Aging sports purist love to constantly remind the younger generations of how things used to be and why they were better. It always starts with the same phrase, “In my day”.
Dad: “Son, in my day the bankboard was made of pure Pittsburgh steel. It took real touch to make it bounce the way you wanted.”
Son: “What the hell’s a bankboard?”
Spend enough time with one of these old tops and you’ll no doubt find yourself Googling “assisted living”. It doesn’t matter if he’s a hundred and three or fifty-two, it’s never too early. However, I’m here to tell you that some practices and traditions of the past need to be revisited and perhaps re-implemented.
Smoking in the dugout:
Because, what better way to celebrate an inning-ending double-play than with the refreshing, satisfying taste of a Pall Mall light. Nobody holds to the illusion that you have to be in tip-top shape to play baseball. Sure, it helps, but it’s certainly not required. A simple Google search of “fat baseball players” will quickly prove my point.
In this world of no smoking signs, I contend the baseball dugout should be the last bastion of smokers. When world-class curmudgeon Jim Leyland switched to Nicorette, an era ended. Let’s bring it back, boys!
Mask-less Hockey Goalies:
Hockey players are considered the toughest around. However, that image has taken a hit in the last few years, *cough, Sidney Crosby, cough*. What better way to take back the bad-ass mantel than for goalies to shed those bulky masks and go au-natural. Not only would it raise street cred, but it would single handily save the Canadian plastic surgery industry. “Sorry you broke your face, eh.”
Dressing up for games:
There was a time in our great country’s history when going to a professional or collegiate game was an event. The gents put on freshly pressed slacks, a tie, a vest, a jacket, laced up the ol’ wingtips and hopped on the subway to go root for the local squadron. To see just how far we’ve fallen, go catch a White Sox game on a random Sunday. Your eyes will be raped by a menagerie of camouflage cargo shorts, skull caps, Juicy pants, hooded sweatshirts and quadruple-XL jerseys.
Speaking of jerseys, can we implement a new rule? If the players name on your jersey isn’t on a flag surrounding the stadium or he isn’t currently on the team, please, for the love of god, leave the jersey at home or better yet, pony up the twenty-eight bucks for a new one. If I see one more Mark Buehrle or Magglio Ordonez jersey I’m gonna start stabbing. Probation be damned.
I contend that clothing worn at sporting events is a small glimpse into the general decay of society as a whole and would love to see sports play a lead role in reversing the sloppification of our country. My grandfather paid eight cents to see the Reds play in 1939 and wore a 3-piece suit. You’re paying 120 dollars, the least you can do is put on a pair of Dockers and a button-up shirt you sloppy bastard.
Who wears short shorts?
The answer is nobody. Before the Fab Five made baggy shorts popular, hoopsters wore the equivalent of daisy dukes on the court. I guess hot-boxing your junk made for a more comfortable gaming experience. To me, it’s not a basketball game if there isn’t a realistic threat of a testicle falling from a pair of shorts.
Speaking of that, why haven’t we ever heard a story about that happening? You know it did. Just once, I’d like to hear an old ballplayer reminisce about the time Bob Cousy played the entire 2nd half of game 3 of the 1957 NBA Championships with one testicle out of his shorts.
At first glance, this desire to bring back short shorts might seem a bit homoerotic, but if Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Dr. J and every pasty IU point guard since 1912 can wear them, then so can LeBron.
I don’t know if putting Tim Duncan in shorts shorts or taking Jimmy Howard’s mask off is going to fundamentally improve their respective games. It probably won’t, but it would certainly make the game better for the fans. And ultimately, that’s what I’m into because my playing days are over and it won’t be my teeth sliding across the ice.
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