Were you a high school letterman?

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Did you get a high school letter jacket?

I did, and still have and value it (no higher education)
0
No votes
I did, and still have and value it (went on to higher ed/vo-tech)
4
8%
I did, but don't care anymore (no higher ed)
1
2%
I did, but don't care anymore (higher ed)
11
22%
I lettered but never bought a jacket (no higher ed)
0
No votes
I lettered but never bought a jacket (higher ed)
12
24%
I didn't letter (no higher ed)
0
No votes
I didn't letter (higher ed)
12
24%
Asiago
10
20%
 
Total votes : 50

Were you a high school letterman?

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:23 am

A story on the radio this morning got me thinking about the practice of wearing letter jackets in (American) high school to show what activities you're in. At the time (class of 1997) I thought the jacket to be a waste of money and something that I wouldn't care about in a few years anyway, though I earned a couple letters for JROTC drill team; this opinion has not changed in the intervening 16 years.

I suspect but have no proof that such jackets are more important to those who didn't go on to college after graduation and/or had no plans to do so in high school.
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Re: Were you a high school letterman?

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:36 am

By the time I got my letters in track I was so disgusted with the inside politics of the whole thing that I never bothered to get the jacket. And yes, in my small town, letter jackets were the currency of respect among those who left high school to bend metal.
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Re: Were you a high school letterman?

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:41 am

My high school didn't have letters for the Comp Sci or Chess clubs. (Yes, I was *that* kid! :lol:)

My son was in Marching Band (so still one of the more nerdy extracurricular activities... heh), got the jacket, and actually wore it at college (where he also joined the Marching Band).
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Re: Were you a high school letterman?

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:47 am

Captain Ned wrote:By the time I got my letters in track I was so disgusted with the inside politics of the whole thing that I never bothered to get the jacket. And yes, in my small town, letter jackets were the currency of respect among those who left high school to bend metal.


Pretty much this. Lettered in wrestling and had an academic letter every semester possible. Never got the jacket though.
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Re: Were you a high school letterman?

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:48 am

just brew it! wrote:My high school didn't have letters for the Comp Sci or Chess clubs. (Yes, I was *that* kid! :lol:).


I suspect a lot of us here are that kid.
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Re: Were you a high school letterman?

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:55 am

DancinJack wrote:
just brew it! wrote:My high school didn't have letters for the Comp Sci or Chess clubs. (Yes, I was *that* kid! :lol:).


I suspect a lot of us here are that kid.


<yorkshire>Luxury.</yorkshire> We didn't have any such clubs in my high school. The nerds had to choose debate and/or band. The odd thing is that the middle school had a science club (I was a member) but the high school didn't.
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Re: Were you a high school letterman?

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:02 am

bthylafh wrote:<yorkshire>Luxury.</yorkshire> We didn't have any such clubs in my high school. The nerds had to choose debate and/or band. The odd thing is that the middle school had a science club (I was a member) but the high school didn't.


That's because they had real science classes in high school. At least that's my take on the matter.
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Re: Were you a high school letterman?

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:03 am

If you count chem and biology and anatomy, I suppose.
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Re: Were you a high school letterman?

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:20 am

Got a letter in marching band and have it on a jacket somewhere. Band didn't really offer as much as they *should* have, IMO, but the jacket is nice and smells of nostalgia.

Didn't really wear it in college, though. Joined a fraternity and started wearing a set of letters on hoodies, shirts, etc.

Now that I'm out, I actually still wear a zip-up hoodie with greek letters on it for light weather, but I mostly wear work appropriate coats and sweaters.
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Re: Were you a high school letterman?

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:25 am

I lettered three years in football. It was such a point of pride for me that I lettered as a sophomore. I joined the Letterman's Club at my high school. Had a blast. We were service oriented, but we were issued paddles (not for canoeing) for working at basketball games. That being said, I went on to college and grad school. But those were some happy memories and I've got the jacket still in a closet somewhere. I'll probably pull it out and bring it to my 20 year reunion and I'll show it to my kids when they ask about what I was like then.
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Re: Were you a high school letterman?

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:35 am

I lettered in Band and Soccer in high school along with graduating with honors. Granted, doing that in college would have been more impressive, or at a larger school, but they were things I wanted to accomplish. :)

We got the jackets, or letters, for free at my school, so I didn't have to buy them. I got rid of the jacket long ago, but I may still have the letters somewhere.

We didn't have a computer club high school. There was our Industrial Arts program which was kind of like a club.
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Re: Were you a high school letterman?

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:37 am

Lettered in track... ran the 800 and 1600 meters and was actually pretty good at both.

Today, I couldn't run a mile if rabid dogs were chasing me :(
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Re: Were you a high school letterman?

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:39 am

bthylafh wrote:though I earned a couple letters for JROTC drill team


True Story; Vrock and I were members and actually CO and XO (respectively) of a National Championship Drill Team in college. Besting schools like Texas A&M (our arch-nemesis but with much respect), all the military academies, VMI, Citadel, Florida, Norwich, etc. etc. Ahh the memories.

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Re: Were you a high school letterman?

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:40 am

My high school in Farm Town USA did not have letters for anything other than sports, and only if you played on the varsity team. Freshman and JV teams didn't count. I played baseball freshman and sophomore years, and then gave that up to pursue trombone and then trumpet lessons to get an early jump on what I was sure was going to be an instrumental music education career. So no letters for me, though I did go on to college. It seemed like everyone at Bradley did their very best to separate themselves from their high schools (most of which were in the north and west suburbs of Chicago, or down here in the Peoria area) and didn't wear them on campus, if they had them.

I saw no value in it and still see no value. Doesn't mean other people feel that way, I'm sure.

edit: tanker, that is *awesome*.
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Re: Were you a high school letterman?

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:18 am

What does it mean to 'letter'? I was on some teams and clubs in high school but we didn't have team jackets, or even school jackets.
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Re: Were you a high school letterman?

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:31 am

At my high school, at least, you were awarded a letter (first initial letter of the school, a large block letter) for year-long participation in certain extracurricular activities like sports or debate. The expectation was that you'd purchase a "letter jacket" of approved design from a certain store, affix the letter plus any additional activity-awarded decorations, and then wear it to school & possibly elsewhere. Our jackets also featured the owner's last name and the last two digits of the year they expected to graduate, along with the school's mascot.

It was very common for male jacket-owners to give it to their steady girlfriend at the time & for her to wear it. I don't recall any examples of female jacket-owners having their boyfriends wear theirs.
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Re: Were you a high school letterman?

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:24 pm

You left out an important voting option: "Didn't want a frigging thing to do with it." :wink:

(What's with the cheese reference?)
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Re: Were you a high school letterman?

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:38 pm

Geonerd wrote:(What's with the cheese reference?)


Here at TR all polls must contain a Cheese reference. (not really its just a thing we do)
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Re: Were you a high school letterman?

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:41 pm

I'm a little surprised s/he hasn't seen it yet. A member for over a year now.
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Re: Were you a high school letterman?

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:04 pm

The first poll that was put up on the front page over a decade ago (to test the poll feature of the main site) had a cheese option, and it has been tradition to include a cheese option in forum polls ever since. IIRC many of the older front page polls included a cheese option too, but those pre-date the current front page poll system and AFAIK are no longer accessible.

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Re: Were you a high school letterman?

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:54 pm

I got one for track even though I was just third string. The jacket was just too expensive for my family. I remember it costing several hundred dollars and that was circa 1990.

It was definitely a sort of status symbol in my high school. Class rings were another one but less prevalent. Also a ripoff IMO.
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Re: Were you a high school letterman?

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2013 2:12 pm

Yeah, the things were several hundred dollars and I didn't think my parents should spend so much on a stupid jacket that I would stop wearing once I went to college. Likewise the class ring.
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Re: Were you a high school letterman?

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2013 2:28 pm

I got an Honors letter. Couldn't afford the jacket to put it on, but I still have the letter in a storage box somewhere.

I wouldn't have worn it anyway. Nerds were socially inferior to jocks in small-town America, so wearing an honors letter jacket would have made one an easy target for further public humiliation.
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Re: Were you a high school letterman?

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2013 2:49 pm

kvndoom wrote:Nerds were socially inferior to jocks in small-town America

That effect is not limited to small-town America. Unless you attend a nerd school it is pretty universal.
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Re: Were you a high school letterman?

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2013 2:56 pm

just brew it! wrote:
kvndoom wrote:Nerds were socially inferior to jocks in small-town America

That effect is not limited to small-town America. Unless you attend a nerd school it is pretty universal.

Ah, true.. I just thought in bigger schools it might have been easier to disappear in the crowd. I have learned to love the anonymity of city life.

But back to the point, jocks were "cool" in letter jackets, band members were accepted (and even the nerdy ones got a free pass with a Band letter), but Honors was just nothing to brag about.
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Re: Were you a high school letterman?

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:39 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:My high school in Farm Town USA did not have letters for anything other than sports, and only if you played on the varsity team. Freshman and JV teams didn't count.


I thought that was the way it worked. Being on the varsity team meant you got a letter. Band and choir got letters if you were a senior and had participated for four years.

just brew it! wrote:That effect is not limited to small-town America. Unless you attend a nerd school it is pretty universal.


kvndoom wrote:But back to the point, jocks were "cool" in letter jackets, band members were accepted (and even the nerdy ones got a free pass with a Band letter), but Honors was just nothing to brag about.


Or you attended a school with an oddly high concentration of kids whose parents were engineers which kind of blurred the lines. There wasn't really a "class" system there. It's was a pretty laid back place, and we're all still pretty tight. Being from there is kind of a bond.
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Re: Were you a high school letterman?

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:40 pm

I have a letter somewhere (BOWLING!), never got a jacket, and could not care less.

They didn't have clubs at my high schools for "Future-reading-your-email-ers of America".
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Re: Were you a high school letterman?

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:24 pm

Around my high school letter jackets were currency of popularity, which did not include me, and moreover a men's style letter jacket was something like $120...in late 199x dollars. My parents sure weren't going to give me that kind of money for a bit of ephemeral gimcrackery, and the paltry wage I made working weekends in fast food wasn't going to pay for that and my other hobbies, so I filed my tennis and academic letters in a box and called it a life.

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Re: Were you a high school letterman?

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:34 pm

Hawkwing74 wrote:I got one for track even though I was just third string. The jacket was just too expensive for my family. I remember it costing several hundred dollars and that was circa 1990.


Really?? I remember my jacket being something around $120 and that was also around 1990... and it was a nice jacket. I can't imagine paying several hundred for one.
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Re: Were you a high school letterman?

Postposted on Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:41 pm

We didn't have letters or jackets or rings or proms. None of the highschools did. My only familiarity with any of that was seeing them on "Happy Days" and I assumed they had died out with poodle skirts and ducktail haircuts. I was surprised when I got to college in the US and discovered they still existed (even more surprised that Fraternities and Sororities were still common on campuses, as I only knew them from "Animal House" and assumed they'd mostly petered out in the 70s).
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