“You have a letter? For what? Band?” The blatant scorn of athletes regarding the coveted letterman is all too common. I’ve never lettered myself, but I can understand the pull of the jacket. Students who wear them are automatically placed a rung higher in the school spirit hierarchy.
A letterman traditionally signifies excellence. It stands for hard work, talent under pressure, and dedication to our school. Are these not all qualities of an Academic League team member, of a drama student, of a choir singer, of a band kid? The Marching Sundevils sweat out on the stadium turf during summer band camp, some of them lugging 30 pound instruments. Science Olympiad applies intricate details of science to complicated labs far beyond what we learn in class. Academic League drills endlessly to remember everything from state capitals to formulas. Theatre kids rehearse every day after school to put on shows for our own entertainment. Are these not worthy of recognition? Are these not incredible examples of school spirit? Are these hours not enough to earn a fabric “MC?”
Above all else, a letterman is a symbol of school pride. Arts and academic programs put in time, endure pressure, and pour their hearts into a passion, same as athletes do. Just because the activities they are passionate about do not fall in line with what athletes have deemed important, they should not be dismissed as insignificant or less deserving. Some people are excellent at calculating how a basketball will bounce off a backboard, and some are excellent at calculating air resistance against a homemade helicopter propeller. So the latter of these is somehow inferior? The belief that athletes and athletes alone work hard enough to wear a piece of wool and leather is incredibly unfair to the hardworking students involved in other things. Of course jocks should be recognized for their blood, sweat, and tears. But they forget that the MC insignia belongs to all of us.