We the people of the NYS high school wrestling community were shocked to hear that our qualifying wrestlers will no longer have the honor of wearing their section colors during state tournament competition. This tradition of nearly 50 years has been a longstanding symbol of pride and respect for wrestlers, fans, and parents alike.
Earning a state championship singlet is not only the goal of nearly every wrestler in NYS, it's something the spectators look forward to. Fans dress in their section colors, families have custom colored t-shirts made, and some athletes even dye their hair to match! Not to mention, in a sea of matches, it's nearly impossible to closely follow the action as a spectator without the visual cue. Some spectators, many of whom travel from several hours away, take time off from work, and spend the weekend in Albany, will indeed be turned-off by this decision.
Some sections allow their wrestlers to keep their singlets only if they pay for them. If money is the issue, perhaps this is a solution. Together with team warm-ups and some creative thinking, you might even be able to turn it into a money-maker! This could work not only for wrestling, but also for other individual sports that might benefit from color-coded uniforms.
We urge you to reconsider your decision. Please bring sectional singlets back to the New York State wrestling tournament.
If the individual sections will not provide them as they have in the past (which they could do for free if they charged the wrestlers for them), then I ask that you allow the parents and/or wrestling clubs/fans to purchase them in order to uphold the tradition of representing the section proudly.
This is something many of these wrestlers have worked towards for many, many years. Please, do not take it away. You can't afford to put a price on tradition and pride. If the budget doesn't allow for it, please allow it to be funded privately, through fundraisers or donations.