Despite their name, baseball caps have a role in many other sports aside from the popular North American bat and ball game. Baseball remains a niche sport in Europe, but there are plenty of other events in which sport fans might see their heroes don a baseball cap.
Although sometimes it might be done for reasons to do with style and appearance, such as the build-up to bouts of combat sports like boxing or wrestling, caps are usually worn for practical purposes by sportspeople.
With it being an outdoor sport that’s best played in good weather, very few golfers hit the course without wearing something on their head. As the game involves plenty of looking up in the air to follow the progress of a long, high drive towards the green, it makes sense that they wear a baseball cap to keep the sun out of their eyes.
Aside from this useful attribute of caps, many golfers also wear them for sponsorship reasons, with companies keen to get their branding on the heads of some of the sport’s superstars.
Also carried out in huge open spaces, and often in blazing sunshine, competitive sailing is another sport where participants tend to wear caps. Stylish ones like the Flexfit 110 or Flexfit 210 work as well as any, conforming to the aerodynamic shape needed to ensure quick movement, and of course the Flexfit Delta has the added advantage of being waterproof.
As sailors spend hours outdoors in areas with no shade, a cap can not only shield their eyes from the sun, but also protect their head, face and neck from sunburn.
Association football, or soccer, is one of the only sports where the ball regularly makes contact with players’ heads, so caps are not appropriate for outfield players. However, goalkeepers often like to wear them, particularly when a low, bright sun threatens to impede their vision of a long ball forward or a looping cross into the box.
For target-based sports like shooting and archery, clear vision is perhaps more important than with any other sport. When outdoors, a cap can help them avoid squinting due to a bright sun, but even indoors, it can be used to keep long hair out of the shooter’s eyes.
As baseball caps do not cover the ears, any ear protection needed can easily be applied over or around the cap, making them a practical choice of headwear.
Also, some shooters have anecdotal evidence of casings ricocheting into their faces, potentially causing injury. Although safety glasses can protect the eyes, the peak of a cap can also fend off any casings hitting the upper part of the face.
Of course, there are also caps designed specifically for the likes of racket or aquatic competitions, but it’s surprising how often the ordinary baseball cap crops up in a range of sports. Next time you watch your favourite sporting activity, see if you notice any caps on the heads of the competitors.