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Annals of Headgear


“I love college,” the songwriter Asher Roth said so very long ago. And we laughed.

But you know, I really do. I treasure the rich experience of my higher education, and looking back, don’t miss for much. Still, when I gaze upon these hats, I see the thousands of collegiate careers I have, do and will live out in alternate universes. Like that one where I’m a Gamecock. Or the one where I go to Tulane. There’s one where I get serious about swimming instead of hanging out in the parking lot with the exchange students. But here I am, and there you are — wouldn’t you agree that these dimensionally-restrictive, linear lifetimes can be an awful drag? With only crude links to the all-seeing, all-experiencing, multi-dimensional consciousness of my being, I’m left here with but fleshen nostalgia and a wish to rock all the gear, to nap on all those quads… to tear down the uprights at Wisconsin, to wake up at six in the morning for two-a-days at Hobart, etc. So for now, these jpeg mosaics will have to do.

You see, I’m not much of a “hat guy”1 anymore, but my feelers out in the Junk Hustle current went all a-twitter the other day, and I found the mother lode in eBay seller inyourcourtsports’ items. The hats pictured, which were manufactured by The Game Headwear in the ’90s, are to me the epitome of college athletic and aesthetic cool. They say everything in plain letters with only a couple thin, colored lines on a (usually) white 35/65 blend. It’s a classic design — try finding one that looks bad. Heck, just try finding one. You can’t.

Here you’ll find a sampling of what is out there, along with our thoughts on some of the more striking specimens.

FSU – The other, other FSU. You know that one? Well, not that one. And not the other one. But the other one. Yeah, that one. Now don’t tell anyone. Good.

?SU – Nothing wrong with state schools, but there are so many here and the SU suffix gets a little repetitive, doesn’t it? Just a little extra motivation to nail that application essay. Or, for your parents, to nail that real estate board exam twenty years ago. Although it might just be a hat thing. One of us went to a publicly-funded college, and doesn’t regret it.

ASU – This school hovers atop the Princeton Review’s list of “Party Schools.” Thing is, a 19-year-old sophomore known as Yadira Garcia had this to say when CONFRONTED by Randy Cordova of The Arizona Republic about campus party life: “I love having fun, but I do it on the weekends. I know what I want to do in life, so I study first and party second.” I don’t think she owns one of these hats. I don’t think she should own one of these hats.

Grambling – To Gramble is to drag one’s fresh kill home over treacherous terrain by rope or tether. Great word. My dad said he was born a Grambling man. Better that than a midnight Grambler, I say. But then, I’m Grambling.

ZOO – I’ve never been to Michigan, let alone Kalamazoo, but I picture EVERY dude walking around in one of these within a 5 mile radius of campus. Pause.

IUP – A Pennsylvania college which has a branch campus in Punxsutawney. The hat in question — PUNX — likely doesn’t exist, but you know, I wouldn’t be surprised if a bunch of local dirty Steelers crusters are stocking a case of ‘em in a Moon, Penn. practice space somewhere.

ODU – For an institution of such “old dominion,” ODU was the only school ballsy enough to accept a magnetic levitating train system from American Maglev in 1999 when the project was offered to several schools. $14M and ten years later, the initiative is lamentably behind schedule yet remains as badass as ever. You ever ridden on one of those things? It’s like surfing with TWO aliens.2

BYU – A school I would love to visit, but hate to attend. Real handsome hat, though. It looks like the second row of characters are a different font, which makes this mantle stand out. Good football program, I respect them, but I can’t get behind rooting for them. I just can’t, I’m sorry.

U of H – If I was a character in “Do The Right Thing” I would probably have tried to see if Spike would let me wear this hat. Perhaps complimented by a matching windbreaker, featuring Shasta, the University of Houston’s scarlet cougar.

W & M – Ampersands are beautiful, don’t you think? This hat is a lonely typologist’s wet dream.

XU – Popularized by the X-Men, and to a lesser extent, Xavier McDaniel. How many do I need of these? One, two?

M – One-letter hats are so badass! Unfortunately, there are two teams that start with an M. They shall fight for the mountain.

UW – Red on black? Lock me up, as I fear I will commit crime in this hat.

BAMA – Fuckin’ BAMA. You vote for Bama? You vote for Phi Slama Jama? Actually, forget that. They have a hat here too, we just talked about it.

CANISIUS – There’s a school called Canisius? And people go there? This is why private schools are amazing. And it is why America is amazing. There is no country like it on earth. Say what you will about an entire generation taking thousands and thousands of dollars out of the economy to get degrees that on their own are largely worthless; it’s good to know that every small town in the Northeast has four or five colleges that you’ve never heard of. This one’s in Buffalo. Did you know that?

Temple (logo) – The Game hooked up Temple with the bars AND their logo on one hat? NOT FAIR. Also, our friend Al Bite3 went here. He’d get pissed if I wore this hat — so I’m considering it.

St. Louis Rams and Phoenix Coyotes – The Coyotes hat features the franchise’s first logo following their 1996 relocation from Winnipeg. And the Rams hat comes after the franchise’s 1994 exit from L.A. If these were L.A. Rams and Phoenix Coyotes or St. Louis Rams and Winnipeg Jets hats, we could better argue that The Game ranged across multiple eras of sport and generations of fans. We can’t, but we still kind of feel that way. On the subject of defunct teams, I would love a Whalers Game hat.4 Or a Whalers franchise.5

PACKERS – Wow. I am not sure why you don’t see more pro teams expressed in The Game classic bars hat format, because this one just seems RIGHT. P.S., anyone catch that game? How about that game?

RED STORM – Let’s just take a second to talk about how bad Saint John’s is. I think Saint John’s is the only acceptable school for new New York transplants to adopt. (Please, if you moved here, don’t start rooting for the Yankees. And for your sake, stay away from the Knicks for a few months.) But Saint John’s, what a rich history. Chris Mullin. Ron Artest. Lance Stephenson (well no, but there were rumors he was going to come here). Cliff Engle sweaters. Madison Square Garden. Kids in burgundy Lee corduroys skipping school to buy Jordan IIs at Gerry Cosby’s, hanging out at MSG on a Tuesday in January.

VANDALS – Who thought it would be a good idea to name a college mascot after destructive punx? Harry Lloyd “Jazz” McCarty, a writer for the school paper, pushed the University of Idaho to adopt a term sportswriters had used to describe the way the 1917 basketball squad (coached by Hec Edmundson) played (“ferociously”). This school also boasts silver and gold as its colors to honor the state’s proud mining tradition.

FROGS – ‘Nuff said.


  1. I'm certainly no Shorts Guy. But who is? Well, this one guy, in Central Jersey, who wears shorts in the winter. I forget his name, but he played JV Hockey at Holy Cross and if you call his dad and ask for Shorts Guy, you'll reach him.
  2. Yea boi.
  3. Full name Young Alex of Bite.
  4. Proline status, so just a footnote.
  5. Strength, loyalty.