Out

     It’s one of the most stupid things in sports, and I don’t think it’s going anywhere anytime soon.
     I’m talking about the -out, the blackout, the whiteout, the greenout, and so on. It happened Sunday afternoon in the Chicago White Sox-Tampa Bay Rays divisional series playoff game. Georgia had a blackout on September 27 for their game against Alabama, and took it a step further by having its football team dress in special black jerseys. Colorado, Vanderbilt and Purdue have also staged blackouts this season.
     Vanderbilt even asked its fans who didn’t make it to the game to wear black for its game against South Carolina.
     At least black is in those teams’ colors (even if unofficially; Colorado’s official colors are silver and gold). Black is nowhere to be found in the uniforms of Middle Tennessee State (blackout against Florida Atlantic) or Florida State (blackout in 2006 against Boston College and 2007 against Duke). Neither school has black anywhere in their color schemes.
     And let me reiterate that Florida State University, two-time national champions, top five finalists for 14 straight years, had to resort to a gimmick against the Duke Blue Devils. In football. As an alumnus of Florida State, I’d rather lose to Duke than win a game the school felt was significant enough to warrant an organized effort at being lame.
     That’s what these games are, lame. Or, more specifically, the crowds are lame for going along with these stunts.
     The simple fact is that encouraging a stadium to wear all one color has no bearing on the action taking place on the field (or diamond, as the case may be). None whatsoever. Good teams are not intimidated by an all-black clad crowd and if home teams have to rely on that sort of emotional support they probably weren’t going to win anyway.
     All one had to do was watch Alabama embarrass Georgia a week and a half ago on national television to know that.
     And I haven’t forgotten about you Penn State. Your whiteouts are no more impressive or any less lame. And could people please quit acting like Penn State came up with the idea (that honor goes to the then-Winnipeg Jets) or that it’s a long tradition (the first student whiteout occurred way back in 2004).
     The worst part about all this is the buzz among fans before these games take place. On message boards, sports talk radio shows, and the newspaper you get the sense that people are champing at the bit for the game to take place because they’re going to be wearing black. Or white, or whatever color is chosen for the event. As if the middle linebacker is worried about what Joe Brainless in Section 319, row LL, seat 14 has on his back.
     How about we agree that you wear whatever suits your fancy to the sporting event you plan on attending. You’re the one who bought tickets; you should be the one to decide if going with full-body team-color glitter is preferable to a black replica jersey made specifically so Nike can stuff its coffers.

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