Friday, March 6, 2015


Nearly two years ago, I met some friends at the pub to watch little Swansea City host big-money Manchester United in the opening match of the 2013-14 season. The Swans, still fairly new to the rugged Premier League, dropped the fixture, 1-4, and right afterwards, I took the subway out to see my parents; I’d been dressed in my beloved Michu centenary home kit. My mother picked me up at Glenmont station. “That’s a nice shirt”, she remarked. “It’s not a shirt, mom. It’s a kit”, I said. “You put it together?” she wondered. I shook my head. “No. It came from Thailand.” To be fair, a “kit” includes the entire footballing getup, but I’m hardly going to the pub clad in shorts, shin guards, and boots. I love my mom. She turned right onto Connecticut Avenue. “So they put it together in Thailand”, she said.

To make my life easier, I do not own the following kits (both home and away, unless otherwise noted): Rutger Hauer Appreciation Day kit, Breakdance kit, Contract with America kit, Ethnic Festival home kit, Mongoose kit, Great Horned Owl kit, Reversible kit, Alias kit, Wrinkle Free home kit, Hockey Bro kit, Fugitive kit, Bubonic Plague Historical Reenactment away kit, Joke Store Beard away kit, Hookah kit, Marriage kit, Formal kit, Religious Worship home kit, All U Can Eat Buffet & Apres Ski kit, Amphibious kit, and High Fructose Corn Syrup kit. Thank goodness. Because how could you find anything at all if you had to sort through all those kits?

Some days ago, I found myself rummaging through all the kits I do own—specifically, my Jogging kit, Hiking kit, Second Interview away kit, Corporate Nostalgia away kit, Supervisor away kit, American kit, Airport away kit, Tourist away kit, Hoodlum away kit, Short-sleeved Under kit, Third Date home kit (which could always lead to wearing the Birthday home kit), Pub away kit, Pajama home kit, and Housework home kit. There it was, finally: I’d located my No. 8 Jonjo Shelvey away kit, in its Adidas Climacool black and red splendor, a single Premier League lion loitering in the lowest dip of the 8. First, I donned a fine long-sleeved Under kit, then the Shelvey kit, then I made for my neighborhood pub.


My friend, Alex Mejia, greeted me at the pub, where he works as a bartender. He likes Swansea City, too, and at the beginning of the current season, I gave him my beloved Michu centenary home kit. Alex indicated that several Manchester United fans were sitting at the bar. Everyone could see the Swansea crest: an away swan. I should note that the same two clubs—Swansea and Man U—met to open the 2014-15 season (back in August) but that time, Swansea won, in Manchester, 1-2. Heavy snow fell outside the pub. I’d stomped through the snow, to celebrate, because Swansea had defeated Man U yet again, earlier in the day, twice in the same season, a first in the team’s history. Shelvey had been Man of the Match. I showed the Man U supporters “Shelvey” on my kit. O, how they howled.

My name is Dan Gutstein. I wear the Jonjo Shelvey away kit since I wish to honor the tempestuous genius, No. 8, who plays midfield for Swansea City, the greatest little football club in the world. Up the Swans!

Cultural Affairs Week Editorial Schedule

March 2: Crows & Owls



Some people who don't know Jonjo Shelvey question his appearance. He has alopecia, a hair loss disorder. He also has a cannon in his shooting leg. Defenses have to defend him from great distances lest he bang in a goalazo!


M. C. Zito said...

I myself do not own a Clean Funding kit or a Job Approval Rating alt. away kit or a Man All U Can Eat kit, though WMATA should give us all free Schedule Adjustment kits. But thanks to a friend like you, not only is my name Sausages, but I also wear the 12 kit--avec deux lions--of one scrappy little Nathan Dyer and the Beanie-Scarf Winter Warmer kit. Up our little club! Up the Swans! Up the Kits!

mark wallace said...

Out here in the west, some punk's always showing up wearing a Kit Carson, and there's no choice, of course, but to shoot that sorry feller down.


Every so often there comes along a person named Kit. Kit must have several kits. Or you have a person named Kat. I met someone named Kat recently. Where the hell are you, Kat? Kat has kits, no doubt. You have Kits and you have Kats. JUST WHO THE HECK ARE THEY AND WHAT THE HECK ARE THEIR NAMES? Never mind what kits they wear. It wears me out. ---------------------B.A.


M.C. Zito,

You not only wear the #12 Nathan Dyer Swansea City AFC Away 2014-15 Kit but you screamed out "Nathan Dyer" to Nathan Dyer and he heard you, in a befuddled way. (Just be sure you still have your cell phone.) Sheeee-ooot but WMATA should sell life insurance. It would be directly applicable. I plan on wearing my Refund Away Kit and visiting a kiosk near me -- like, every day. Up the Swans!


mark wallace said...

I don't know who those kits or kats are. But here in the west, it's not so much of a problem: gun 'em down now, and sort out the names on their gravestones later.


Then you'd have a person named Kit or a person named Kat in the bullet-riddled home kit. Out there yonder in California. Kat in the bullet riddled home kit. In the six feet under away kit. On the other hand, this Kat won't need another kit, ever again. Dare we call it a California kit? O, amid the precious little flowers, the dried riverbeds, the regular detonations of the surf, the fish tacos, the burbling of great stout in a mug -- for these and other aspects, I SURE AS HECK WOULD DON MY CALIFORNIA AWAY KIT!