What Does it Take to Retire a Jersey Number in High School Sports?

This year I was blessed to be a part of TownTalk Sports El Paso’s coverage of High School Football, as a part of one of the many broadcast teams bringing the city of El Paso play by play and analysis of every game possible. Ten weeks down and the end of the regular season has brought us to a new year of Texas High School Football Playoffs, where the Cities best will be on display.

Along with some of the many great schools we have in the El Paso Area, I was able to see first hand the greatness of The Cities Best Running Back Ever, Deion Hankins. Finishing the regular season with 7,077 yards, good enough for 30th All Time in Texas History, Hankins has taken the El Paso High School Football scene by storm. Shattering the city record held by former Montwood and Texas Tech standout Edward Britton, 5,524 rushing yards Hankins has solidified himself atop the Rushing Mountain of El Paso.

Hankins (#3) and the Matadors Captains pregame VS. Horizon

Hankins has been the topic of many a conversation here in the borderland, but has even garnered some statewide attention for his great play. His story has been inspiring to follow and seeing him continue to run hard toward his dream has been nothing short of awe-inspiring.

Photo By: Manny and Hilda Leyva

What makes a player’s impact worthy of retiring their number though? Chapin High School did it earlier in the 2018 season because of a tragedy, El Paso High has done the same. In baseball Socorro retired Coach Forbes and Omar Quintanilla’s numbers respectfully.

What greater honor is there to give a player who has done so much in such a little amount of time?

If shattering a city record isn’t enough, if being 30th All-Time on the Texas State Rushing Yards List isn’t enough, what is?

Professional Success?

Perhaps the days of retiring a number should be past us? I’m a Yankees fan and I can’t believe I wrote that!

Maybe the greatest honor to give both the player and the number is not only hanging it in the stadium for all to see, but making more of a legacy with it. I would suggest a Michael Jordan-esque retirement of the number 3 at Parkland High School. Give Deion and his effots their respect by framing his number and HIS jersey somehwere in the school, but help his legacy live on by placing the burden of responsibility on that number.

Parkland’s “P” was sat ablaze after a Hankins TD run

Make THAT number the standard that all your student athletes should live by. Every School should do the same as well. The Dallas Cowboys are an example of this. The only NFL team without a retired jersey, not because there are no players worthy of that honor, but because they know the legacy behind that number. The number 22, Bob Hayes Emmitt Smith, 12 & 8 Staubach and Aikmen, 88 Drew Pearson, Michael Irvin, Dez Bryant. All those numbers have meaning, all those numbers have a legacy.

Perhaps the greatest honor isn’t simply hanging the number up forever, never to be worn again, but instead letting the legacy of that player’s contributions become the standard by which every student athlete at their respective school should live by.

What are your thoughts on High School sports numbers being retired? What should a school do to honor a player?

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