You are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company on Bay Street. You’ve got it all going on – the trophy wife, a brand-new Porsche 911, a cottage in the Muskokas, and naturally, Platinum level season tickets for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
So how are you styling on game night, to ensure you stand out in the crowd? A slick, new Burberry slim fit wool mohair suit? Hardly. Why you’re donning your Auston Matthews No. 34 Leafs jersey, of course.
It’s one of life’s great mysteries, right up there with Stonehenge and the popularity of the Kardashians. Why is it that successful adult men choose to go all geeky fanboy when attending sporting events by wearing the uniform of their favorite player?
You wouldn’t go to a Broadway show garbed as one of the characters in the play. You don’t pack your French horn with you when attending the symphony, you know, just in case you’re needed, so what gives that makes this form of behavior acceptable in the sporting arena?
Psychologists classify it as BIRGing – Basking In Reflected Glory, a self-serving condition where people seek to assimilate themselves into the success of others. It’s the same affliction that causes fans of teams to say “we won” after a key victory, as if they played a role in the outcome.
It’s sad enough in its own right, but when you see high achievers in their own careers pulling on the jersey of another, it’s as if they are saying what they’ve achieved in life is meaningless compared to the accomplishments of a professional athlete. And it’s not a good look at all, especially for people cursed with completely unathletic bodies.
Come on guys, hero worship was supposed to pass when you passed through puberty. You’ve done well for yourself, so why not show the world? Dress to exemplify your own success, not in a vain attempt to associate yourself with the success of others.
And if you must pull on your Leafs jersey in public, there’s always Halloween.