BILLINGS — They’re about the size of a quarter and more associated with Christmas stocking stuffers for children.
But for the Rocky Mountain College football team, they’re a coveted commodity awarded every Thursday.
Green and gold stickers with the Battlin’ Bears logo.
Green, according to head coach Jason Petrino, is for anything done on the football field.
Gold is the standard for academic achievement.
“It tells the story of our season,” said Petrino, acknowledging of borrowing the idea from other programs. “You want to recognize players when they do something exceptional.
“At mid-terms, we gave out 150 gold stickers,” Petrino added proudly.
Ohio State has its Buckeye, the University of Georgia its black and white bones adorned to their helmets.
Rocky has its Bears.
The stickers are a few of the ways the Battlin’ Bears celebrate successes large and small. The team also has a bell it rings after good plays on the field, along with a spear the top special teams player of the week carries into the next game and a World Wrestling Entertainment-style belt given to the defensive player who makes the best play during practice.
The bell is at every game, home and away.
“You want the players to feel good about themselves,” said Petrino.
The green stickers are awarded for reaching certain goals on the field. From the Montana Tech victory, tight end Darnaeil Jenkins received seven stickers, quarterback Drew Korf six and running back Mason Melby five. Each member of the offensive line received three.
Some emblems are given when certain numerical goals are reached. Others for situations determined by the coaches that can include hustle plays.
“On kickoffs, during touchbacks, we give them to the first guy who reaches the end zone,” said Petrino. “You see guys racing to the end zone. During one touchback against Tech, we had two guys trying to get there first.
“It's like a finish in the 200 meters,” the coach added, leaning to break an imaginary tape at the finish line.
The stickers are awarded prior to every Thursday practice.
“They cheer their teammates,” Petrino said. “The players look forward to it.”
With the RMC logo on the left, the stickers are affixed to the right side of the helmet for those playing. Redshirt freshman have stickers attached to the front of the helmet.
Petrino said the stickers come in sheets of 140.
Along with academics, the gold stickers are awarded for volunteerism and good deeds in the community.
Petrino gave examples of a player driving to Bozeman to help a teammate whose truck had broken down and a group of players who helped a professor from the school move some office furniture.
“It’s just another way to reward players for success,” said Petrino. “It’s a good way to get their attention on certain things we’re trying to emphasize.”