Mar 15 2010
The best place to start would be with a history lesson: in 1972, Steve Prefontaine had energized American audiences with his sensational distance running, leading to a proliferation of fan shirts that simply read “Go Pre”.
A few contrarians decided it would be clever to create a rival shirt, one that said “Stop Pre!” in a red stop sign for the 5000m Olympic Trials, and even persuaded one of Prefontaine’s rivals, Gerry Lindgren, to don the tee during warmups.
Pre was unmoved, and after winning the race, changed the face of sports forever by calmly slipping on a fan’s “Stop Pre” shirt and jogging his victory lap in it. The message, later relayed in a famous Jordan/Nike ad was clear—your critique will only amplify my legend.
So after years of torment from sunburnt tourists flailing little circular “Lance Fan” signs, I’ve created a shirt that lets the cycling-literate observer separate themselves the masses.
The message works for pretty much any audience, from someone who genuinely likes Armstrong but could do without the cult, to the most vehement Lance hater—but as I mentioned earlier, it’s impossible to lay criticism without tacitly highlighting your target’s talent and ability.
One final note: I don’t think I’m the first person to come up with this idea. I seem to remember reading an old Mountain Bike Action in which opponents of the Texan’s attempt to qualify for both on- and off-road events at the 2000 Olympics created a similar garment. If anyone could point me in the right direction for more info on that, I’d be grateful.