I am not a sports person. I actually don’t mind playing sports, even though I have the hand-eye coordination of a baby just on the cusp of learning fine motor skills, but watching games has always been hit or miss. Football games (and we’re talking American football games) were only as interesting as the snacks. I will get crazy for some sour cream and cheddar potato chips. The Bears? Not so much. Basketball games cause me endless anxiety: I love how fast basketball is, but watching the shot clock count down gives me heart palpitations.
I have, however, found myself at bars here watching football games (and we’re talking European football games). I still don’t really understand offside (NB: I actually do understand offside, I just don’t care). In November last year, I had the pleasure of attending a match at the stadium itself thanks to some really lovely friends who invited me along and took care of all of the details. It was a lot of fun, and I highly recommend it. Plus, I got the meet what I’m just going to call the “mascot”, for lack of a better term, of De Buffalo’s, this proud face of KAA Gent.
I was very excited. Why is this man in full blue and white pseudo-Native American regalia? It’s kind of a cute story, I guess, and it’s probably more of a comment on the history of racism in the US than anything. I can’t say it still doesn’t make me uncomfortable*, especially when I was at UIUC when they finally got rid of Chief Illiniwek, better known as “Midwestern white kid dressing up in full regalia and dancing during halftime, but it’s ‘okay’ because a member of the Illini tribe taught him to”**, and more recently having been part of discussions regarding the controversy surrounding the Washington football team. I think it’s pretty clear where I stand on intentional or unintentional racist imagery, and at the risk of being the expat Britta Perry of Belgium, I’ll just post my pro-Gent-but-wary-of-racism outfit of the day. Pro-tip: go for the color scheme (not the Native American aspects) of the team, so as to avoid being another hipster in a headdress.
The goods: thrifted TopShop dress (found at Rag-o-rama in Columbus; it’s wrinkled because I just washed it and I’m lazy, sorry), old oversized cardigan from when I had a real job where I wore dress slacks and needed a sweater for the freezing cold office (I think my mom bought it for me at Kohls?), TamTam/Uniqlo leggings over wool tights (because I’m actually just always cold), those Bocage booties that my feet are not too swollen to fit in today (as Sonnet said, #runnerproblems), and a laurel headband because #wearethechampions, amirite?
* Another football club mascot that makes me uncomfortable? The “Super Jews“.
** This is an unpopular opinion. I don’t care. It was never okay, and just because you found an Illini member to say it was okay does not mean it was actually okay.