Who would have thought a vinyl decal would have caused so much drama in Del Rio?
On June 2, the News-Herald published a story regarding changes that new Del Rio Rams head football coach Roderick Taylor was bringing to the program. That included the return of spring football, team building exercises, increased public service and changes in the football program at Del Rio Middle School.
At the end of the story, Taylor explained that another big change would be a redesigned helmet for the varsity football team. Taylor explained that there were several different ideas discussed in the look of the new helmet, but in the end the decision was made to incorporate four new facets into the traditional head gear.
The story explained the change as such: “The new helmets will feature the player’s number on one side, the San Felipe Del Rio CISD logo on the other side, and a backbone, complete with a small Rams skull near the facemask, with the letters R-S-V-P, which stands for Relentless-Selfless-Valiant-Precision, inlaid in the backbone. Those four core values are what the program is based around, according to Taylor.”
When asked about the change, Taylor said, “Everyone was talking about needing change. We needed a radical change to get the program back to where we needed it to be. We needed a new look.”
The decision to change the helmets wasn’t met by much backlash at the time, at least not on the beast that is social media. The story was posted on the News-Herald’s website, and the photos of the helmet, from all four sides, were included. The number of comments the story received? Zero.
Fast forward to Tuesday of this week and I received a message from former Del Rio Rams quarterback/defensive back Greg Williams, Del Rio High School Class of 1999.
It read: “Please can we start a petition to stop this madness and bring the horns back. I’m not sure if this Taylor fella is from Del Rio but he needs to look for a different approach if he wants ‘change’... make the helmets white with blue horns, chrome with blue horns but this, belongs on a school building not a football helmet.”
Williams explained that as an alumnus of the program he felt that change was going against the tradition of the Rams and the horns that represent the team’s name. He said he had spoken to other alumni and they had expressed the same sentiment.
I suggested to Williams that if he was truly passionate about enacting change then he should approach the school board and see what, if anything, could be done about his concerns regarding the helmet. He said he would be unable to do so because of where he was currently living, but asked if I could shine a spotlight on this situation.
Before I continue, I will say, for the record, that I do prefer the traditional horns. I will add that I know the decision to make changes to the helmet lay with the head coach and athletic director usually.
Then social media got involved.
Many of the comments were simple – the new look wasn’t popular and the horns were a tradition that shouldn’t have been messed with. However, other folks made it personal and used words that aren’t fit to print here. Some folks used it as an indictment of the state of the district in general while others felt that this should have been a community decision.
What happened to supporting the kids who suit up and play for the name on the front of the jersey, which says “Rams” on the home jerseys but “Del Rio” on the away jerseys? What happened to supporting the coach or giving the coach a chance?
Oh, and for all you “traditionalists,” out there, guess how long the segmented horns design was in existence before it was changed this year? Nine years.
Not even a decade. And those segmented horns replaced a helmet that was gray with the letters “DR” on the side.
I’m proud of our program, no matter what they wear, and I hope you all will be there on Friday nights, and the occasional Thursday and Saturday, to support them because win or lose, they’re representing Del Rio … even those folks that hate their helmets.