I was looking for something in a drawer a week or two ago and came upon my FFA ring from high school. This is a vintage
This is a vintage 1966 ring, ordered my freshman year, as I recall, along with my FFA jacket.
It’s a simple affair, with the FFA owl-on-a-plow inside an ear of corn.
I hadn’t seen it in quite some time and was surprised to see that it was in bad shape, as if something heavy had squashed it, splitting and flattening the bottom.
FFA and baseball were my two activities in high school and I appreciate them more the older I get.
I showed hogs and was on a couple of FFA judging teams, including entomology.
As a result, I can still identify a large number of insects and tell you their scientific order. Blister beetles, for example, are meloidae,which could come under the heading of useless information except for its value during long airline flights.
I showed Durocs and was successful, but the lasting value of the experience wasn’t in the trophies - it was getting up at 6 a.m. to feed the hogs in the sleet and coming home after ball practice to exercise them before supper.
The commitment you learn from that comes in handy when you start a career or have a family.
There were alot of lessons like that from baseball, too.
Our coach used to have us bunt more than any team around. If you couldn’t bunt for Coach Johnson, you probably weren’t going to play much.
At the time, I thought he did it because it’s good baseball strategy. As time passed, I began to realize he also wanted us to get some practice at putting the good of the team ahead of our own interests.
It might be tempting to swing for the fence and go for some glory, but sometimes it was more important to forget about that and drop a bunt to move the baserunner to second.
I have my FFA ring and somewhere I have the baseball patches that came off my letterjacket. I think I’ll get them all cleaned up and fixed and use them to honor and celebrate the lessons I learned back then.