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