Grand Island Islanders
OK, before I start talking about how I don’t like the new GI logo, I want to start with what I like.
Islanders. Nickname-wise, it doesn’t get any better. Perfect with the city name. Individual. In Nebraska you can be talking about no other school. The palm tree on the gym floor is one of the best designs in Nebraska. And, it allowed my favorite tradition from my high school days long ago in Hastings, Islander Day. A great excuse in the middle of the long, cold Great Plains winter, to break out the shorts and Hawaiian shirts, sunglasses and sandals.
Alright, back to helmets. I don’t understand the reason that Grand Island would switch from their old vertical interlocking GI to the off-set GI. Here they are side-by-side.
Ignore the differences in the purples (those are unintentional). Why would they make that change? There must be a reason. Often when a slight change like this happens it is copyright issues: a school has borrowed a college or pro insignia and they want to be on stronger legal ground. But, this is the opposite. The new logo is a hybrid of Georgia Tech’s GT logo. As far as I know, the original GI was just that, original. Anyone know the story about the switch?
My favorite GI helmet design goes even further back, though I’d bet it is the Islanders’ only real design before the two above. It is the two-purple-stripe design of the Ken Fisher era GI teams, including the 1978 state champs.
My list of top Grand Island athletes:
1. Bobby Reynolds, 1949. Mr. Touchdown led the Islanders on a long basketball win streak as well. It ended in a district final played in front of 3,000 in a hanger at the GI airport (the Islanders were still playing home games at the tiny Liederkrantz Ball Room then) in a loss to Chuck Stickles and Hastings. GI still qualified for state (all district finalists did) and won its second straight state title.
2. Jeff Finn, 1977. Great Husker tight end and fabulous high school basketball player.
3. John Sanders, 196?. Also long-time NU baseball coach.
4. Tom Rathman, 1981. NU and 49er fullback.
5. Chris Murrell, 1988?. One of the best high jumpers in state history.
6. Harry Grimminger 1980?. Great Husker lineman is now a GI principal, I believe.
For old time’s sake, here’s a mid-eighties look at Islander Day in the Hastings High halls.