So I was playing outside with my son on Saturday. Nice sunny day here in Ohio, the kind of early Spring day on which mothers remember that sunscreen and hats and sunglasses and asbestos underwear are required lest their children immediately turn into a tumor. Bald husbands too, so Carlo (a/k/a Son of Shyster, a/k/a ShysterBoy, a/k/a Buddrow, a/k/a Buddy) and I both put on our caps. Though I’m not a slave to wearing my own team’s colors, I’m currently sporting an Atlanta Braves all-navy roadie (In recent years I’ve also featured Tigers, Giants, and Dodgers caps for various aesthetic and political reasons). Buddrow has a blue plaid number with a cute little doggy on it. Since he last wore it in the fall, however, his head and/or his hair* have grown to the point where it simply doesn’t look comfortable anymore, so I decided it was time to get him a new cap. A real one, though, not one with a cute doggy on it. The big man is three now, and it’s time to put away those childish things.
*Though I am as bald as Matt Williams and Lt. Ilia’s love child, my son has long, gorgeous, curly locks. My wife says that letting his hair go all wild man like that is in no way a reaction to the fact that she’s married to a cue ball, but I have my doubts.
I’m not one of those guys who thinks that my boy has to root, actively or passively, for my own team, so it’s not like I was going to run out and get him a Braves cap. To the contrary, I decided that I’d let him get what he wanted to get, with the caveat that I’d issue a veto if he decided he liked Chief Wahoo. I mean really, how much crap would I get if someone who reads my occasional Wahoo screeds saw Buddrow in that cap? Still I hoped he would go for a cap that had some kind of tradition behind it on the off chance that the hat serves as the basis for his eventual rooting interests. No, there’s nothing wrong with liking the Diamondbacks or the Rockies, but I just tend to think that if, like us, you don’t have a really strong proximity-based argument for your rooting interest, historical richness is a pretty good one. His favorite color is green, he says, so maybe he’d pick the A’s, which would be perfectly acceptable. Maybe he would like one like his old man wears. I was curious to see how he proceeded.
Stopping by Lids at the mall, I pointed him towards the kids’ hat rack. Though Wahoo was well-represented, there were multiple options available, so I liked my chances. And thankfully he didn’t pick Wahoo. He picked Spongebob Squarepants. The lesson: kids can’t be trusted with any important decisions in life. I might have lost the will to fight him at that point, but thankfully his mother stepped in and said that she didn’t want him wearing a Spongebob hat all summer either, so we extracted him from the store with promises of cookies and stuff.
The next day I called up a webpage with every Major League cap on it, put Carlo on my lap and asked him which one he liked. He smiled at all of the options before him and took some time about it. Then, after a minute or so, he pointed at a Cubs’ hat. He started writing his own name not too long ago, and I think he liked that the “C” on it was curvy like he writes it as opposed to the pointy Reds’ C or the blocky alternate Indians’ C. I think it’s a pretty good choice. The Cubs certainly have history. And we actually get Cubs games here, so maybe he’ll be a superstation-based fan just like his old man was. Sure, there’s the potential for looking like a bandwagoneer if the Cubs win it all in the next year or two, but who’s gonna hate on a kid in a Cubs hat? Besides Cardinals fans I mean, which is their right and duty.
I don’t have the cap yet, but I’ll probably order it in the next day or so. If anyone has a preferred online source for kids’ ballcaps — or if you simply want to try to persuede my son and I that beyond the choice of a Cubs’ hat lies death and despair — my all means, leave me a comment or drop me a line and tell me.