This week’s inductee into the “Overrated Hall of Fame” is … throwback uniforms.
My cousin, an avid Tampa Bay Bucs fan, wanted to see the Seahawks and Buccaneers don their 1976 uniforms for last night’s game. He figured that a national TV game between two teams that entered the league in the same year would make for the perfect opportunity to don the throwbacks.
I’m sorry, but it would take a lot more than some 70’s unis to get me to tune into a game featuring those two chock-full-of-nobodies teams. Throwbacks never increase the chances I might tune in or buy a ticket. I’m not one of those idiots that pro sports dupe into thinking that throwbacks mean anything more than a chance for the league to peddle yet another overpriced jersey to the sucker fan who’s perpetually late on his child support payments because he’s just gotta have the Detroit Lions’ sixth jersey, the one they wear only when fat bastard Alex Karras’s birthday falls on a Sunday.
I hate when I tune into a game, any game, and find the teams in throwbacks. I don’t care if teams are commemorating their inaugural season, the Negro Leagues or Pacman Jones’s first arrest. I’m not interested in seeing major league baseball players wearing those bulky, preWWII parachute uniforms. I want to see those skin tight belly hugging uniforms that show off the gooey spare tire half the major league pitchers carry around.
I’m not interested in seeing the Pittsburgh Steelers in those hideous chocolate brown and banana orange old-time uniforms, which remind Steeler fans of 40 years of utter sucktitude. I want to see the famous black and gold that covered the arms on some of the NFL’s (allegedly, ahem) earliest steroid abusers, those great offensive linemen that kept Too Tall Jones off too fragile Terry Bradshaw and blew open holes for Franco Harris wider than Elton John’s banged out bunghole.
I’m not interested in seeing the 1960’s Boston Bruins uniforms because hockey sucked until about 1970. (Thank you, Bobby Orr.)
I’m not interested in seeing the original Chicago Bulls jerseys because basketball sucks in any decade.
It’s all nostalgia, and nostalgia sucks. The past is overrated. The hard edges are planed and sanded. The sucky aspects are expunged from memory. Nostalgia tells us that all things were better 20 and 30 and 50 years ago. Nostalgia appeals to the older male fan who had more hair, a flatter stomach and a cock that could be stuck in instead of stuffed in, but the old days had more negatives than positives.
Next time a team plans a throwback night, they should have to go all the way and really make it authentic. Here are some suggestions:
- Away teams may not fly to the game. They must travel by train. Hey Phil Jackson, enjoy that Amtrak trek to Boston this December.
- No hockey helmets. Let some organ-EYE-zation’s star player get his head rammed into the glass by some modern-day Gordie Howe, the cheap-shottin’ sonofabitch.
- Football players may not wear knee braces. Should some unlucky Bears halfback find his leg bent to the side at a 90 degree angle, he has to submit to the same groundbreaking medical treatment afforded Gale Sayers back in 1968.
- Fans have access to just four food selections at the concession stands, all four of which will suck tremendously, unlike today, when all 37 choices suck tremendously.
- Starting pitchers must each throw a minimum of 150 pitches. Any mention of arm soreness will result in pitcher being labeled a pussy by his manager. The only medical service offered will be a post-game icing, four Budweisers and a “Now get ready to pitch by Monday. A little soreness never hurt anyone.”
- Games will be covered by only two cameras, and game will be televised in black and white. No instant replay will be offered.
- No Europeans may play in an NHL throwback game. Instead of speed, skill, finesse and élan, fans can enjoy the good old days of one slick star per team and 19 mustachioed Canadians whose entire game consists of skating in molasses and chipping out opponents’ teeth.
- No rally monkey, no pierogi or sausage races, no Phillie Fanatic, no scoreboard contests, nothing to keep your minuscule attention span occupied, forcing you to actually pay attention to the game and then, between innings (or quarter or halves or periods), sit through the downtime without whatever manic mayhem is foisted upon us.
The old days weren’t better. The past sucked more than we’d like to remember. (However, you’ll never convince those Civil War re-enactors of this. If those yahoos, with their too much time and too much money, want to truly re-enact the life of a Civil War soldier, they have to do more than carry a musket and set up a tent on Friday night. They should have to suffer a dripping case of dysentery, chronic hunger and a sawed off leg with a whiskey anesthetic.)
Still not sold? Here’s one more stipulation on throwback games. No black players may participate. Enjoy that NFL game with all white running backs, all white receivers and all white cornerbacks. Enjoy that baseball game with clunky middle infielders and first basemen not named Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder or David Ortiz. Enjoy that right-out-of Hoosiers NBA game that ends 38-36 with not one reverse dunk for your Sportscenter pleasure. And enjoy that NHL game with … okay, so nothing would be different. But no one watches the NHL anyway.
Ned Bitters is, in fact, overrated. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.