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Maniacal Mascots

Western-Kentucky-Big-Red“Who’s Your Daddy?”

When Kevin and I drive anywhere, we often have little games that we play to amuse ourselves. One of our favorite games is “guess the mascot”, where we try to guess the town’s high school mascot before we see it on the water tower or signage. First, just let me say that I give mad props to the Paducah Dragons, Kress Kangaroos, the Hutto Hippos and the Lewisville Fighting Farmers. I love it when an entire village agrees to take the road less traveled!

Normally, the way we play is to first pick from a list of mascots that have the same first letter as the town. For example, as we go through a town such as Wall, we would probably pick something like the wildcats. If one of us has picked that and the other still needs one, or if we cannot seem to picture any mascot that begins with the same letter as the town, then we hedge our bets with the usual common mascots. By the way, you cannot imagine how many schools have bulldogs, tigers, eagles, mustangs and wildcats, just to name a few of the ones we run across over and over again. In fact, sometimes towns with the same mascot will only be a few miles apart from one another. It reminds me of the town names given to settlements along the railroads. It seems as though the guys on the railroads just picked the same town names over and over again from state to state, which is why you see so many repeat towns like Miami, Jackson or Jacksonville, Chester, and Madison. Did you know that there are 41 Springfield’s in the U.S.? Anyway, this lack of originality sadly bleeds over into the mascot world. There are so many lions and cougars in captivity!

We celebrate jubilantly when we guess correctly, but we also have a full-on high-five frenzy when we run across a name that is out of the ordinary, even though we are not quite certain why someone would choose that nickname. Kevin’s school in Oklahoma was the Paoli Pugs. Technically, that pug isn’t so far from a bulldog, but by golly, it is not one used by every other little town, so I have to credit them with some originality. Henryetta, Oklahoma, where Troy Aikman led the football team when he was in high school, used to be the Hens. I would think that this mascot could cause some problems if you are a macho dude, and using the male version of chicken could potentially cause the high school kids to make inappropriate jokes. Come on, we all snickered when we played the Trojans (we knew brand names much better than we knew our world history). I can also imagine that every opponent would have big posters daring the Hens to “lay an egg”. They have since changed to be the Knights, and I can see why. We have known a few schools that were the steers. As a farm girl, I cannot imagine that a boy or girl would want to be cheered on as a steer.

Sometimes the choices are just a bit strange: Amarillo High School is the Sandies. They are officially the Golden Sand Storms, and if you have ever been through a sand storm in West Texas, then you can see why it was chosen. Sand storms are frequent and ferocious. Then down the road from there, you have the Hereford Whitefaces. I know cattle pretty well, and I still find that to be a bit bizarre. But the whiteface is by far better than the Brazosport Exporters. Yes, the exporters. I am not sure how you purchase the costume for that one. What do they export and why is it scary? Perhaps it is a euphemism for drug trafficking, which would be very scary indeed! Even though I might not choose exporters, I do think that schools should start thinking outside the box more. Let’s go with some truly frightening mascots. If New Braunfels can be the unicorns, then mythical creatures could be fun. I vote for Pilot Point Poltergeists and Victoria Vampires. They have wolves already, so why not go with werewolves? (Honestly, vampires and werewolves were much more frightening before the Twilight craze).

I can also go with diseases. I know I would think twice when going up against the Elgin Ebola or the Snyder Shigalosis. I would be defeated before I even got to the game! Again, the costumes might be a little tough. I once thought of using schizophrenics as a mascot because high school kids are often being yelled at by coaches, teammates, parents and fans, so they naturally have a hard time deciding which of the voices to heed, plus with kids, you never know on a given day which form of your team will show up to play. I decided, though, that those suffering from mental illness would not appreciate my choice, so I dropped it from my repertoire in order to be more politically correct. I had also considered sexually transmitted diseases because if there is anything we want high school students to fear, it is STD’s, and using them should by all intents and purposes raise awareness. Who would not fear the Grand Prairie Gonorrhea? How about the St. Joe fighting Syphilli? Again, I did decide to show a bit more common sense and avoid those as well (take that however you wish).

Colleges and universities are at a whole new level in bizarre mascots. Talk about the elephant in the room, the Alabama Crimson Tide is a strange mascot, and perhaps not so intimidating unless you take that from a female perspective, then it can be a fierce and terrifying mascot when associated with lady only happenings. I am pretty sure that wasn’t the intent behind that mascot, but it is the only way it makes sense to me. Suffice it to say, no one will be asking me to choose their mascot anytime soon. PMS…hhhmmm, how about the Perryton PMS? You are right, it probably would not once again be politically correct or well, appropriate. I believe that my coupe de gras for names would have to be Electra. As a counselor, how could I not pick the Electra Complexes? Can you see their slogan? “Complexes want to know, who’s your daddy?”

3 thoughts on “Maniacal Mascots

  1. Thank you Robin. A very timely piece especially for us rural folks. The roads can get long and good entertainment lies but a name away with your games.

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