Remember when those “Starter” jackets and hats were popular?
I had never been into sports very much and so I was well into my teens when I learned that a “starter” was someone who played at the start of a game. It had seemed to me that it was better to not have to start.
One day I noticed other boys wearing these enormous jackets – coats, really – with the logo of a team and the word “Starter” emblazoned on it. The coats were quite grand looking. Their wearers strutted around as if they were the starters, as if by merely donning the coats or hat they would be magically transported to the line of scrimmage or whatever it’s called.
There was a commercial, too. There was always a commercial to go with things like this. I don’t remember the image, but I do remember the word, “Starter,” spoken in a loud whisper. The clear implication was that the wearer would walk through the halls and people would say to each other in whispered tones, “That guy over there. He’s a Starter. You can tell by the coat he is wearing.”
There was a guy in my math class who was particularly fond of his Starter jacket, giant coat, whatever. Sometimes he added a Starter baseball cap to his ensemble. He would stand at the black board and write out sines and cosines and with his back turned other boys in the class would mock him by saying “Starter” in the same loud whisper from the commercial. I felt a little bad for him. This feeling did not stop me from participating in taunt.
And then, one day, the Starter gear disappeared. Vanished from history, like the Huns. All that remains is a lingering memory of the days of giant jackets. And sometimes, when the wind blows and rustles the leaves, I think I can almost hear the whisper: “Starter!”