I don’t recall exactly when I began to collect baseball caps, but I think it was some time in the 1990s. I still do it, although my collection has changed since then.
The change came because my first cap collectbion got lost somewhere in all my moves in the last few years. I can’t even recall where I left them. I thought I had left them in my brother’s garage in California when before one of my overseas moves. But I didn’t find them when I searched. They may have gotten left in my place in Saudi Arabia.
I’ve been trying to renew the collection ever since. It’s not always easy. I moved back to America from overseas 7 months ago and left my favorite behind by mistake, a Baltimore Ravens cap.
My criteria for a cap is simple: the image on it has to have some special meaning for me. The cap has represent something to me. For example, the cap might be a gift. I had one in the old collection that had the name of a Swiss company on it. I had taught the foreign employees there English and intercultural communication. Recently, one of my students gave me a cap with the name of her country on it: Venezuela.
I have several caps of sports teams I follow. I own a Baltimore Orioles cap, the one with the orthnithologically correct bird on it. My buddy gave me a Carolina Panthers cap when we went to one of their games last autumn. I also have a University of South Carolina Gamecocks cap because I rooted for them when I lived in Columbia.
I also own that cap because it represents a place I used to live. That is another criterion I have for putting a cap in my collection. For example, I own a cap with the coat of arms of the area I used to live in during my stay in Finland.
There’s a whole list of caps I want as yet. I have to replace my Ravens cap. However, in truth my favorite NFL team is the Washington Redskins, and I gave one of their caps to my nephew years ago. I also want a cap from my alma mater, the University of Maryland.
The Orioles have a nice looking cap I have seen on some of their recent games on TV I also want. It sports their nickname, “O’s”. I gotta have that one. I might even want to pick up a Colts cap, even though this NFL team resides in Indianapolis now. I loved the Colts as a kid in Baltimore.
I also want to pick up a Virginia Tech cap that has the Hokie (turkey) on it. Since my last name has its origins in birds, and my hometown has sports teams named after them, I am collecting meaningful bird caps now.
These Baltimore bird caps help me introduce myself to students. I ask them if they know the name of the bird and what city it represents. Then I explain that Baltimore is my hometown, and that my name is connected to the bird species.
Now, if only some of my sports teams would start winning. I could then get a cap that says something like “Super Bowl Champs” on it.