For me, it was 7 a.m. on a Sunday. I woke in my dorm room with a horrendous, mind-crushing, stomach-churning hangover, to a bunch of idiots yelling and banging drums outside. What was going on? Was this some sort of prank or protest? No, it was a football day. And whereas I’d grown up in a city filled with professional sports teams, I had no idea people got this excited, even more excited, maybe, about college sports. I’d naively enlisted at a Big 10 school having no real clue what that meant, other than that it was one of 10 big schools.
Right then, I could have used an Anti-Sports League shirt ($25) to cuddle up to, a cotton rallying flag for academics, conscientious objectors, and just people with hangovers who liked to sleep in on Sundays. Designed by Glen Liberman and Mash Creative, it’s a series of team shirts for people who generally refuse to get behind a team, a means to be a fan of not being a fan.
“I started the Anti-Sports League because I wanted to present a slightly different view on mainstream culture, one that may be shared by many, but not often expressed due to fear of what others may think, say, or do,” Libermen tells Co.Design. “Whether it involves sports or another medium, the idea here is to offer a perspective that may be different from the majority.”
The reason the shirts resonate, though, is that they’re not just crapped out Cafe Press apparel--they weren’t made by some fratastic jock, after all--Libermen actually designed a new parody typeface to promote his three teams in the league: The Downers, The Slackers, and The No-Shows.
“The ASL font was heavily inspired by the likes of Princetown and Motor which are so commonly used on sport shirts,” writes Libermen. “The font is mostly monospaced apart from the characters M and W. This allowed me to keep a grid structure when designing the bold and playful typography on every shirt.” And the logo follows where the typeface leaves off, turning the universal “no” symbol into a sort of double no, a geometrically regimented rejection of athletics, the perfect complement for a league that’s all about hating leagues.
In the future, Liberman plans to add more teams to the league (or more shirts to the collection), and even add some interactive, possibly competitive components to the site itself. Personally, I’d like to see an award given to the least purchased team shirt to promote the league’s celebration of anti-hero. In turn, league participants would not try even harder, leading to the eventual abolishment of the Anti-Sports League altogether. And while that may be a terrible thing for Liberman’s profitability, as a cultural statement, it’s the sort of idea that I’m sure all my fellow haters can (not) get behind.