At Fenway Park, during the Red Sox’ 2004 World Series run of consecutive wins, a tradition was started where if the team won, everyone would throw their socks up in the air. This tradition grew and then following another winning streak in 2007 and 2008, the club has given away red socks to people who throw their socks up after a victory.
On April 8th of this year (2013), with all three Sox runs blessed by Mother Nature for perfect throws from both teams, I decided to run around my house picking up as many long-lost red and white pairs as I could find.
For my own sanity, and in the interest of social science, I’ve started organizing them by size.
Here are the results. I hope this piece raises questions about what one means when referring to socks as it relates to sports fandom.
Pants are included for context.
Special thanks to my wife for letting me use her beautiful collection of red socks. If anyone knows where to buy more, please let me know! I’m guessing that most of these came from her drawer or from the dryer after she had worn them and put them in a hamper or a laundry bin or something like that or from her suitcase if she traveled with them (her suitcase is always full of clothes but no pajamas!). Obviously I have no idea where these came from or what the circumstances were that necessitated their discarding.
In general, one might think that socks are just socks. But if you really stop and take a look at them, the overwhelming variety of uses and the amount of clothing wasted is staggering. We can gain insight into our culture by examining a single sock, like this one for instance:
This sock resembles a piece of modern art. It is a work of sock art. We are talking about socks here. People throw their socks (and, it goes without saying, other items of clothing) all the time, and no one ever does anything with them after they are discarded.