Are high school letter jackets as popular as they were in 1997? The answer depends on which school you’re talking about.
“I hardly see any athletes wearing letterman’s jackets now,” said Nick Wold, who played quarterback and defensive back for Mariner High School in the 1990s.
Wold now teaches at Monroe High School, where he coached football and basketball for several years. He said he sees even fewer athletes wearing letter jackets today than he did when he started teaching in 2003.
“It’s a slow decline,” he said.
Elsewhere, the tradition of lettermen’s jackets is alive and well.
“At my school, a lot of kids wear letter jackets,” Jackson head football coach Joel Vincent said. “I still see a lot of kids wearing letter jackets including my own (son) that goes to (Marysville) Getchell. I think letter jackets are something that kids still really value.”
Another school where the jackets are still in vogue is Marysville Pilchuck.
“They are still pretty common,” Tomahawks football standout Austrin Joyner said. “I see them daily around school.”
If there is a decline in the number of kids sporting jackets, it could have to do with the expense. Depending on where the jacket is purchased, it can cost several hundred dollars.
“They’re expensive as heck,” Wold said, “and I just think people are more conscious of what things cost (today as opposed to 17 years ago).”
Wold owned a letter jacket when he was in high school, but admits it wasn’t always on his back.
“Back in the day, you got your letterman’s jacket and you had your girl wearing it,” he said. “I barely wore it. I let my girl wear it. Or, if I was fighting with her, I let another girl wear it.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on Twitter at @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.