Ã¢â‚¬Å“Rough day, huh?Ã¢â‚¬Â asked the smirking mid 40s-ish man wedged in next to me on my train ride from the City back to New Jersey on Sunday night. I was confused for a second; it had indeed been a long day at work, but how would he know that? Did I look that worse for wear?
Then I realized he was referring to my attire: a Reggie Bush Saints jersey, the first one I grabbed in my haste to catch the train in the morning. The Redskins had upset New Orleans that afternoon, and he clearly hoped to wallow in my misery.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not a Saints fan,Ã¢â‚¬Â I said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m actually a Dolphins fan, so I guess thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s even worse, though I honestly still donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t care all that much.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Seemingly dissatisfied by my answer, he turned back to his middle class-ish family with a grunt and resumed discussing fantasy football banalities, explaining to his daughter how he had cut Peyton Hillis for Brett Pettigrew as if it were the secret to eternal life, and extolling the virtues of Ã¢â‚¬Å“RD2.Ã¢â‚¬Â I secretly hoped he meant this guy.
My train companion wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t the only person who attempted to draw a pained reaction from me about the SaintsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ defeat. Two other people brought it up during my trek home, both similarly befuddled when I told them I couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t care less about the Saints. This Sunday, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll leave no doubt and wear my horrible Dolphins David Boston jersey.
These reactions from strangers didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t stun me: The teams we root for are woven into our DNA to the point that people associate us with them, even if all they know about us is what shirt they see us wearing.