Personal Stories About Ballcaps: Namur Angels

This series is inspired by the must read book “All Caps, Stories That Justify an Outrageous Hat Collection” by Craig Colby. Craig wrote this book about the many caps he has and the stories behind it. Anyhow, this series will be about the caps I own and the stories behind them.

This episode of “Personal Stories About Ballcaps” is about my cap of the Namur Angels, playing in the Belgian Division 1A.

For a long time, I wanted a cap of the club. Previously, they sported a black mesh cap with a yellow lid with the club logo on the front. I already liked that cap. But in 2021, the club introduced this beauty:

It won’t come as a surprise that I wanted this cap very bad. Since the cap is only available at the club, I went to Namur in Wallonia on September 4, 2021. A high school friend of mine from Amsterdam joined me.

When we arrived at the club, we immediately went into the clubhouse to get some drinks. I tried to order a Coke and a Sprite in French, but then the friendly man behind the counter talked back in fluent Flemish (Belgian Dutch). I must admit, I was flabbergasted. It appeared this man was the chairman of the club and one of the founders. Originally, he came from a place North of Brussels, but met his future wife, who was from Namur, and followed her.

At his old age, this man was still doing a lot of things for the club, like keeping the place nice and tidy and running the clubhouse. He also told us he was ill, but I didn’t have the guts to ask what he was suffering from. Mr. Heymans told us the story of how the club became Belgian champion in 1998. Two years earlier, the club got demoted from the highest Belgian baseball league, as the umpires, mostly from the Antwerp region, called the games in favour of the Angels’ opponents. Until that year, Belgian top baseball was an Antwerp/Flemish affair and the Flemish didn’t like to have a team from Wallonia around. Mr. Heymans promised to earn a promotion the next year and win the championship in 1998. And he kept his promise. With several hired guns, a pitcher from the Netherlands, for example, the Angels clinched their only Belgian title so far.

Eventually, on December 21st, 2021, Mr. Eddy Heymans passed away. Even though I met the man only once, I was touched by his passing.

But next to Mr. Heymans, all people at this club were so friendly, unlike what a lot of Dutch are saying: Wallonians are arrogant since they refuse to speak Dutch. Can you blame the people of Wallonia for not speaking Dutch as it is not a compulsory subject in school?
I experienced a total different kind of Wallonians at the Namur Angels. With a mix of French and English we could have a nice conversation.

The sad thing about this day was that there were only a handful of fans in the stands. IMHO, this club deserves to have more followers.

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