As Spring beckons and the players work through Training it’s also time to say “Good Bye” to what feels like an old friend. The old red hat started out as a stadium purchase in 2012. It was clean, beautiful, and bright red. Today it’s faded, threadbare, worn through in spots, and totally spent. It’s time for the trash.
Team hats go through stages. There’s the “New Hat” phase where it’s pristine. It’s the hat to wear to the stadium, or to the family picnics. Then there’s the day you walk into the stadium store and the sales guy says, “That hat used to be red. It’s time for a new one.” You turn to the spouse. “Didn’t I just buy this?” The knowing eyes roll: “No, Dear. It was two years ago and he’s right, you need a new one…just like I’ve been telling you.” Ok. At that point it’s demoted to “Commute Hat.” The usage goes up to every work day. This goes on until it starts fraying on the bill. Then it becomes “Yard Hat.” At that point the days are decidedly sweaty, long, and numbered. Yard Hat is the toughest existence of all.
Red is a tough color for anything used outside. If you ever bought a red vehicle and didn’t have a garage, you’ve learned this by now. It fades faster than any of the other colors. The clue to why is seen in a rainbow. Red will be on one side, Purple and Blue will be on the other. Blue has a shorter wavelength and is comprised of higher energy. Red preferentially absorbs blue. By design, red has the shortest expiration date.
Red was also a very important color historically. The Spanish found that the Cochineal bug, a cactus parasite found in Mexico, produced a superior red, color-fast dye. Red was a power and status color. Only the rich and powerful could afford it. The Spaniards kept the source of the dye secret for centuries. Sir Walter Raliegh was knighted because he stole three ships full of the little bugs and brought them to England. Cochineal Red was the real deal. When you think of the British Redcoats, only the officers wore coats using that dye. The Enlisted coats were dyed with Venetian Red Ferric Oxide. It was a dull, flat look that faded rapidly. Officers stood out like a sore thumb against it making the Sniper’s job all the easier.
So red is fragile, historic, and denotes power. Hopes and dreams are fragile. This old red hat had a lot of cheers and tears during its run. The brilliance of 2012 reached a peak one night before it dimmed to black. The sureties of 2013 turned to an off-key drone. 2014 was a dragster ride that ended with four blown tires with the finish line nearly there. And, then there was the mystery of last year. It saw some history. Some of it was great. Some of it was awful. All made permanent impressions of which a few are true scars.
But, the run is up. It’s time for the trash. A new hat sits at the top of the order. It’s bright, pristine, and full of hope. A new Yard Hat has been summonsed. The song said that “Every new beginning is some other beginning’s end.” It’s time for a new beginning. It’s time to move on.
I’m willing to bet you have a hat, shirt, or jersey that links you to the team. Let’s hear about it.
(Editor’s note: maybe this one)
(Editor’s note: or maybe admire this classic painted by Lucas Giolito’s mom http://www.lindsayfrost-art.com/)