All Geared Up

For years, schools across the country have been giving out varsity jackets to their athletes. Likewise, here at Groton many varsity athletes receive apparel from their respective teams as well. However, this practice is isolated to the varsity level. Thus, some athletes have taken to wearing jackets not to show pride for their team or school, but rather to show their “status.” In a community that values inclusion so much, this hierarchy becomes an opposing force to our goal as a school; if varsity jackets are the source of such a hierarchy, then they should they be sustained?
The main issue at hand is whether varsity jackets do indeed induce hierarchies in our community. Steven Anton ’16 says, “When the act of wearing varsity jackets begins to become a sign of status, the whole concept becomes ridiculous.” Junior varsity sports do not receive jackets, and while one could argue that they will someday earn the opportunity to wear one through hard work and dedication, in the present the lack of such jackets can serve as a source of humiliation and bruised pride. Thus, when an athlete wears his or her varsity jacket around the Circle, it is essential that they not wear the jacket as if they were sitting on a pedastal, but instead wear it solely as a sign of school pride.
On the other hand, however, it is important to also address the positive impact of wearing varsity jackets. In many ways, varsity jackets bring teams together in a way that fosters teamwork and camaraderie. Varsity jackets can provide a sense of team unity that translates into good play on the field or court. Team members keep their jackets for a lifetime, so they serve as mementos of great times. Also, as is with every team jacket, Groton is always written across the front. While the jackets may represent a specific team, they all represent our school. In this way, varsity jackets are a symbol of school pride that not only betters our community, but also our will to win games.
Even though the giving out of varsity jackets may be a touchy subject of sorts, the benefits that come from the tradition surely outweigh the consequences. Varsity jackets are a way of unifying teammates on and off the field, and although their misuse may bring about isolated instances of hierarchy, it is only right that we continue the tradition that promotes so much teamwork and creates such lasting bonds.

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