Mascot name may be dumb, but it’s ours

  • ANGELA ATTERBURY / edge correspondent
  • Tuesday, September 5, 2000 9:00pm
  • Local News

Oh, the horror.

Students at Sultan High School have endured the nickname "Turks" the entirety of their high school experience. Now, the class of 2000 is heading off and many may be attending a college with an even dumber mascot.

But what could be dumber than Turks?

Imagine attending Evergreen State College and cheering for the Geoducks or rooting for the Loggers at the University of Puget Sound.

At least those nicknames have some cultural relevance, unlike the Anteaters of the University of California at Irvine. There are no anteaters in California — plenty of bloodsucking Hollywood agents and liability lawyers, but no anteaters.

Many schools choose a strong and fierce mascot, hoping to portray a tough image to their opponents. Consider the Kentucky Wildcats, the Michigan Wolverines and the Florida Gators.

But just how tough an image is associated with the Purdue Boilermakers, the Virginia Tech Hoakies or the Penn Quakers?

How scary is a Quaker? What’s a Hoakie? And nobody in his right mind would admit being intimidated by the Syracuse Orangemen. (There is very little to fear from citrus fruit.)

Not surprisingly, in this day and age of hypersensitivity, the political correctness of school mascots has been an issue.

Stanford changed its nickname form the Indians to the Cardinal; St. John’s basketball team was originally the Redmen; now it’s know as the Red Storm.

Fans of the University of Mississippi proudly wave the Confederate flag at football games, an act of school pride to some, an act of insensitivity to others.

So who draws the line? When does a mascot turn from a symbol of a college’s past and pride into a reason to bicker and litigate?

Perhaps there should be a mascot patrol, responsible for policing the nicknames and issuing citations to schools that make dumb choices. Like the Delaware Blue Hens.

Also in danger of being cited and perhaps serving time themselves: the Georgetown Hoyas, North Carolina Tar Heels and UC-Santa Cruz Banana Slugs.

Of course with a nickname like the Turks, everybody at Sultan High School could be serving a life sentence — but they would do it proudly, anyway.

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