This uniform could become reality. Sort of.
Today, voters all across New York State are voting on school budgets and school board members. Here in Elmira, things are no different. Regardless of whether the budget here passes or not, the Elmira City School District's board of education has already voted on and approved a measure to combine sports programs. Currently there are two high schools in Elmira -- Elmira Free Academy (Blue Devils) and Southside High School (Green Hornets) -- and each school fields teams in many sports. That all will change this fall.
In a clear attempt to save money, the school board thought it more feasible for the district to financially support a combined district-wide sports program, instead of separate teams for the two high schools. Whether this will indeed save money remains to be seen, but what is certain is that the new merged teams will highlight the all-stars from each of the schools, while some of the lower talent at each of the schools will find themselves left off the roster.
What does this have to do with Ernie Davis? Well, for starters, it initially brought to mind for me the mini-uproar, locally at least, when the film The Express featured Ernie Davis wearing a jersey for "Elmira High School" during the recruitment scenes. While the dialog clearly made reference to Ernie playing for Elmira Free Academy, evidently the wardrobe department never got that memo when costuming that scene. But on a more practical and relevant level, the connection to Ernie is this: "The Elmira Express" is one of the potential new names for the combined Elmira teams.
The Elmira School District has set up a website for the public to vote on a choice of potential nicknames for the new team, or submit their own suggestion. "The Express" is currently competing against such names as Cougars, Titans, Eagles, and Falcons. Additionally, the public can voice their opinion on the team's primary color: red, orange, black, blue, green, or teal. Yep, that's right. This fall, Elmira could field a football team decked out in orange jerseys named The Elmira Express.
Then again, we could see teal Cougars. This could end badly.
I have faith in the citizens of Elmira to make the right decision here. Still, it might not hurt for the loyal readers of Orange::44 to go check out the voting page. Now, I'm not telling you how to vote, but...
Update: The field has been narrowed to Express and Titans, while the color schemes have been narrowed to black/white/red or black/white/teal. Orange is out of the running. It was a short dream, but a dream nonetheless. Students and Elmira residents have the opportunity to vote on their final selections starting May 20. While the vote is non-binding, a committee of students, parents, teachers and coaches will consider the tally in making their final decision.