There was once a time when winning a title in anything got you a lot of bragging rights and not much else. Oh, how times have changed.
For years, the state title chase has been all about the bling, with student athletes getting day-of mementos in the form of medals to accompany the state title trophy. Now it’s about the hats. No, really. It’s about the hats.
Just like the pros, and their collegiate counterparts, high school champions are now getting the full complement of sponsored state champion gear. At least that’s the case in Texas, where coaches openly pushed for their players to reach for the stars and a hat, not a trophy.
“I told them I wanted this,” Grapevine coach Steve Hutcherson told the Dallas Morning News after winning a state title. “That’s why we played so hard, to get the snap back.”
That’s a real quote, folks. It’s about the Nike-sponsored “Texas Tested” hats and shirts, as you can see on the Dallas Jesuit team above, which the players clearly were as excited about as Hutcherson and the coaching staff.
There’s no question that the new gear lends an additional level of professionalism to prep playoffs, which is exciting. Whether it’s a good exciting or bad exciting is entirely in the eye of the beholder.