It’s all about the rings.
Players and coaches from championship teams get some major bling these days.
Super Bowl rings seem to get bigger, and gaudier, each year.
The reported cost of each ring is north of $35,000.
It’s not just the pros that strive for jewelry. College players get rings for conference championships and for bowl games.
And it‘s not just football; it’s all sports, both male and female.
It’s big time too for high schoolers to get state championship rings. But it goes even younger than that.
My son has played travel baseball for several years.
The setup is teams gather pretty much each and every weekend to play tournaments.
The first few years, players from the winning team got small individual trophies.
But over the past several years, the trophies have been replaced by rings.
Before our team ever won one, I had assumed that the rings would be really cheap and lightweight. But boy was I wrong.
They are metal and very solid. They are blinged out with lots of small, fake diamonds.
And they are big, built like a Super Bowl ring.
And the kids love them. Although they cost only a few dollars, you would think they were made of solid gold.
Each Sunday night, after championship games are played, Facebook is flooded with uploaded cell phone pictures of beaming kids showing off their rings.
I have a friend who owns a pawnshop here in Conway.
Several years ago, I went in to visit and happened to see a pile of four football rings he had in a drawer.
They had been there for well over a year and he really did not expect the guy to ever come back.
One was for a high school state championship. Another was for a conference championship at the University of Central Arkansas.
I help the Faulkner County Museum collect local sports memorabilia, and thought that UCA ring would be a unique addition to the collection.
So my pawn buddy let me have that one.
Fast-forward several years, to about a month ago.
The pawnbroker called to let me know the guy had finally come back to get his rings.
The player told him about how he had been in a tough place back when he pawned them, but that now he had things back on track.
However, my friend had to inform the former Bear that only three of the rings remained. The young man was happy to get those and left.
Through the miracle of social media, I was able to track the player down and we arranged a meeting so I could give him back the fourth ring.
We ended up visiting for about 20 minutes. He had the other three rings with him and told me a little about each one. I could tell they still meant a lot to him.
I know a lot of hard work went into earning those rings, and I am happy he has all of them back.
But I was even happier to hear about how he got his life back in order.