In 1996 when I was 16, I was banned from Lids in Crossgates Mall for conspiring with others to harass the Lids staff. It started as an inside joke that may have gone too far, but it sure was funny.

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During the Summer of 1996, my friends and I spent most of our time swimming, going to the movies and the mall, partying in places that we were not supposed to, and playing video games. The video game we played the most was Bill Walsh College Football for Sega, because most of my friends were on the football team.

We got into the habit of referring to Ball State Cardinals as the Ball State Beavers, because we were silly like that.

One day while at Crossgates Mall, we wandered into Lids and thought it would be funny to ask for a Ball State Beavers hat. The Lids employee said, "No."

Of course they did not have a Ball State Beaver's hat, because it was a silly inside joke to a bunch of silly teenagers, but that did not stop us from returning to Lids the very next day and asking again. When they told us no, the very next day we would return again, and again, until it became a part of our daily routine. It was all fun and games until one day when the store manager decided that he was going to let us have it and give us silly kids a piece of his mind.

The store manager belittled us with his words and banned us from his store. My friends and I did not like that, so we reached out to our fellow mischief makers and told them to go to Lids and ask for a Ball State Beavers hat. We told them to tell their friends and for their friends to tell their friends.

My friends and I stayed away from Lids for a month. Meanwhile, we heard stories from other mischief makers about confrontations with the store manager at Lids -- we did not know just how crazy we drove him until the day we returned to Lids.

Two of us waited across the hall while we sent one of our friends that had not asked about the hat yet inside Lids to ask for a Ball State Beaver hat. We watched our friend walk up to the store manager behind the counter and ask for the hat. The store manager lowered his head and out of the corner of his eye, he must of spotted my friend and I across the hall, and without saying a word he marched out of the store and walked straight up to the security office.

The friend we sent inside to do the deed hustled back to us, but it was too late. Crossgates Security were right behind him.

We were informed that we had pushed the envelope too far, that 16-18 kids had been going to Lids and asking for a Ball State Beaver hat every week for a month. The security officer knew our names, because there was a rat amongst the mischief makers. The security officer told us that we were banned from the mall for a month and that if we ever set a foot inside of Lids again that we would be arrested for trespassing. We were also asked to "call off the dogs".

Moral of the story is: After all these years, it's probably safe to go back to Lids and ask for a Ball State Beavers hat.