When did ludicrous sporting attire become socially acceptable?
When did looking like Reebok marketing team’s wet dream become the status quo for recreational sport? At what point was simply throwing on a pair of sneakers and heading out for a run no longer deemed exercise? While I’m not sure that there is any discernible physiological advantage to having an iPod or GPS navigation on your run, it seems that unless you’ve left the house adorned in Adidas or looking like you have signed a lucrative endorsement deal with Nike, you just aren’t serious about your sport.
Let’s have a look at four recreational sports where the outfits are now officially out there:
Go to any golf club and observe the attire of the serious members, and you’ll be forgiven for thinking that you’ve landed on Mars during Faux Pas Fashion Week. You’ll be surrounded by loud shirts, paisley pants and striped vests, none of which will make guy chastising you for playing too slowly seem more cheerful.
I’m sorry, but does the knitted hat with the pompom really help your tee shot?
I’ll never understand those cyclists who ride once or twice a week, yet seem compelled to own more equipment than most Tour de France competitors. Sure, your bike is a carbon fibre masterpiece and looks like it was designed by NASA, but what the hell is up with your outfit? How can someone who is happy to outlay hundreds of dollars for matching riding shoes and gloves not have a mirror with which to appraise themselves before leaving the house? Nothing puts you off a latte quite like having to observe a pale, hairy stomach escaping the confines of a skin-tight jersey while its pudgy owner attacks a caramel macchiato and a muffin the size of grapefruit.
Whoever designed running accessories to accommodate iPods, mobile phones and portable navigation units has a lot to answer for. If you don’t take your iPhone, Nano and six different types of monitoring equipment with you on your morning run, you aren’t a serious jogger. Are your shoes worth less than $300 and not monogrammed with your initials? Don’t bother turning up: you’ll just be ostracised by the other members of your running group.
There’s a woman in the adjacent building who takes her tennis very, very seriously. When she’s on the court, she could pass for the love child of Björn Borg and Maria Sharapova. Everything in her playing ensemble – including the sweatbands that grace her head and wrists – is white, and she emits a grunt while serving that would terrify rutting stags.
My question to her is this: when you have only travelled thirty metres from your apartment for the match, is there really any need for a full bag of equipment that includes several racquets?
When it comes to sporting outfits, the do’s and don’ts are unquestionably clear cut. If you are an Olympian or on any sort of professional tour, do wear whatever you want. If you’re 52, overweight and have spent $10,000 on a bike to try and recapture your youth, don’t subject the unsuspecting public to your sweaty, lycra-clad crisis.