The World Cup Jersey SwapPosted: June 17, 2014
For the next month, teams representing thirty-two nations will battle for futbol supremacy in the FIFA World Cup. Whenever the World Cup comes around, people like me become soccer fans for the first time since our kids played in the league down at the rec center.
There is one big difference between kid league soccer and World Cup games. When the kid games end, all the players get a juice box and orange slices. After a World Cup game, the players take off their jerseys and swap them with players from the other team. This is a really nice gesture of respect and a great way to get a cool jersey as a memento.
I’ve seen the jersey swap enough to understand that it is one of the sport’s long-standing traditions. I’d like to extend the tradition beyond the confines of the football pitch.
Did you notice that? I live in the U.S., but I called a soccer field a football pitch. I am so open-minded. I’m open-minded and my son once had a British soccer coach who called the field a “pitch” and soccer shoes “boots”. Don’t let my open-minded ways distract you from the premise – the jersey exchange is an idea whose time has come.
A few years back, I found out that my neck was a mess. My vertebrae weren’t all they were meant to be and they were damaging my spinal cord. I was in trouble until a surgeon went to work on me. I walked out of the hospital a new man, or at least a much happier old man.
If the jersey swap idea was in effect back then, I’d have tugged off my shirt as I left the hospital and handed it to my doctor. I’d have let him know how much I appreciated his professionalism. Maybe he’d have told me how he admired the way I held up despite my discomfort. I’d have left with a surgical scrub shirt, he’d have a University Of Maryland sweatshirt and we’d have both felt respected.
Imagine that you’re enjoying a great meal in a restaurant. You ask to see the chef, exchange compliments and shirts and you walk out with one of those cool chef jackets. You’re with me now, aren’t you? Of course you are, we all want one of those chef jackets.
We Can Work It Out
I know there are kinks that require working out as we get this jersey swapping idea going.
We all know that there are men who would take advantage of the shirt swap for unscrupulous reasons. These clowns could ruin a good thing for us all. I’m recommending a “you are skeeving me out” clause that would allow women to refuse swap offers that are less than honorable.
All of us have shirts with sentimental value. There would have to be a way to protect those treasures. No one is getting my 1966 Brooks Robinson baseball jersey because I did something nice for them; that would be a punishment for me.
There probably should be some sort of equal value exception as well. We’ll put our heads together to work that out along with any other issues you might bring up.
It is time to bring this gesture of mutual respect off the futball pitch and into day-to-day life. Help me make this dream a reality. Offer to swap shirts with someone who has done great work today.