Monday, December 2, 2013

I got a Letter for THAT?

I easily could have titled this piece, "Last One Picked."  I'm the girl who ducks when the volleyball is coming toward her, I'm the girl who can't do a pull up, and I'm the girl who is always the last one picked in gym class.  So, the fact that I have a letter jacket from high school is likely a surprise to many people.  I "lettered," however, by being on the Math Team, in Concert Choir, and, I believe in the National Honor Society.

But, can my accomplishments in math, choir and academics really get me a LEGITIMATE letter?  Here's what I found in my research. 

The letter jacket actually dates back to Harvard University in 1865.  The football team had received gray flannel shirts with a large "H" on them; but when the season was over, if the players hadn't participated in enough practices or earned some distinction with outstanding plays, they would lose their flannel jersey.  A decade later, the American football team evoked a similar ritual.  However, it was only the team captain or players of high esteem who were honored enough to wear the letter.

The "letter jacket" finally evolved into the classic leather and wool blend that we see commonly today in the  1930's.  Considering the history; the fact that the jacket was only bestowed on persons worthy of the honor, I still question whether or not I should have received the letter in math and choir.  I DID put a fair amount of work into the National Honor Society; so I'll gladly claim that one. 

My guess is that the letter jacket has become quite a money-maker, thereby losing some of the prestige which is associated in achieving the title of Letterman.  I suppose it's more of a rite of passage these days, rather than an elusive achievement.  Either way, my guess is that the letter jacket is here to stay. 

History of the letter jacket accessed at http://buy.varsityjackets.eu/pages/History-of-the-Letterman-jacket on 12/2/13

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