October 22, 2019

We Have A Problem In The Canyon

Utah blogger Deseret Dawg (Yes, I hope itʼs pseudonym, too.) reports that the board of education in the Canyons School District in Salt Lake Valley, Utah, has decided that the nickname for the new Corner Canyon High School will be the Chargers. “So what?” you may ask. Well, how the board arrived at this moniker is the story here.

You see, the boardʼs original plan was to let future students choose the mascot name. Over 4,000 students in various “feeder” schools to the high school were given ballots and asked to choose from the following list: Diamondbacks, Mountain Lions, Cougars, Broncos, Falcons, Raptors, Cavaliers, Chargers, and Bears. The students were under no obligation to participate in the balloting, and only about a fourth of them actually did. When the counting was completed, Cougars led the way with almost a hundred more votes than the runner-up, which was Diamondbacks.

Ah, but there was a problem. You see, a small number of parents complained to the board that they didnʼt want their daughters who were cheerleaders or on the drill team to be called Cougars. Why not? Because, in todayʼs parlance, a “cougar” is an older woman who seeks a sexual relationship with a younger man. So, let me see if I have this straight. The concern is that someone in the stands at a football game might see a Corner Canyon cheerleader with “Cougars” emblazoned on her outfit and automatically assume that the girl is seeking a dalliance with an grade school boy? Do I have that right?

Well, the board could not allow that to happen. So, bowing to pressure, it decided to call the team the Chargers. A spokeswoman for the board explained its unanimous decisions this way: The board said this is a brand new school and we want to unite the community. And if thereʼs something out there that could divide it, letʼs not go there.

Now the claim that the nickname of Cougars might actually divide the community seems dubious at best. But I donʼt think the board has thought this thing through. For what is a Charger, after all? Itʼs a war horse. In fact, one of the members of the board gushed, “ . . . the Charger–a war horse– is entirely appropriate.” But what does a war horse do? It helps soldiers kill people. Why, the U.S. Cavalry was often used to subdue Native American tribes, sometimes with such zeal that the term massacre was appropriately applied. In Utah today there are over 30,000 residents of Native American heritage. Talk about dividing a community. How many of those Native American residents will watch the Corner Canyon Chargers on the football field and not feel some degree of pain?

And what about the 25,000 Muslims who live in Utah? During the Crusades, European knights charged the Muslims on huge war horses that led to the deaths of thousands. Where is the school boardʼs sensitivity for this group of residents, especially in this day and age? Why, the name of Chargers is an insult to Allah himself.

Yes, the board really stepped in it this time. But I think I can offer a solution to get them off the hook. Keep the name of Chargers, but the school logo will be a 1968 Dodge Charger. I can see it now–candy-apple red, wide-oval tires, a huge hemi engine bursting out from beneath a hood that cannot contain it, yellow flames on the side panels. Oh, yeah! Now that is a logo that can get the fans fired up!

Oh, wait. Some parents might work for Ford or GM. How will they feel? Darn! I thought I had it all figured out. All this political correctness reminds of my favorite high school nickname, mascot, and logo. The athletes at Richland High School, in Richland, Washington, are known as the Bombers. Its official mascot is a nuclear bomb. The logo is a mushroom cloud. God bless those people in Richland.

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Written by
Thomas Addis

THOMAS ADDIS is a retired high school teacher and published author, most recently authoring a children's book, A Gift of Light, which is available at Amazon. An M.A. graduate of Oakland University, he is Associate Editor of Catholic Journal. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and cycling.

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