Florida High head coach Charlie Ward has a new ring to add alongside his 1993 Hisman Award and 1993 National Championship. Except this one is a little different.
Trimmed in black, garnet and gold, every aspect of Florida High Boys Basketball’s 2022 State Championship ring has meaning to him. On Friday, Seminole players, coaches and fans gathered for a final celebration of the men’s basketball team state championship as the team received its state championship rings.
“Our guys worked really hard and we were able to get over the hill and win the state championship,” Ward said. “Being able to have the rings and commemorate this race brings back great memories. I was very excited when we were able to celebrate a lot of family and friends at Florida State University School.”
There are a handful of details to break down when you take a look at Florida High’s new ice cream. Black represents the color of the jerseys the Seminoles wore when they won the state title.
On the right side of the ring, the phrase “1String” is engraved on five axes. The phrase means that everyone on the team had to pull in one direction in order to achieve the common goal of winning a state title. Ward and the team realized after winning the title that the phrase also meant “1st Ring”.
The five axes represent a saying of one of their trainers: “we will kill a mosquito with an axe”. Those “mosquitoes” were Maclay (Regional Quarterfinals), Windemere Prep (Regional Semifinals), Providence (Regional Final), Tampa Catholic (State Semifinals) and Riviera Prep (State Finals) en route to the state title.
Just below the axes is the final match score, 67-66, and the 3A standings. Finally, on the left side of the ring are the names and family numbers of the players. It’s a moment that’s been on hold for a while, but one that the Florida High community is excited to celebrate.
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“We were hoping the ceremony would be a little earlier, but it happened today and we’re grateful for that,” Ward said. “This group here is helping us move forward and the guys are working really hard to come back. I’m glad we have this year to move forward.”
One of the most important points Ward wanted to make to the Florida High community was that the state championship was not just for the basketball team, but for the entire school. It was the players on the pitch who competed to win the state title, but Ward didn’t want the community support to go unnoticed.
“When it’s all said and done, I always say we’re part of something,” Ward said. “You always want to say that when you win accolades as an individual, you are part of a group. For us, we are just part of the school and we had the chance to represent our school at the state championship, and win the.”
“Everyone was involved throughout the year because they were supporting us and we were supporting them. You never know who this team will be to win, and we had this opportunity. Everyone was supporting us to get there and win.”
Jack Williams covers prep sports for the Tallahassee Democrat. Reach him by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @jackgwilliams.