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Thursday, May 5, 2016

What is in a School Nickname? Bullettes?

Monday, April 9, 2012

The University of Iowa won't allow North Dakota U's track team to participate in a meet because of their Fighting Sioux mascot. U of I policy doesn't allow their teams to compete against schools using Native American mascots without approval by the NCAA.

A new school in Utah's Canyon's District is to open in 2013 and the student's vote for a mascot was "Cougar." The school board overruled that name because it would be insensitive to women. "Chargers" will be the name, said Principal Mary Bailey, who claims Cougar carries an ugly connotation that is disrespectful to women. Twelve Indiana high schools use a Cougar as their mascot, but only three in Iowa do.

Teams from 79 Iowa high schools are called Braves, Chiefs, Indians (37), Redskins, or Warriors (35). South Dakota has 36, and Nebraska 45 of those names that some find offensive. Including Le Mars, eighteen Iowa schools have a Bulldog mascot, but there is only one Jay. The late basketball star Mike Dull is credited for the name "Jays," in recognition of St Joseph and St James churches when St. Josephs (the Purple and Gold Hawks) school became Gehlen. Remsen St.Mary's teams are still Hawks. Only one of Iowa's four "Saints" schools is church related.

Ohio State basketball coach Thad Matta is a Hoopeston, Illinois, Cornjerker alum. The Arkansas School for the Deaf is Leopards -- Deaf Leopards.

Oscar Mayer loves the Frankfort, IN, Hot Dogs and the Dorothy's of the world have the Poca, WV, Dots. The Astoria, OR, Fighting Fishermen would likely wipe the court with the Awesome Blossom's from Blooming Prairie, MN. The only two Iowa high schools without a mascot are the Mennonite School in Kalona, and the Morning Star Academy in Bettendorf.

Not to be confused with the Coachella Valley Arabs in Thermal, CA, are our own Sheldon Orabs (their colors are orange and black, indicating a good imagination, or lack of one.)

In Orofino High in Idaho there are the Maniacs, and John Marshall, Ohio, has Lawyers. Then there are the Watersmeet, Michigan, Nimrods, and in Montana it is the Chinook Sugar Beeters.

The perennially powerful gridders of Lakeland, Florida Dreadnaughts went 13-1 last year and have been national champions twice in the last decade, living up to the name. I hesitate to think what they would do to the Lincoln, IN, Alice's.

The Society of Bulldog Supporters (SOBs) may arise someday, causing Le Mars Community to consider the nickname used by Mars High in PA. They are the Fightin' Planets. Although they were only 6-4, we wouldn't have wanted to play them last year, for they were rated the 3,909th best team in the country -- the rebuilding Bulldogs came in at 12,173rd. The Gehlen Catholic Jays were way ahead, with only 5,985 football teams rated above them.

The Eagle is apparently the most popular mascot (1,385 schools) in the country, followed by Tigers, Panthers, Bulldogs and Wildcats. The beleaguered nickname Indians is 10th. At Union Consolidated we were Tigers - was Remsen the Budweiser's? (Sorry, I can't remember what they were). Remsen-Union is now the Rockets. Before they merged, Westfield was called the Panthers and Akron was the Red Raiders. It was the Merrill Warriors, but I have not been able to find a mascot for Liberty Consolidated.

The Kingsley Bombers had awesome, undefeated, football teams in the 1940's and their black uniforms were intimidating.

There is usually a reason or explanation behind the name, except at Canon-McMillan, PA. They should be the Cannons, but, no, they are the Big Macs. Brashear, PA, High was originally nicknamed the Bullets but for fear of alienating anti-gun people, they are now the Bulls. A three team tournament between the Bulls, the Powell County, MT, Wardens, and Yuma Criminals from Arizona could get nasty.

The Yuma Criminals got their name because the school used to hold classes at that storied prison in the early 1900s.

Poultry farming used to be big in Vineland, NJ, so they are called the Fighting Clan. It was upgraded (maybe) from Poultry Clan in the 1990s. Williamsport High, Pa, probably should be downgraded since they only won three games last year, but they are still called the Millionaires.

The "Grape Pickers" play in Erie County, PA. Do officials earn their stripes at the Wayne Zebras, Mich? A West Virginia game between the Point Pleasant Big Blacks, and Parkersburg's Big Reds would be colorful. Who wins between the Compton Tarbabes (Calif.), and Glenville Tarblooders (Ohio)? The teams at Notre Dame in Burlington, IA, are Nikes.

And finally, boy's teams at Pateros High in Washington are called Billygoat's. The girls? Nannies, of course. Hey, once it was the Le Mars Bullettes.

Don Paulin, 2carpenterdon@gmail.com, 7557 30th Av, Norwalk, IA 50211 - 515-201-7236

By Don Paulin
Been There, Done That


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