Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

Varsity Blues

Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

Varsity Blues

Article excerpt

With regret, I recently threw away my high school letter jacket, its faux-leather fabric frayed beyond repair. What's most surprising isn't that the jacket lasted this long--I graduated more than three decades ago--but that I had ever managed to get a letter jacket in the first place.

About letter jackets, you already know. They feature a big initial of one's alma mater and are usually given only to athletes who earn them by "lettering" on a school team. Suffice it to say that the tradition didn't seem a part of my destiny. I had no talent for sports and spent my time editing the school newspaper, sitting on the student council, and competing in the local literary rally.

But my high school principal embraced an idea: In a school ostensibly devoted to education, why not reward star scholars with letter jackets, too? That's how I came to own my version of the treasured campus apparel--and how I found myself on the stage of the oddest pep rally I've ever attended.

The pep rallies we staged in the gym each autumn Friday for our high school football team were usually a raucous affair, as the cheerleaders, marching band and dance team whipped our collective adolescent id into a frenzy of tribal solidarity. The players, lined up on stage in their white jerseys, basked in the applause of the adoring throng.

As part of his scholars-can-be-supercool-too initiative, our principal decided to hold a pep rally for students who had brought home academic laurels. Because of my recent blue ribbon in English, I qualified as an honoree. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.