Thursday, September 23, 2010

What Not To Wear: Sports Edition

Tony Pulis: Don't even get me started on
those walking shoes you're wearing.
What the hell happened to sports? Not the sports themselves; we're not going down the dark path of steroids, $10 stadium beers, ridiculously high salaries, or dead hookers in trunks. But when did it become acceptable for coaches to dress like fools? What happened to the days of well-dressed field generals roaming the sidelines?

When it comes to soccer somewhere the line between player and coach got blurred. Sure, back in the day when the manager was also your striker (and local grocer) the lines were meant to be that way. I'm talking about sweatpants (yeah, you Bob Bradley), training tops, and the team swag that is reserved for someone that features INSIDE the white chalk lines.

Wasn't there an old saying, "Dress for the job that you want, not the one that you have"? Do these guys WANT to be players (again, for some of them)? Is there some joy of thinking that if they played their cards right (and no one noticed on the line up card) that they could just tear-away their pants and jog out as the third and final substitution?

Maybe it's a want to be something they never were. The "player's coach" who started as the equipment manager and worked his way up to boss man while never kicking the round ball in competitive play. Is the silly game day get-up a pathetic attempt at being "one of the guys"?

The assistant coach? He can wear the training pants. That's fine. Because, you know, he's "training" with the team. Kicking the balls, running the laps. Leading everyone around. Even the physio. He's gotta sprint out there with the magic spray and we all know how hard blood would be to get out of a designer suit if a player were actually hurt (Editor's Note: Players never actually get hurt in Italy so this doesn't apply).

I blame baseball. Those managers chewing on their tobacco or Big League Chew cramming their fat asses into the same uniforms that their speedy second baseman wears is just wrong. This isn't about athleticism, for sure. The most movement we see out of a baseball manager is him shifting his balls in between innings and trotting out to the mound (in the slowest possible fashion) to yank his pitcher.

When did we start lowering the bar for the people that lead our on-field warriors into battle? There's no data on this, but I'd put good money on the correlation between thread count of a coach's outfit and the team's overall record.
Pure. Class.

Sports used to be a place where the sidelines looked like an episode of "Mad Men". Vince Lombardi, Tom Landry, Eddie Robinson, Paul Bryant, and Joe Paterno. Men with class. Men in suits.

Suits were a sign of achievement. Almost professorial in their appearance. Not outfits pulled out of the same sweatshirt box the rest of the team gets airplane lounge gear from. And visors? Get fucked. Visors are for the PGA Tour and tennis clubs. Yes, I'm talking to you, Jon Gruden.

In soccer there are a few lone wolves; still sporting the suit in style. Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho roam the sidelines in Spain dressed like they belong there. Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger (when he doesn't wear that ridiculous puffy jacket) and Big Sam Allardyce are always found in their Saturday and Sunday best.

Thread Counts Win Championships.
(Photo: Project2010.Net)
Ol' Bob Bradley? No way. There's a reason he's known as Coach Sweatpants. Even when he's not barking orders or apologizing to Ricardo Clark he can barely dress himself. An appearance on ESPN will get the viewer a gander at Bradley's loan pair of khaki slacks and his favorite Old Navy striped polo. We should expect better out of our representative to the world. Although, I'll concede if I did ever see Bradley wear a suit it just wouldn't work. BB and sweats are just too ingrained in my mind now. There's no changing it.

Still a damn shame, though.

So what's the solution? I propose a compromise between the GQ fashion of the sporting world and the 4th-grader-who-wears-Hanes-sweatpants-everyday faction; let's talk suit jackets with the club crest embroidered on it. Bottoms are coach's choice. Pick a club-color-coordinating tie or scarf and you've got yourself a coach who no longer lets mommy shop for him.

Hopefully this pairing means Martin O'Neill won't be hitting up his new club's sidelines (where ever he lands) with a sport coat and sweats, but at the very least pairing it with khakis and tennies. I think that's the least we can ask. Plus, those coaches that are looking for that free club swag with their appointment can get some of that when "We Put Too Much Faith in One Guy" FC sews the crest on the jacket.

And for God's sake....don't even get me started on wearing a hoodie. That's just ridiculous.

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  1. @njndirish - Just Googled him. Wow! Terrible looking outfits. T-shirt and sport coats are off limits, too.

    Just terrible.


"Anyone who tells me soccer is boring, I'm going to punch them in the face."
- Former Dallas Burn (aka FC Dallas) coach Dave Dir

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