Bearing The Mark, Sport's Tattoos: True Dedication or Blind Stupidity?

Max KienzlerAnalyst IFebruary 21, 2010

In my senior year of high school, I traveled to Europe to visit my brother who was studying abroad.

We trekked around from country to country, London to Paris, Paris to Barcelona, Barcelona to Geneva, Geneva to Interlocken, Interlocken back to Paris. And as I am waiting at the station in Paris for a midnight train to head to Amsterdam, this guy walks past me and gives me a funny look.

Now I didnt think about it much at first, I mean I'm a 17 year old American kid rocking a tye die t-shirt, dirty jeans and a New York Mets cap on —I probably deserved to get strange looks.

But after a couple minutes, this guy comes walking back and says to me, "Hey, you really a Mets fan or do you just wear the hat?"

I was caught off guard, but responded tentatively, "Oh, yeah I like the Mets."

So this guy pulls up his left shirt sleeve and shows me this tattoo that looks like just this barbed wire picture around his bicep, but as I look closer, I realize that it isn't barbed wire, its numbers.

As it turned out, they were more than just numbers they were years, in fact, it was every year the Mets had won the NL Pennant, just designed to go around his arm.

I was blown away. Half of me was amazed that some guy would actually put that on his body and the other half was in awe of the sheer design and genius of it.

Ever since then, I debated the merits of getting the Chicago Bears "C" logo somewhere on my body. I even broke it down into a list of pros and cons.


  • I love the Bears
  • I've always wanted a tattoo
  • I feel that if I get one, it should be something meaningful
  • Everyone always says that if you get a tattoo, it should be of something you will never regret. I know that no matter what, I will always be a Bears fan so I do not feel I would regret it down the road.
  • The location of the tattoo will be my back, which is a place that is easily hidden so it should not inhibit my ability to gain meaningful employment.


  • It would be permanent
  • It may be a, err... tad on the extreme side
  • It would be permanent.
  • The process would be painful
  • If I were to get color, it would fade over time.
  • It would be expensive.
  • It would be permanent.
  • It might become gross and wrinkly as I age.

Despite the numerous reasons why not, I probably will end up with one down the road. But the question then becomes, does that make me a die hard fan or an obsessed nutcase?

The most obvious case for Bear fans to take a look at is the gentleman above, Glenn Timmerman. Glenn is what should be considered a poster child for sports tattoos. He currently has over 100 signatures of Bears and former Bears players on his body plus several other Bear related pictures, including the Bears C on the back of his skull.

Now, the question is, is Glenn the most hardcore fan ever or just a fan who has totally lost his mind? Or, to be fair, both?

Is it to much? Is having just a small sports team tattoo tasteful? Is having a Bears "C" on your top right shoulder any worse than getting "Mom" inside of a heart on your bicep?

I think Glenn is an amazing fan and think that if he isn't the most hardcore, then he certainly has the highest tolerance of pain of any Bear fan out there.

But I will say that his tattoo love has definitely passed the point of crazy.

So I pose the question to you, is a sport team related tattoo acceptable and if so, where is the line drawn?