Tattooing is unique as an art form in that it enables such a wide variety of personal and artistic expression for all manner of reasons. Many people make the decision to get inked not for any mere aesthetic purpose, but as a way to memorialize important life events. From childbirth to weddings, there are some things people are so moved by that they choose to commemorate them by indelibly inking them onto their skin.
For some people, the things that make the cut may make others scratch their heads in disbelief. Sports fans are widely known as a passionate and often raucous bunch, and many are opting to take their dedication to the next level by tattooing their devotion to their favorite franchises into their skin – a phenomenon that is happening more and more often these days.
Team spirit runs deeper than skin deep
For some sports fans, their devotion to their team is a major source of pride. These fastidious fanatics have no compunction about taking their love of the game to the next level, and tattoos highlighting sports teams, athletes or accomplishments are becoming increasingly common. In fact, Sports Illustrated curated a gallery of dozens of some of the most notable and flamboyant examples of loyal fans and their sports-themed ink, ranging from the impressive to the cringe-worthy. Everything from sports teams to specific athletes to franchise achievements have been inked into the dermises of loyal fans.
Some adherents to the church of ESPN aren't content to seek out their tattoo as a private but meaningful symbol of their devotion. In fact, for many fans, the more fervent their devotion, the more flamboyant the tattoo – and often, the more front-and-center a location it takes up on the bodily real estate. There are plenty of photographic examples of people sporting full-on portraits of famous athlete's faces inked into their arms, legs and back, and some more outlandish fanatics have offered up their faces to demonstrate their love of their favorite athlete, team or sport.
From enthusiasm to embarrassment
Unfortunately for many who choose to mix their love of sports with tattooing, many such endeavors come with a short shelf life. The Washington Post is quick to remind us of one such example of a cautionary tale, highlighting the story of a man who elected to show his support for the Washington Nationals baseball team not with a tattoo of the team's logo or even its mascot, but one of its key home game in-stadium attractions. Luke Griffin, local 24-year-old history buff and Nats enthusiast, decided to go under the needle for a representation of the team's "racing presidents" – an in-game attraction whereby mascot-style presidents race around the perimeter of the field. While perhaps a novel idea, the eclectic design choice surely turns a few heads – and not just because RFK Stadium has since passed into the annals of history.
Some fan tattoos are based less on esoterica and more on full-on optimism. As USA Today noted, Kentucky native Tyler Austin Black made headlines when he received ink proclaiming the University of Kentucky as the 2014 NCAA basketball champions – before their victory had actually been won. While Black's devotion is admirable in a way, he's an unfortunate example of chickens being counted well before hatching – his native Kentucky did not actually go on to win the championship, no doubt leaving Black with an awkward tattoo to explain away and an almost guaranteed case of tattoo regret.
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