Each year as the season progresses, I enjoy observing glimmering configurations of small gold stars evolve into personalized and unique works of art on the Indians’ caps. Player’s jersey numbers are often the first recognizable figures to emerge. And by the time the annual team picnic rolls around at the end of the season, small constellations – arbitrary formations of stars perceived as figures or designs; a gathering of brilliant things, according to Wikipedia – miraculously have burst to life within twelve individual baseball cap galaxies. (Among the components that make up galaxies are stars, dust, and some mysterious element called “dark matter,” so I like this analogy.)
Back in the days when the season was only a twenty-something game commitment, one of my jobs as coach’s wife was to embed the stars into the players’ caps after each game. Like clockwork, players lined up to request their customized “star placements.” And I’d insert star prongs into caps, bending prong after prong after prong backwards on the inside of the caps until my fingers nearly bled. Later, I got smart and used a thimble. I decided it was time to resign my “chief star-inserter” position when the seasons grew to sometimes upwards of fifty games. I now happily have been replaced by a much more efficient system – players’ parents! (Thank you to all of you for sacrificing your fingers and sparing mine! May I suggest thimbles?)
I’m a big fan of the stars. I like what they represent. I like the designs the kids make with them. It’s fun to watch. But I especially enjoy watching the entwined universes of each player’s skills, character, and baseball cap galaxy simultaneously grow. It’ a beautiful thing!