Football tattoo has deep meaning
The rwich Football Team's Shield tattoo represents a brotherhood of football players that goes back over 100 years according to players past and present.
For more than 30 years the Norwich Football Team has had a tradition of upperclassmen receiving the Norwich shield to be tattooed onto their body. But there is a process you have to go through in order to receive this honor. You have to be at least a sophomore and also you need to be voted in by other players on the team who has the shield.
Former player Brian Hermanson, 24, from Gilford,Vt. said once you get the shield it is a part of you forever. "Once you get the shield you are a part of Norwich Football forever. A lot of effort goes into being able to get the shield, so once you get it, it is real important to you." said Hermanson.
Another rule about the shield is you can only get it tattooed on the right side of your body. It is a rule noone really knows the reason too, but everyone abides by it. When you go to receive the tattoo you have to have a teammate who already has the shield to come with you. That is what makes receiving the shield even more speical.
The unique thing about the shield is how it bonds together different generations of Norwich Football players. Freshmen coming in see the shield and they do not what it is all about until the upperclassmen teach them. But not only that it connects current players with alumni who also have received the honor to wear the shield.
Danny Triplett, 20, a criminal justice major from Haverhill, M.A., said that he did not know what to think when he first saw the shield. "As a freshmen I didn't know what to think of it at first. I knew it had to have a lot of meaning for most of the older guys to have it, but I didn't fully understand it until I started playing with them. Once that happened I found out first hand that it had a bigger meaning than any ordinary tattoo." said Triplett.
The shield is something that you learn to become when you play football at Norwich. The players have to touch it twice before leaving and entering the locker room. The shield is a symbol of the dedication that the players put into this program. And according to former and current players it allows alumni to have a common bond with current players that they do not even know.
Patrick Sikora, 21, a criminal justice major from Montpelier, Vt. explained that alumni that return with the shield are looked upon as brothers that simply never met. "I feel like I am brothers with them; that we would be able to go to the bar and have a drink and be able to talk about Norwich Football like we have known each other forever."
Not a lot of schools are lucky enough to have a team tattoo and that is what makes the shield so special. The shield can also be looked at for a source of motivation during offseason workouts. Players know that they not only get the shield for themselves, but for all the players that have come and gone in the past and received the shield. The current players want to make the alumni proud to come back and watch games.
"Getting the shield means you are entering a brotherhood. Only Norwich Football players have that on their body and you have to earn it. If you put the necessary time into being a Norwich Football player and being apart of the program, than you will really appreciate having the shield." said Hermanson.
The shield also offers motivation to the players that have yet to receive it. The freshmen who come in do not know about the shield. But over time they come to realize what it means and it makes them hungry to receive it. That puts even more emphasis that you need to be dedicated and work hard in order to receive the honor of receiving the shield.
"Getting the shield reminds you of all the early morning practices, offseason lifts, and all of your teammates that you did that with. Even if you don't like the school, you love your football friends forever. It definitley grows on you." said Daniel Reale, 22, a criminal justice major from Burlington, M.A.
The shield is something that creates a lifelong lasting memory when you graduate Norwich and the players know that. You need to have a fellow shield member with you when you receive it, which means you will always remember getting it with your teammate. The shield is a privilege and honor to have, not a right, which is what makes Norwich University football so special according to Triplett.
"It is a sign of honor and over a 100 years of football tradition. If I get voted for it, it would be the highest sign of respect in my eyes, it represents all the hard work, the blood, sweat, and tears that go into this program. It is the reason why we play for each other." said Triplett.
With the 2010 season over it means there will be new members of Norwich Football team receiving the shield in the following months, and it will just continue for the years to come.
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