Disclaimer: I started to write this, this morning, not knowing where I was going with it or when I would post it, but knowing it was heavy on my heart. As the day went on, it came to my attention that today is National Hat Day, so I just had to share.
Over the past few years I started to realize just how big of a role sports have played in my life. I mean I grew up playing soccer, basketball and volleyball. They taught me the importance of communication, working as a team and setting goals. However, my love for sports dates back even further then that.
Contrary to popular stigmas, I have loved, watched and know quite a bit about baseball and football. I’ve watched both games since before I can remember. I spent my summers and some weekends in the spring and fall at a field or at a stadium. Why you may ask?
What some of you may not know is yes, I do in fact have a brother. His name is Trevor and he is 26 years old. But here’s why you may not see much of him…
He and I could not be more different.
- He has dark hair, while I was born a towhead.
- He has brown eyes, while I sport those emerald greens.
- He likes being behind the scenes, while I enjoy taking center stage.
- He doesn’t use social media, while I hope to make it part of my profession.
- He doesn’t need pictures to remember something, while I harbor over 3,000 photos on my phone alone.
- He maybe the next Pablo Picasso, while I…well I’m content with stick people.
- He is a realist, while I am an idealist.
- He enjoys the country, while I like the city life.
- He may describe himself as an introvert, while I would describe myself as an extrovert.
The list may go on and on, but through it all one thing remains. Trevor is my idol. He is extremely smart, he is thoughtful and he is driven. He always inspired me to push myself and never let others step all over me. If I can exude half of the courage and strength my brother has then I think I’ll be living life right. My brother was, is and always will be a large part of why I am who I am today and quite simply why I love hats.
If you look at my Miss America paperwork under interesting facts it will say; “baseball hat collection.” What I want to know is how many 22-year-old girls have over 22 baseball hats? I assume very few.
I started collecting hats when I was a junior in high school. I went to a Los Angeles Dodgers game and a collection was born. Since then I have bought a hat (or several) from my college, the one NFL stadium I’ve been to and every baseball field I’ve visited- Major league, minor league and spring training. It is on my bucket list to eventually visit all 30 baseball stadiums.
A baseball field, I’ve come to realize, is just that place where I feel confident, I feel safe and I feel myself.
The very first sports game I ever remember watching was my brother’s t-ball game when my dad, who also played baseball, was the coach. From there on out whatever my brother was doing I wanted to do.
For example: Growing up my brother had a bed comforter with MLB logos all over them. I would try to impress him by pointing out teams that I recognized-darn Marlins logo always threw me off for the Mariners. I was jealous when all I got was a purple and pink heart comforter. After he started to play football, I put my brother’s shoulder pads and helmet on and asked my mom if I could play too. When the answer was no, I tried anything to make him proud of me and make him notice that I could hang. In fact, in third grade I was out school supply shopping and I bought pencils with all of the NFL logos on them so I could learn the name of each team.
We grew and our hobbies, styles and favorite teams changed. However, one thing always remained constant- his love for hats. He always had stacks…like he could open his own store.
Oh how I would eye those puppies, just waiting for the day he would let them go- I loved hand-me-downs. But, because he is somewhat of a *cough* hoarder like me, he never let them go. I still remember he had an old school Arizona Diamondbacks hat signed that I wanted to get my grubby little hands on.
Well this Christmas I was finally able to. I finally inherited some of the hats that I had always wanted. Some of them were unique, like the old school Blue Jays hat or the Red Sox city skyline hat, while some were your everyday logos.
I didn’t care if they had ever been worn at all or worn too much. They were my brothers and that’s all that mattered.
I originally started writing this because I wanted to try and briefly summarize how much I respect him and look up to him, but I think the best way to explain it is;
My hats will always be a reminder, a memory and a keepsake. To him they might be old and tattered, to anyone else they may be just another accessory, but to me hats will always be more than just a hat.
Updated 2019: This year my hat collection will double in size because I am marrying someone who also collects hats. Over the last three years, we have traveled and made memories. We don’t buy many souvenirs, but I have a feeling the hats will be our favorite keepsakes.