Tread lightly, logo etiquette in the locker room

One of the most enjoyable bi-annual traditions in the hockey universe is the debate that will crop up about people stepping on the team logo in home locker rooms.

Perhaps it comes up more often in Buffalo because a certain columnist wants to trudge over the emblem on each of his three visits to a practice or game per year. There are plenty of pro and anti-logo advocates and it’s becoming pretty ridiculous that there needs to be as much narrative tied to something so minor.

Watch your step

The base of this argument surrounds team pride, respect, some logic and common sense depending on which side of the issue you stand. No pun intended.

I have no problem if a team has a standing rule about not stepping on the logo in the locker room. It’s most definitely the hockey player in me that has respect for this type of locker room rule. The point is obvious and I’m certain everyone gets that it is centered around having respect and pride in your team and adopting a team-first attitude. Much like the line from Miracle “the name on the front means a hell of a lot more than the name on the back.” Paying respect to that team and that brotherhood extends off the ice by having respect enough to not step on the logo in the room.

However, there are many out there who think this is a silly practice and pay very little respect for teams who institute that rule in their locker room. Even if fans or media members think this rule is dumb or silly, they should still have enough respect to abide by the rules the team has put forth. It would be no different than entertaining people in your home, asking them to take their shoes off or use coasters only to have those guests flout your requests and do the exact opposite. Maybe they think your rule about no shoes is ridiculous, and it very well may be, but they should still have the common courtesy to respect your wishes, no?

The irony here is that many complaints that come from those who hate logo rules are often from the very people who clamor for the team they’re associated with (by fandom or media coverage) to play with more passion or have more respect as an organization. There are few better ways to show the pride you have in your team than following such a rule. No matter how silly you may find it to be, making sure your game uniform isn’t tossed on the floor and that the logo is never stepped on is a tremendous way to identify with your team rather that identifying with individuals.

The base of this argument seems to stem not from having respect for a team’s logo but around the fact that it’s ridiculous to think that the logo on your locker room floor needs to be treated with sanctity while a massive one adorns center ice, numerous consumer products are sold for the sole purpose of rubbing feet and shoes on the logo (thanks Tim Graham for pointing that out) and plopping a big ass logo on the floor of your highly trafficked locker room is begging for trouble.

I can support those who find it kind of silly to think that teams skate all over your team’s logo on a nightly basis in front of thousands but the embroidered logo in the locker room cannot be touched. While there is most definitely a difference between a car mat and the team locker room, the principle of  “if you want the logo to be respected, don’t put it on the ground in the first place is fair.Much like treading on the logo would be like treading on a flag, there’s no reason the flag should’ve been on the ground in the first place. So in that sense, I’m with you.

A team logo or icon can be prominently displayed in many fashions without needing to be somewhat obtrusive in a room that sees high traffic, particularly after games. Perhaps a wall like the Sabres had in their old locker room devoted to the logo, a specific team icon (an actual sabre in this case) and even an inspirational saying for the team would serve in a similar fashion without forcing those who disagree or simply don’t understand the point to avoid the logo on the floor. The same goes for putting one on the ceiling.

This shouldn’t be all that difficult for a team to figure out either. There is certainly a better solution out there than plopping a big ass logo in the middle of a high traffic area as a way to display it. Find a solution, treat it with the same type of respect and save all the hassle that surrounds an argument as silly as this one.

That being said, I am still in agreement with the request that teams have for people to not step on the logo. It really isn’t that much to ask for. Now, if the logo is so enormous that it takes up a ton of space in the room, then there is an issue. This doesn’t change the fact that I think there is a better solution out there, but I still respect the practice. I’m not saying that “you don’t get it because you never played the game” or anything like that. This is about a team having and showing great pride in what they do and demanding respect from those around them.

You don’t have to like it but it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to abide by the wishes of a team; and if all else fails just make sure to keep that tank top wearing dumbass, Justin Bieber out of your locker room.

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