The Long Beach Poly football team earned their CIF-SS championship rings last week in an emotional ceremony followed by a family potluck. The Jackrabbits’ rings were paid for in part through a $15,000 donation from Carnival Cruise Line, presented during a visit by Chargers QB Justin Herbert to campus earlier this school year.
All ring presentations are filled with memories and gravity, but Poly’s ceremony was made even more special due to the presence of the family of Keith “Slice” Thompson, Poly’s longtime assistant coach, who passed away in 2020. The team dedicated their season to Coach Slice, and ended every practice and game chanting “Slice on three, 1-2-3-Slice!”
“It was very special for us that they traveled to be here with us, we wouldn’t have wanted to do this without them,” Barbee said.
The team gathered around Slice’s family for one last song, then opened the boxes containing their rings and celebrated. The rings were large and detailed with each player or coach’s name on one side and “Slice” and “Family” on the other. The inside of the ring features the phrase “We are Poly, it takes us all”, a frequent team motto over the past few decades.
After the materials were distributed, players and families were treated to a potluck including food from all the diverse cultures that make up the Poly football program.
Ring photos courtesy of Jan Kim Lim