Over the last 40 years, the popularity of all sports has grown significantly. Technology and media marketing have contributed a great deal to that growth. Throughout these last several decades, sports has continued to captivate the hearts and minds of people of all ages.
Everywhere in the world, people show their loyalty and dedicated allegiance to their teams and players in so many ways. Showing their support, some wear hats, some wear shirts, some even hang posters in their bedroom walls, but nothing tops the showing of allegiance of a team than wearing a pro sports jersey publicly where all can see. Wearing an athletic jersey of a favorite team or player for most fans is the pinnacle of pride and showing dedication to their teams and players.
Below, we will explore the different ways pro sports jerseys affects our society, how superstar athletes have influenced fans young and old, and how the transformation of style has increased even more attraction to the game itself.
Pro Sports Is A Part Of Our Culture
Since the early 1900s sports has influenced and impacted society in some way or fashion. Throughout history, various athletes off the field have affected the lives of people around the globe, while still captivating the audience with their great play and commitment to excellence on the field. The combination of on-field and off-field success by both teams and players have had a long-lasting effect on people of every race and creed.
While games are only just that, games, we as people use sports to alleviate ourselves from the pressures and stresses of everyday life. And many of us have found a common relation to some of the everyday issues of life that players have either encountered or suffered through. Our teams and players matter to us more than we think. And so how do we as society most express our satisfaction, our commitment, our loyalty and love to our players and teams, that’s right, through wearing their athletic gear. We wear the caps, we wear the jackets, we wear the jerseys.
And pro sports jerseys are our way of expressing that love. Sports has truly become a part of our culture, and that is clear and evident throughout the world. No matter the sport, whether football, basketball, baseball, or soccer, the results and reactions are the same; we wear our emotions on our sleeves, literally, unless you’re a basketball fan. (There are no sleeves for a basketball jersey. lol)
Favorite Jerseys – Following Our Favorites And Following The Greats
From Mickey Mantle to Wayne Gretzky, Joe Montana to Tom Brady and LeBron James, to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi (and the names can go on and on of course) to name a few, fans are supporters and followers of their favorite players and teams. From the New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Lakers, to Real Madrid and Manchester United, our teams are our lifeline to relaxation and bliss, and away from the world of reality.
Many fans follow their respected teams and players by either watching them on television, listening on the radio, or streaming games online. And for many others, following their teams and players also includes wearing their favorite teams’ apparel, specifically their jerseys. There is nothing more prideful to wear your teams jersey after they won a championship, or wearing your favorite players jersey while he or she is a superstar tearing up their leagues statistically.
In a world where cable and the internet bring the games to you, fans are able to represent their favorite team or player from anywhere in the world near and far. Although we are hundreds and in some cases thousands of miles away, we are always surrounded by sports and our favorite sports figures. Wearing jerseys is a common way of showing our support, and following the great players is a trend that will always continue. We gravitate to champions.
Pro Sports Experience – Sharing The Experience And Living The Dream
For many, especially children, wearing the jersey of their favorite player and/or team is and was the equivalent of sharing the experience and living out their dreams. Many current day athletes started their journey as a young boy or girl growing up wearing their favorite jerseys of their favorite teams or players, and even as teenagers, wear those same jerseys as they played their favorite sports.
Many children and teenagers have relived the moments they watched on television, pretending to be their favorite player or imagining making the winning play for their favorite team. As these children do in Afghanistan(<see picture), imagining playing like their soccer hero David Beckham. Whether it’s kicking a penalty kick in the World Cup, fourth and goal with five seconds left in the 4th quarter, three balls and two strikes with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, or it’s the 4th quarter with time running out and hitting the three pointer to win the game, these are the dreams played out by so many fans young and old.
When I was a young boy, growing up in Brooklyn, New York, I naturally rooted for my local teams. I wore New York Knicks basketball player Patrick Ewing’s jersey, and would go to the park practicing my shooting, I even tried to shoot the basketball the way he would shoot it; shooting the game winning shot, emulating his style of shooting. That was my “shared experience”, that was my “living the dream” moment. Since then, I have bought numerous jerseys.
While wearing the jerseys we played the part, and these dreams and scenarios are being played out to this very day. Wearing the jerseys and playing the role……literally, well…..technically.
The Transformation Of Jerseys – Part I
In the last 20 years or so, teams in all sports have changed the game entirely when it comes to their uniforms. A century ago jerseys were basic, plain and simple, a road and home jersey respectively (<see picture). In today’s sports world, increases in league revenues through new lucrative television contracts, allow teams to spend more on uniforms. Many teams now have multiple jerseys for home and away games. Almost every team in every major sport has transformed their designs, styles, and logos. Some teams have numerous jerseys, while others have added a few. Some teams like the New York Yankees and Green Bay Packers, have held to their traditional looks going back as far as the 1920s.
Even college teams have made the change to new and dynamic styles. The University of
Oregon, the Ducks as their known, wear a different jersey every game (see picture>), this was unheard-of some 15 to 20 years ago. This look is much different from the basic look of 1916 (<see picture). Their various selection of uniforms undoubtedly spawned a new era, and colleges all around the country have now followed suit.
Throughout all sports many teams have upgraded to newer and more modern logos and styles, many of these teams pick weeks during the season to wear retro or throwback jerseys from back in the days from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Some teams who were established before then even take it back further. Fans have embraced both directions, appreciating and wearing the look of both the past and present. Generations young and old have their favorite looks.
Teams today continue to change their color schemes and overall appearance of their uniforms. In the 80s and 90s football jerseys were baggy and loose fitted, now football jerseys are more snug and made more aerodynamic. The 80s for basketball jerseys were made tight with short shorts, the 90s were just the opposite when the baggy look was in; with today’s game going back to a tighter fit jersey while keeping the shorts long. During this year’s World Cup, it was very evident more than ever of the various jerseys that each nation wore. Some nations wore different jerseys every game, with various colors and patterns. Jerseys today are far from the vanilla look of the 60s and 70s.
Pro Sports Jerseys – The Fad That Will Never End
Many fads come and go, but wearing pro sport jerseys is a fad that will never end. Whether you live in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, or Asia, sports influences people just about everywhere. People of all colors, races, and creeds show loyalty and love to their athletic heroes.
As long as there are sports, there will always be a following, a passion, a desire to become the superstar, or share the glory of their teams success. And even when teams don’t do well, fans usually are still loyal to their squad or favorite player by wearing their jersey. From throwback to replica to authentic, the need to go out and buy that specific jersey will always be there for millions of fans. From the casual fan to the absolute die-hard fanatic, there is some type of connection to the jerseys we wear. Some people even buy their state or city team jersey not because of the sport, but because it simply represents their hometown. In many cases, our jerseys are our pride of where we come from, or even where we wish to be.
Some people are fanatics of their teams, some are fanatics of their favorite players, buying jerseys for every team their player joins. A key example of this is LeBron James. James started his career in Cleveland, then went to Miami, returned to Cleveland, and now is on his way to the Los Angeles Lakers. Another example is Christiano Ronaldo, the superstar soccer player is moving on from Real Madrid and going to Juventus, but make no mistake, fans will continue to follow Ronaldo wherever he goes.
There are many fans who won’t care about the moves their favorite players make because they generally follow and root for the player and not necessarily the team. However, the team benefits from the support of the player as their jerseys and other sport apparel will sell. This trend is very common for fans and will continue as long as professional sports continues. Which teams do you root for, who is your favorite players, which jersey do you own, which school do you represent?
Leave your comments and questions below.