In sports or activities in the United States, a letterman is a high school or college student who has met a specified level of participation or performance on a varsity team.
The term comes from the practice of awarding each such participant a cloth "letter", which is usually the school's initial or initials, for placement on a "letter sweater" or "letter jacket" intended for the display of such an award. In some instances, the sweater or jacket itself may also be awarded, especially for the initial award to a given individual. Today, in order to distinguish "lettermen" from other team participants, schools often establish a minimum level of participation in a team's events or a minimum level of performance in order for a letter to be awarded. A common threshold in American football and basketball is participation in a set level, often half, of all quarters in a season. In individual sports such as tennis and golf, the threshold for lettering is generally participation in one half or sometimes two-thirds of all matches contested. Frequently, other members of the team who fail to meet requirements for a letter are awarded a certificate of participation or other award considered to be of lesser value than a letter.
Some schools continue to base the awarding of letters according to performance, in team sports requiring a certain number of touchdowns, catches, scores, steals, baskets or tackles, according to position and sport. In individual sports letters are often determined according to qualification for state meets or tournaments. Other schools award letters on a more subjective basis, with the head coach, usually with the input of other coaches and sometimes student team leaders who have already lettered, awarding letters for substantial improvement as well as significant performance on or off the field. This places much more emphasis on character, commitment and teamwork as well as, and often in place of, simply playing enough or meeting some other time or performance requirement. Sometimes in high schools academic performance in classes can also be an element. This philosophy gives more focus to developing and rewarding a well-rounded and balanced player, where other methods focus strictly on athletic performance and on the field victories. This term is not gender-specific; a qualifying participant in women's basketball or other women's sports is properly referred to as a letterman, as would be a qualifying female participant on a co-educational sports team. An athlete who is awarded a letter (or letters in multiple sports) is said to have "lettered" when they receive their letter.
In recent years, some schools have expanded the concept of letterman beyond sports, providing letters for performance in performing arts, academics, or other school activities.
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A letter jacket is a baseball-styled 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. Letter jackets are also known as "letterman jackets", "varsity jackets" and "baseball jackets" in reference to their American origins.
The body (i.e., torso) is usually of boiled wool and the sleeves of leather with banded wrists and waistband. Letter jackets are usually produced in the school colors, with the body of the jacket in the school's primary color and sleeves in the secondary color, although sometimes, the colors of the jacket may be customized to a certain extent by the student. There could be cases where a student could change the color so much that it doesn't differentiate too much from school colors. They usually feature a banded collar for men or a top-buttoned hood (that unbuttons into an expanded collar) for women.
The letter jacket derives its name from the varsity letter chenille patch on its left breast, which is almost always the first letter or initials of the high school or college the jacket came from. The letter itself can also be custom fitted to the particular sport or activity (e.g. cross country—a symbol or sign in the middle of the letter).
The name of the owner usually appears either in chenille (matching the letter) or embroidered on the jacket itself. The owner's graduation year typically appears in matching chenille. Placement of the name and year of graduation depends on school traditions. The year is most often sewn on the right sleeve or just above the right pocket. The school logo and symbols representing the student's activities may also be ironed onto the jacket.
Lettermen who play on a championship team often receive a large patch commemorating their championship that is worn on the back of the jacket.
Lettermen who participate in a sport in which medals are awarded often sew the medals onto their jackets to display their accomplishments.
Varsity jackets trace their origins to letter sweaters, first introduced by the Harvard University baseball team in 1865.  The letter was usually quite large and centered (if the sweater was a pullover); stripes on one sleeve designated the number of letters won, with a star indicating a team captain.
Letter jackets are almost never purchased before a student has earned a letter. In schools where only varsity letters are awarded this is usually the practice in a student's junior or senior year. Recently, many student-athletes have been awarded letters during their sophomore and sometimes freshman year, leading to the need for a jacket much sooner. Still, the actual jacket is not usually purchased until the sophomore year. In schools where junior varsity letters are awarded, the jacket may be purchased by junior varsity letter recipients, though the letter is placed just above the left pocket, leaving space for a future varsity letter.
Some schools may award letter jackets to letter winners at an award ceremony, but more often, the school only provides the letter. Some schools will have fundraising activities or other programs to provide jackets to students who cannot afford them.
While it is commonly done, removing one's letter from the letter jacket upon graduation is not firmly held as protocol. Many graduates keep the letter on the jacket after graduation as a symbol of accomplishment and school pride and commitment, especially with college lettermen.
Cheerleading is an activity in which the participants cheer for their team as a form of encouragement. It can range from chanting slogans to intense physical activity. It can be performed to motivate sports teams, to entertain the audience, or for competition. Cheerleading routines typically range anywhere from one to three minutes, and contain components of tumbling, dance, jumps, cheers, and stunting.
A scholarship is a form of financial aid awarded to students for further education. Generally, scholarships are awarded based on a set of criteria such as academic merit, diversity and inclusion, athletic skill, and financial need.
A sweater or pullover, also called a jersey or jumper, is a piece of clothing, typically with long sleeves, made of knitted or crocheted material, that covers the upper part of the body. When sleeveless, the garment is often called a slipover, tank top or sweater vest.
A varsity letter is an award earned in the United States for excellence in school activities. A varsity letter signifies that its recipient was a qualified varsity team member, awarded after a certain standard was met.
In most English-speaking countries, varsity is an abbreviation of the word university. In the United States and Canada, the term is mostly used in relation to sports teams.
A jacket is a garment for the upper body, usually extending below the hips. A jacket typically has sleeves, and fastens in the front or slightly on the side. A jacket is generally lighter, tighter-fitting, and less insulating than a coat, which is outerwear. Some jackets are fashionable, while others serve as protective clothing. Jackets without sleeves are vests.
Junior varsity players are the members of a team who are not the main players in a competition, usually at the high school level–– and formerly at the collegiate level–– in the United States. The main players comprise the varsity team. Although the intensity of the JV team may vary from place to place, most junior varsity teams consist of players who are in their freshman and sophomore years in school, though occasionally upperclassmen may play on JV teams. For this reason, junior varsity teams are also often called freshman/sophomore teams. Especially skilled or physically mature freshmen and sophomores may compete at the varsity level. Some private school associations may permit very skilled seventh- or eighth-graders to compete on varsity teams. At larger schools, there may be two junior varsity teams for some sports, with a lower-level team typically consisting only of freshmen.
A Catholic school uniform in North America typically consists of a pleated and plaid skirt or jumper, Mary Jane or saddle shoes, a button-down shirt, and a sweater for girls, while boys' uniforms consist of a button-down shirt, a necktie, and dark pants. Actual school uniforms vary widely by location and individual school.
A flight jacket is a casual jacket that was originally created for pilots and eventually became part of popular culture and apparel. It has evolved into various styles and silhouettes, including the "letterman" jacket and the fashionable "bomber" jacket that is known today.
A blazer is a type of jacket resembling a suit jacket, but cut more casually. A blazer is generally distinguished from a sport coat as a more formal garment and tailored from solid colour fabrics. Blazers often have naval-style metal buttons to reflect their origin as jackets worn by boating club members.
Varsity Scouting was a program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). It was an alternative available to boys ages fourteen to eighteen until the end of 2017. It used the basic Boy Scouting program and added high adventure, sporting, and other elements that were more appealing to older youth to accomplish the aims of character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness. Varsity Scouts were organized into teams; separate chartered units from a Boy Scout troop.
A gang signal, also known as a gang sign, is a verbal or visual way gang members identify their affiliation. This can take many forms including slogans, hand signs, colored clothing and graffiti. The wearer usually favors, or is in, that particular gang. Many of these, especially slogans and hand signs, have become part of popular culture, especially in African American hip hop culture.
A blue is an award of sporting colours earned by athletes at some universities and schools for competition at the highest level. The awarding of blues began at Oxford and Cambridge universities in England. They are now awarded at a number of other British universities and at some universities in Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
Dutchtown High School is a 5A school that was completed in 2003 in Geismar, an unincorporated area of Ascension Parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. It is within the Ascension Parish School Board. Dutchtown Middle School, Bluff Middle School and Prairieville Middle School feed into Dutchtown High. The architecture is based on that of the old Dutchtown High, which was situated across the highway at the current Dutchtown Middle School.
Eastern Military Academy (EMA) was a high school military academy founded in 1944 in Connecticut, United States by Roland R. Robinson, a former mathematics teacher at Peekskill Military Academy, and his brother-in-law, Carleton Witham. The relationship with the local town was poor from the start, and in 1948 the school moved to Cold Spring Hills on Long Island, New York, until the school closed in 1979.
In college athletics in the United States, recruiting is the process in which college coaches add prospective student athletes to their roster each off-season. This process typically culminates in a coach extending an athletic scholarship offer to a player who is about to be a junior in high school or higher. There are instances, mostly at lower division universities, where no athletic scholarship can be awarded and where the player pays for tuition, housing, and textbook costs out of pocket or from financial aid. During this recruiting process, schools must comply with rules that define who may be involved in the recruiting process, when recruiting may occur and the conditions under which recruiting may be conducted. Recruiting rules seek, as much as possible, to control intrusions into the lives of prospective student-athletes. The NCAA defines recruiting as “any solicitation of prospective student-athletes or their parents by an institutional staff member or by a representative of the institution’s athletics interests for the purpose of securing a prospective student-athlete’s enrollment and ultimate participation in the institution’s intercollegiate athletics program."
A cheerleading uniform is a standardized outfit worn by cheerleaders during games and other events. These uniforms typically include the official colors and mascots of the school or team and are designed to make the wearer appear physically attractive.
Student athlete is a term used principally in the United States to describe students enrolled at postsecondary educational institutions, principally colleges and universities, but also at secondary schools, who participate in an organized competitive sport sponsored by that educational institution or school. The term student-athlete was coined in 1964 by Walter Byers, the first executive director of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The term is also interchangeable with the synonymous term “varsity athlete”.
Sport pertains to any form of physical activity or game, often competitive and/or organized, that aims to use, maintain, or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoyment to participants and, in some cases, entertainment to spectators. Sports can, through casual or organized participation, improve participants' physical health. Hundreds of sports exist, from those between single contestants, through to those with hundreds of simultaneous participants, either in teams or competing as individuals. In certain sports such as racing, many contestants may compete, simultaneously or consecutively, with one winner; in others, the contest is between two sides, each attempting to exceed the other. Some sports allow a "tie" or "draw", in which there is no single winner; others provide tie-breaking methods to ensure one winner and one loser. A number of contests may be arranged in a tournament producing a champion. Many sports leagues make an annual champion by arranging games in a regular sports season, followed in some cases by playoffs.
European University Sports Association (EUSA) is an umbrella non-governmental (NGO) non-profit organisation, working in the field of university sport in Europe.