shells on their heads. No, wait, that's CFL football. Never mind.

My lack of appreciation for the allure of the hockey jersey would indicate that I would NEVER, ever wear a hockey jersey. Finally, on Friday, at work, I did. I wore the jersey. Canada's men's Olympic hockey team was facing Team USA in the semi-finals. The winner would compete for the gold medal. The loser would go to the runoff match for the bronze. I borrowed Alex's team Canada jersey and wore it to work.

It was warm. I work indoors, so I wore a light T-shirt underneath. I managed to keep my cool, and keep the jersey on all day. Thank goodness. I looked like a block. Yes I did, but I represented. The Maple Leaf emblem told everyone that I was cheering for Canada. Hooray! And it was funny, people who I see everyday, who would never mention my outfit, my shoes, my haircut, my earrings, went out of their way to say, "I LIKE YOUR JERSEY!" Yes, they said it like that, in capital letters. And when we won the semi-final, several people admonished me that I had better wear that jersey again on Sunday, to ensure that we would win the gold medal. Hmmm, so jerseys also have magical powers? I knew that beards, socks and underwear have magical powers, but not jerseys.

So now I know a few more things about hockey jerseys:

Jerseys are not about looking attractive. They are meant to make you look uniform - the same as the other fans. Wearing a jersey says, "I am with YOU in our devotion to the team."

Because the jersey is in no way personal or individual, it allows others to say, "YOU LOOK AWESOME," without risking any misunderstanding about why they are saying it. The person who compliments your jersey is not attracted to you, or trying to flatter you. The person who compliments your jersey is excited that you like the same team that he or she likes.

Jerseys are imaginative, but in a different way. They encourage the wearer, and those who see him or her, to imagine winning. If there's a magical power in a jersey, it's that it allows the wearer to feel the magic of doing something tangible to support the team. That's good.

When I came home, I gave Alex back his Team Canada jersey and thanked him for letting me borrow it to wear to work. I appreciated the opportunity to share in the fun, and I learned a lot.

question: do you wear the hockey jersey?

mompoet - happy (sometimes) to look like a block, with all of the other blocks


recess queen said...

Yes.. I wear a hockey jersey.. at school during spirit week, we have a jersey day.. and through out the year, hockey fans( staff and students will wear them.. especially on game days. It makes for great conversation with students as I am walking down the halls, providing an oppurtunity for creating community among 300 + staff and students

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