On Monday, I had seen a couple of photos on facebook; but, it wasn't until a bit later in the day that I saw one for myself. I was pushing a cart down the aisle at Super S when one of the 2011 Punchers turned, saw me coming, and proudly raised his hand, palm down. It would have been impossible to miss seeing it. The 2011 State Football Champion rings are big. Las Vegas high roller big. For most of the young men that are now sporting them, the medallion on top could easily span two of their fingers, and most will likely develop elongated arms from dealing with the additional weight.Our state champion Mason Punchers have finally received their rings, and they are justifiably proud. By Monday evening, facebook was full of posts showing off the rings, and it soon became a competition to see who could find the most original and creative way to display their new bling. Most of our young Mason men eschew wearing much jewelry, so it has been a bit amusing to see how they're handling the addition of a VERY large piece of jewelry to their daily ensembles.As I was preparing supper at home, I began mulling over how I wanted to treat the rings in this week's paper. I knew that, due to the importance of the rings to the players and coaches, we really needed to let people know about them. And, there were obviously plenty of images available of any number of the rings. But, something didn't feel right about posting the photo in the paper.Then, I started thinking about the encounter in the aisle at Super S. The young man that showed me his ring was more than just excited - - his eyes were twinkling and he was bursting with pride as he had extended his hand to show me his ring. He wasn't bragging, he was sharing something that gave him great pride, and he couldn't stop smiling as he held out his arm and moved his hand so that the light would play off the stones surrounding the horseshoe M set in the center of the medallion.And then I knew what I wanted to do for the paper's treatment of the rings. I decided to give the owners of the new rings the opportunity to share that same excitement of showing their trophies with all of the young men, and give them the chance to include the folks of Mason in yet one more part of the state championship experience.I thought that the guys could wear their rings while they're eating at the restaurants in town and they could patiently allow "gawkers" to come take a look. When the kids are in town running errands, they can wear their rings and show them off as they head around the sidewalks. The people of Mason faithfully followed the Punchers through the preseason, into the regular season play, and on into the playoffs. They packed their cars up and headed to different venues around the state to provide cheering and enthusiastic support at every game, ending at Cowboy Stadium with a well-deserved victory.So now, I urge the young men to allow the people of Mason the opportunity to share in this one final symbol of that victory. I encourage them to patiently endure any questions about the rings after church as their friends and family crowd around to take a peek at the trophy. I suggest that the residents of Mason actively seek out the youngsters and ask to see the rings. It is a moment ripe with the opportunity to share the emotions and feelings that carried our entire town to that final game, and to provide a bit of closure as the class of 2012 moves ever closer to graduation.Enjoy the moment, savor the memories.
It’s all just my opinion.