20 Tips for Getting a Sports Tattoo

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20 Tips for Getting a Sports Tattoo
Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Ah, the tattoo. Outside of a very small segment of society who pull one (much less many) off—musicians, some models, tattoo artists—is there any form of self-expression that fails more often or more spectacularly?

Like the damage caused by smoking cigarettes, there is no mystery about what happens when that beefy, handlebar-mustached dude applies the needle to your skin. They are, for all practical purposes, forever.

And even if you've come up with the most amazing tattoo concept to ever pop into a twenty-something's somewhat inebriated brain, that doesn't mean the result is going to appear like it was telepathically etched from your imagination. If Facebook and Twitter have taught us anything, it's that a shocking percentage of America have spelling skills that fall below the fifth-grade level.

While that brilliant design featuring your new boyfriend Derp's face tramp-stamped onto the small of your back and winking at your caboose is rife for error—nobody cares who you or Derp are to begin with—no subject matter leads to more tattoo disasters than sports.

This is because sports—the athletes, the teams, the organization—are fluid. Not only is it very possible your favorite athlete will become irrelevant over your lifetime, but they could very well fall out of favor; as in you hate them at some point.

Your ex-wife Dina's erratically scripted name may haunt your forearm forever, but at least you were married to her. Even if you are married to the sports concept in spirit and the artist faithfully captures the idea somewhere on your facade...the image is going to melt, fade and become something creepy or functionally abstract.

Honor the next Gino Torretta at your own peril, and if you need one last reminder why you should reconsider—or at least follow some helpful guidelines—stay right here.

These are 20 tips for getting a sports tattoo.

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