Whilst waiting for lunch to go via Fieldstone Grill the other day, I caught ESPN Classic in the bar. A bowling tournament, circa 1993. I wasn’t so much intrigued by the bad hair or polyester, but by what I saw in the crowd: suits. Men in suits. Women in suits. It was weird. I didn’t picture bowling as a suit-sporting-event [would that have qualified as a Wheel of Fortune “Before and After” category?]. There might be suits at prize boxing matches or perhaps even polo matches. But bowling?
But some serious sporting events are heating up right now and so I have taken notice of what the average fan is wearing. On average, the team sports fans are the most colorful. While on the other hand, individual sports fans are dressier.
It’s that time of year. (Thank goodness). College football. The average fan is decked out in the college colors, whether it’s by t-shirt or body paint, and often headgear of some sort that relates to the team. And schools are getting hip to the impact of color, requesting that fans participate in Black Out (South Carolina), White Out (Penn State), or Maize Out (Michigan) games.
Are these fans, on average, more reserved than the team sports fans? Is it the influence of several thousand that encourages body painting and hooliganism? If you attend an individual sporting event, these things are not so prevalent. At the US Open, you won’t see “Roddick” or “Henin” spelled out across several bodies in the stands alongside the Arthur Ashe court. Nor are you likely to see a big foam finger sporting the race number of a horse in the Derby.
No. These individual sports are generally attended by fans wearing business casual attire. Khakis and sport coats. Seersucker and madras. Sun-dresses and broad-brimmed hats.
So is it the nature of the sport that has the fans wearing particular attire? Does Hail to the Victors sound better from a sea of Maize? Or would you be frowned upon if you showed up to the Belmont sporting your favorite stables’ silks?
I’m not sure the origin of these fan dressing situations. But I do know that I just kept the lights on at the M-Den for another month or so, and in the event that I take a liking to bowling any time soon, I will have plenty of suits from which to choose should I go see a tournament (if that’s what they are even called).