While in shul this past shabbos, I was spacing out, and my eyes settled on a 10-year-old boy wearing a leather yarmulka (kippa/kipa/kippah, yarmulke, or whatever else you want to call it). On the leather yarmulka was a picture of the Baltimore Raven’s logo (a raven), with the word “RAVENS.” While looking at this kid, it began to bother me that a parent would even allow such a yarmulka. I’ve gotten used to seeing designer yarmulkas (Ravens, Orioles, Nike, Spongebob, Spiderman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and so much more) over the years, so I’m not sure why this hit me now.
The purpose of a yarmulka is to remind us that Hashem is always above us. It identifies that we are uniquely Jewish. Why would we ruin that by putting on a yarmulka with a sports team (never mind the fact that there are probably copyright issues with doing so)? I understand doing so with young children ages 3 or 4, as we’re trying to get them excited about doing the mitzva. But even then, a 3-year-old is perfectly happy with a train that has the aleph-bais, which is not only educational, it can help serve the original purpose of the yarmulka.
Like I said above, I’ve seen designer yarmulkas for years, but for some reason, it has only just now started to bother me.