At the fall and winter assemblies individual athletes are recognized for their achievements during their sports season. Athletes are called to the stage and presented with RBHS Golden Gear. Golden Gear is given in the form of a medal, embossed with a bruin head with a green and gold ribbon. After watching the golden gear ceremony during my time at RBHS, and being fortunate enough to receive one, the golden gear idea needs to be reexamined and revised.
The golden gear medal is essentially worthless and carries little prestige. The medals that matter, district and state MSHSAA medals, are much smaller than the golden gear medal yet carry a much higher prestige. Golden gear medals are basically giving an athlete a medal for winning another medal. For sports where individual accomplishments aren’t recognized, awarding golden gear to a whole team seems just as ludicrous.
Any member of the team would gladly trade their golden gear award for a district and state title. Although it is nice for accomplishments to be recognized giving a superficial medal is pointless.
A possible solution to the golden gear award and a way to add prestige to the medal would be to award a single golden gear award per sport. The basis behind the award could be to go to the most deserving member of the team as voted on by the team. By having just one award and by making it awarded by an athletes teammates golden gear would take a step up and become an honor and an award worth winning.
Additionally golden gear should be extended to members of other extracurricular activities. At Rock Bridge we have many successful non-athletic organizations that put in countless hours of work and deserve recognition as well. Band, show choir, DECA, debate, FFA and all other competitive extracurricular program participants should be able to vote for a member of their organization to win golden gear.
Golden gear is a tradition we value at Rock Bridge, but it’s lacking a big pull. Awards such as Bruin of my Life and Everyday Bruin carry much more weight because they are awarded to less people and their is a personal feel to the award. A similar setting could be applied to golden gear with the winner from a sport or activity having a blurb about them written by a coach or instructor read aloud by the MC’s. Another interesting aspect that would increase golden gears draw would to not have a strict criteria for the award but rather let teams form their own definition and vote on the award accordingly. This would give teams a chance to recognize athlete’s contributions that would otherwise go unnoticed by the general student body. For example the senior who never started a game but is always helping underclassmen could be awarded the golden gear or an athlete who battled back from hardship.
Golden gear is a good thing at Rock Bridge but with a little revision and refinement it could be made into an honor someone could remember the rest of their life.
By Graham Ratermann