A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 19, 2016
“If you can’t be an athlete, be an athletic supporter”

Principal McGee (actress Eve Arden) said in the 1950s nostalgia movie musical Grease (1978):

“If you can’t be an athlete, be an athletic supporter.”

An athletic supporter is also a jockstrap. The line actually had been used in the 1950s. “Back the football team. If you can’t be an athlete at least you can be an athletic supporter,” an Iowa newspaper printed in 1955.


Wikipedia: Athletic supporter
An athletic supporter is an individual who spends time with athletes at the Collegiate and Professional level, but are not athletes themselves. The term often used pejoratively by families of athletes describing the “groupies” that often are around athletes.

Athletic supporter may also refer to:

. Jockstrap, men’s undergarment designed for use in sports
. Booster club, contributes money to an associated club, sports team, or organization

15 September 1955, Ida County Pioneer Record (Ida Grove, IA), “Hogan’s Alley,” pg. 9, col. 3:
Back the football team. If you can’t be an athlete at least you can be an athletic supporter.

IMDb (The Internet Movie Database)
Grease (1978)
Quotes

Principal McGee: If you can’t be an athlete, be an athletic supporter.

Google Books
Eve Arden: A Chronicle of All Film,
Television, Radio and Stage Performances

By David C. Tucker
Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc.
2012
Pg. 133:
In another of her well-remembered lines from the film, she urges the student body to lend their support to Rydell’s sports program, saying, “If you can’t be an athlete, be an athletic supporter!”

Google Books
Once Apun A Time:
A Rich, Historical and Sometimes Earthy Collection of Puns

By Robin Leech
Victoria, BC: FriesenPress
2015
Pg. ?:
If you cannot be an athlete, at least be an athletic supporter.

Twitter
NOLA guy
‏@NOLAguys
@Laura_Buchtel @carl_arredondo @zephyrsbaseball As they said in Grease, “If you can’t be an athlete, be an athletic supporter!”
5:26 PM - 19 Apr 2016

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Tuesday, April 19, 2016 • Permalink