team colors

In lieu of the shirtless look, the stadium crowd had to do something and decided the next logical step would be dressing up as Kiss….”


by matt waterman



There’s something about the autumn months that carry associations all their own. One thinks of Halloween and dressing up to go trick-or-treating. One also thinks of the falling leaves and changing temperatures. And the thought of the changing temperatures also sums up memories of football in the mud and, “the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.” Perhaps it is this associative tendency that explains all the costumes at football games this year.

Has anyone else noticed this trend? It seems as if more and more lunatics are showing up in full-fledged costumes for the weekly events. Sure, there were always those nuts in Oakland who dressed up like some “Road Warrior” extras but in team colors. And the “Big Dog” was always there in Cleveland excepting, of course, the years where there was no franchise. But now it seems as if even Joe-average is getting in on the act. It’s not enough for the casual fan to simply paint their face anymore—true team support is in the costume. One week I saw Elvis rooting on a team though, for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what connection Elvis had with this football team. Darth Vader was seen whooping it up in the stands at another. I hoped, for his sake, the Emperor didn’t see him. And in San Francisco, you can’t show a shot of the crowd without Jim Morrison impersonators jumping out of the woodwork.

Ironically, there seems to be a relationship between how many people are in costumes as compared to the venue. Just as a lot of the outdoor stadiums are associated with the blue-collar nature of their communities, so too is the type of fan support shown. The outdoor, cold, windy stadiums still seem to prefer the tried and true method of going shirtless. However, the indoor stadiums seem to have a much greater percentage of people in actual costumes. Perhaps, this is the result of those blue-collar communities and attitudes. The Bears fan, outside in the wind and snow without a shirt on, simply cannot understand how dressing up as Bill Clinton will help his team win. Of course, this trend could also be due to the fact that taking your shirt off at an indoor game is, well, simply getting comfortable. In lieu of the shirtless look, the stadium crowd had to do something and decided the next logical step would be dressing up as Kiss.

But as I get ready for the games this weekend, though, a nagging thought continued to pester me: What if dressing up actually works? Is it possible that doing this actually could propel a team to victory? Are these fans on to something that I don’t know? Eyeing up my closet, I come to the conclusion that there’s worse things in the world than showing up at my local sports bar dressed as a pirate…


Originally published:
Issue Sixteen
December 2001

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