Auston Bonté gave his warm-up to Erykah White to rep him on the day of a big conference game.

Auston Bonté gave his warm-up to Erykah White to rep him on the day of a big conference game.

For numerous years, athletes have handed out their jerseys to their friends to be worn on the day of a big game. This tradition has raised awareness and encouraged students to support all the sports teams. Recently though, athletes have been told they will no longer be able to pass out their jerseys. There have been a few events that have escalated for a few years, but the athletic administration finally decided to prohibit it.

“It’s not just one reason,” athletic director Mr. Bob Hebrank said. “To me, if you’re wearing a jersey, it’s your jersey. I get the thing of giving it to other people to raise awareness and to get them to come to games, but at the same time, I don’t want people who aren’t a part of our program representing us wrong.”

He stated that a combination of honor, reputation, and economics has contributed to the final decision.

“Our programs have evolved over the past years to become what they are today, and students have to put a lot of work in to participate. They should feel honored to represent their team and what it took to be a part of that.”

Hebrank said the school doesn’t just give out jerseys to anyone.

“You have to make the team, you have to sacrifice, you have to come to all the practices, the training, and the offseason work.”

He also added that he wants to keep the sports program’s reputation clean. So far, students have been careful with the jerseys, and he wants to keep it that way.

“It’s a responsibility thing too. We don’t want anyone who’s not a part of the team getting in trouble at school or out in the public,” Hebrank said. “If they’re around something negative, that portrays the program of the jersey they’re wearing, and our athletes are held at a certain level of responsibility. People who aren’t on the team aren’t always expected to be at that certain level.”

He confessed that the last straw was drawn when jerseys needed to be replaced more frequently than normal.

“Our girls were giving their jerseys to guys that were 6’2’’ and 6’3’’ and stretching them out. Jerseys are expensive and replacing them is not always easy. If your jersey gets ruined, I want you responsible for that,” Hebrank said.

Going back to the responsibility factor, he wants athletes to better understand the privilege it is to wear a Pattonville jersey and be able to properly take care of them so that they can be worn for numerous seasons.

On the other hand, teachers will still be able to wear and represent their students on Renaissance night. It causes less of a problem because they only wear it while at school and then later to the game, while students go out into the community and could simply be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“When teachers wear them, we don’t have to worry about honor,” Hebrank said. “They do have to be smart enough to not put on a jersey if it doesn’t fit, but a lot of them just drape it over their shoulders instead.”

Students aren’t completely banned from representing their friends though, and many teams have already started handing out their warm-ups or other spirit wear for their friends to wear for the day.

Volleyball captain junior Auston Bonté said that they have already been passing out alternatives.

“We’ve been handing out our jackets and warm-ups. Especially our warm-ups because they have our numbers on the back.”

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