It’s “W” Trophy Week.

Warsaw and Wawasee will meet Friday on the football field, and the winner gets (or retains) the “W” Trophy.

Just to look at it, it’s not an impressive object. It has a wood foundation, with two blocks of wood on top of it—one much larger than the other.

The big block has a description of the trophy on one side and scores from recent “W” games on the other sides.

The smaller one sits on top of the bigger one, and on the smaller block is a golden cup with a football player at its pinnacle.

On its four sides are block W’s, which serve to guard and protect the memories of this game and so that no one wonders what this object represents.

Frankly, it’s a very simple trophy. But that’s what makes it special. It’s blessed by its simplicity.

It’s aged. It was stained when it was made, but not since. It looks old. It looks a little rugged.

It looks gorgeous.

Its beauty oozes out of the wrinkled texture of its wood frame, because its true beauty comes from its heart.

It has hundreds of stories to tell—stories of the games it has seen and the people who have held it…yet it never speaks a word.

The stories live on in people who have lived this rivalry—a rivalry built on the athletic conflict between a coalition of smaller towns and their county seat, between a big school and a smaller one, between adults who sit next to each other at work eight hours each day but will sit on opposite sides of Warrior Field for three hours Friday Night.

The stories live on in people like me, who are tasked with sharing the glory and tradition of this annual game and passing it in every way possible to future generations.

That burden is one I gladly bear.

So please, allow me the rest of my space to share with you where this all started. Who is responsible for the spectacle that will unfold before us once again Friday.

Let me share with you the origins of the “W” trophy.

The Wawasee Community School Corporation formed in 1968 when Syracuse, North Webster, Milford and the lake communities in between banded together to become “one”. Their name comes from Chief Wawasee, a leader of the Miami tribe who was given tracts of land in the area we know as Syracuse.

Warsaw and Wawasee played football against each other for the first time in 1969 and have met every year since.

But in 1986, what was a good, growing, inter-county rivalry became something much bigger.

That year, Robert and Patricia Reiff, devout patrons of Wawasee Schools and the Warriors’ athletic programs, were dealing with the reality that their two sons and three grandsons would all be graduated from high school soon, leaving a void in their family that needed filling.

And so, they filled it by donating a traveling trophy that would go to the winner of the Warsaw/Wawasee football game every year.

That simple block of wood with the block Ws on each side and the cup of gold at its peak is the “W Trophy”, and Friday will be the 37th time the two schools have scrapped for possession of it.

When the game ends Friday, the senior members of the winning side will come to the middle of the field to be presented with the spoils of the victory. Those seniors will collectively get their picture taken with it, then each will hold it on their own for friends and family to capture the history and joy of the moment.

Things change in sports, like in life. We chronical many of those things here is this space.

But the euphoria that comes with winning that game and holding that trophy has not changed, and it might never change.

That simple block of wood is so incredibly special.

Even for a broadcaster like me, the “W Trophy” is so important that in all of the years that I have been calling Warsaw football games on the radio, I have never touched that trophy.


To hold that trophy above your head, to kiss it, to embrace it, you must have earned it. That is reserved for the players, coaches and support staff of the teams. They work for it. They sweat for it. They dedicate themselves to it.

I do not deserve to touch it. I would not desecrate it by putting one finger on it.

This game means that much to me.

That trophy means that much to me.

May it always mean that much to Warsaw and Wawasee, too.