Top 25 College Football Student Sections latest 2023

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What’s The Significance Of A Varsity Letterman Jacket?

As I started my research on this very important topic “what is the meaning of a varsity letter jacket”. I was amazed at how many people knew nothing about this prestigious part of our American culture. I will be covering various tidbits of information regarding the varsity jacket today. I will examine the birth of the letterman jacket as well as the appearance, style, decorations, history and traditions of the letterman jacket. The birth of the letterman jacket came with the advent of organized sports which created a need for uniforms. There was an additional need for identifications which was satisfied by the use of emblems or letters. In 1865, the Harvard baseball team added the Olde English ‘H’ as the first varsity letter. The “H” was embroidered on the gray flannel shirt. The football team began using the ‘H’ in 1875. Interestingly, for 25 years after the letter was introduced in 1865, it was customary for the team captain to allow certain players who played in the most important games (Yale or Princeton) to keep the “H” jerseys as a reward. If a player did not play in an important game, the player had to return the shirt at the end of the season. The awarding of the “H” jersey may have been the birth of the varsity letter as an award.

A letterman, in sports, performing arts, or academics in the United States, is a high school or college student who has achieved a specified level of participation and/or performance in a varsity sports team, marching band, or in other activities sponsored by a performance school. The term comes from the practice of assigning each such participant a cloth “letter”, which is usually the school’s initial or initials, to be placed on a “letter sweater” or “letter jacket intended for the display of such a price. In some cases, the sweater or jacket itself may also be awarded, specifically for the initial prize to a particular person.

Traditionally, the athletic letter has been associated with elite athletes, although in recent decades there has been a movement to make the letter award more accessible to all students by removing performance requirements. In the case of a marching band, drum line, or colorguard member, a letterman is usually assigned to an upperclass member or platoon leader. Today, in order to distinguish “lettermen” from other team participants, schools often set a minimum level of participation in a team’s events and/or a minimum level of performance for a letter to be awarded. A common threshold in American football and basketball is attendance at a set level, often half, of all quarters of a season. (To reach that standard in a ten-game season, one would have to have appeared in at least twenty of the forty quarters played.)

In individual sports such as tennis and golf, the lettering threshold is usually participation in one-half or sometimes two-thirds of all games played. Often, other team members who do not meet the requirements for a letter receive a certificate of participation or some other award considered less valuable than a letter. Some schools continue to base letter allocation on performance, in team sports requiring a certain number of scores, interceptions, field goals, or tackles, depending on the position and the sport. In individual sports, letters are often determined based on qualification for state meets or tournaments. In the performing arts, letters are assigned based on performance. Students who are selected for the state choir or who receive high scores in a major instrumental competition may receive letters, or musicians who get first or second seat in their instrumental section. Students participating in academic clubs may also receive this award if the conditions are met, the academic clubs to which this award may be awarded are at the discretion of the school. In some schools, general “academic letters” are awarded based on GPA, usually students with a GPA of 3.8 or higher. This term is not gender specific; a skilled participant in women’s basketball or other women’s sports is rightly called a man of letters, as is a skilled participant in a mixed sports team.

A letterman jacket is a jacket traditionally worn by high school and college students in the United States to represent school and team pride as well as to display personal awards earned in athletics, academics, or activities. Letterman jackets are also known as “Varsity Jackets” in some places. The body (i.e. torso) is usually boiled wool and the sleeves leather with bandaged cuffs and belt. Letter jackets are usually produced in school colors with the body of the jacket in the primary school color and the sleeves in the secondary color. They usually feature a band collar for men or a hood for women. The letter jacket gets its name from the varsity letter chenille patch on its left chest, which is almost always the first letter or initials of the high school or college the jacket is from. Because the jacket is designed as a display for the letter, the colors of the jacket match those of the letter, rather than the other way around. The owner’s name usually appears either in chenille (corresponding to the letter) or embroidered on the jacket itself. The year of graduation of the owner usually appears in matching chenille. Placement of name and year of graduation depends on school tradition. The year is most often sewn on the right sleeve or just above the right pocket. Men of letters who play on a championship team often receive a large crest commemorating their championship which is worn on the back of the jacket.

The letterman sweater was first regularly used by the “Nine” (baseball) of 1891 and was black with a small crimson “H” on the left chest. Letter sweaters were the predecessors of letter jackets. The letter was usually quite large and centered (if the sweater was a sweater); stripes on one sleeve denoted the number of letters won, a star indicating a team captain. Letterman jackets are almost never purchased until a student has won a letter. In schools where only varsity letters are awarded, this usually occurs in students’ first or last year. At schools where junior varsity letters are awarded, the jacket may also be purchased by recipients of junior varsity letters, although the letter is placed just above the left pocket, leaving room for a future varsity letter ( let’s hope so).

Some schools may award letterman jackets to letter winners at the awards ceremony, but more often the school only provides the letter.

In America and Canada, a male athlete may give the letter to his girlfriend as a token of his love, this is considered a sign of a truly intimate relationship as the jacket is an honor. In the event of a breakup, it is customary for the girl to return the jacket as a sign of rejection.

Mentioned works

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letterman

http://mountolympusawards.com/publications/varsityletter.htm

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