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It's back to school time, and high schools all over the country are in session or soon will be. As I remember it, high school was a time of self discovery...that impressionable season of finding out who I really was. According to the schools I attended, my greatest, most cherished identity came in the form of a hyperactive, costumed student terrorizing sporting events, doing cartwheels underneath an extremely disproportionate foam head.
The high school mascot is a funny thing. I was one of the lucky ones. From freshman to senior year, I attended three different Texas high schools: Rider High in Wichita Falls, H.M. King High in Kingsville, and Del Rio High in Del Rio. At those high schools, I was expected to identify myself as a Raider, a Brahma Bull, and a Ram, respectively. It could have been much worse. A great deal of research has led me to the conclusion that when it comes to choosing mascots, some schools are completely out of their disproportionate foam heads.
Native Utahns knew I would start with Jordan High School, right here in our neck of the woods. They're home to the famous fighting Beetdiggers. Yikes. I'm scared! They might...I don't know...harvest my crops or something! Equally intimidating are the Robstown Cottonpickers in Robstown, TX and the Mellen Wisconsin Granite Diggers. But hold on...they're no match for the Cornjerkers, Appleknockers, Muleskinners, and Sheep Herders scattered throughout the U.S. These teams mean business...agribusiness!
I found a few schools throughout the country whose emphasis on academics seemed to show through in their mascots. The Annandale Atoms, the Franklin Electrons, and the Edison Inventors must represent schools with great science programs. History buffs would love mascots like the Plymouth Pilgrims, the Columbus Discoverers, and the Normandy Invaders. My personal favorite in this category are the Delphi Oracles. It's a little obvious, but I can't seem to stop giggling every time I read it. This is followed closely by the Fighting Quakers...and if you can't catch the irony in that, I can't help you.
Some schools seem to be priming their students for the occupations they can expect after graduating. I wouldn't mind sending my children to become one of the Jane Adams Executives, the John Marshall Lawyers, or the Harlowtown Engineers. I have to wonder what parents are thinking when they allow their kids to become one of the Cardoza Clerks, Newell Irrigators, or the Garfield G-Men. If I had my pick, my kids would be Williamsport Millionaires.
Some mascots are just randomly nutty. I was quite surprised to see that Illinois has TWO high schools who choose pretzels as their mascots, as does a school in Pennsylvania. Some school mascots left me drawing a complete blank. I'm still researching to find out what a Hodag is. Ditto on Orabs, Dux, Zizzers, Nimrods, and Larries. Someday, I'll also know how anyone would ever be afraid to play the Kewpies, Orphan Annies, Alices, or the Berries.
If I ever have a high school named after me, I hope I get the right to choose the mascot. I can't think of a task more appealing than determining the second half of the pep rally chant, "Gooooooooo _______!!!!!" Rest assured, my mascot would be powerful, relevant, and extremely cool.
I had decided on the Wilson High School Chesty Lions, but Lawrence Memorial High in Kansas beat me to the punch.
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