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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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Mascot Mayhem

Here’s a quick tidbit that I figured I would have shared long ago. Possibly, I forgot, or never got around to it. Probably, there’s a good reason why I never shared it, and it’ll come back to bite me in the ass. I really should write these things down to remind myself.

Anyway, here’s the thing — I went to a high school (long, long ago) that had one of the worst mascots possible. It made little sense, didn’t lend itself easily to a convenient costume, and generally helped none of us whatsoever.

But here’s the other thing — of the group of schools in our area that played sports against one another, there were at least two schools with mascots goofier than ours. At least, that’s my contention. But I’ll let you decide for yourselves:

Behind door number one we have my alma mater, whose mascot was the Pony Express. That may not seem so ridiculous on the face of it, but give it a moment. Let the implications sink in a bit. Meanwhile, a bit of background information might come in handy.

“There were only so many chants the cheerleading squad could come up with involving horseback riding and package delivery and avoiding ‘Injun attacks’. And we heard them all.”

I grew up in one of those awkward areas of the country that doesn’t know quite what to call itself. It wasn’t quite far enough south to be in ‘the South’, though some people might disagree. By some standards, it might be called the ‘Mid-Atlantic’; by others, the ‘Midwest’. Most would probably agree on ‘Podunk’, and leave it at that. Regional ethnogeographers can be so cruel.

At any rate, our high school was located somewhat on the eastern side of the middle of the country. So it’s possible that the Pony Express — the real Pony Express, from back before any of us were born and Al Gore invented MySpace — traveled into, through, or at least near my town. Fair enough, I suppose.

But that was over a hundred years ago. Had nothing more notable happened in the general vicinity in all that time? Was there nothing else in the area worth naming our teams after? Or couldn’t we just be the ‘Wildcats’ or the ‘Cougars’, like every other damned school in the country seemed to be?

The answers were, apparently, no, no, and no. And so we were the ‘Pony Express’. And we endured a ridiculous mascot at our games involving a student in a full-body horse suit. Which was only marginally better than opting for a costume of a nineteenth-century glorified mailman with mutton chops and saddle sores. What I wouldn’t have given to be called the ‘Bulldogs’ or ‘Cardinals’. There were only so many chants the cheerleading squad could come up with involving horseback riding and package delivery and avoiding ‘Injun attacks’. And we heard them all.

Our second contender for crazy mixed-up mascot comes from our crosstown rivals, the Highlanders. I like to think it’s not just the competitive spirit talking, but I always believed they had things just a bit worse.

Consider this — if our school was named after a rider or two that might or might not have ever set hoof in our fair city, the other guys’ mascot must have come from a story someone read in a book in years past. We weren’t in Scotland, there was no Scottish presence to speak of in the area, and the movie that could have been an inspiration — or the crappy sequel that couldn’t possibly have been — hadn’t come out yet. And their school was in a valley — it wasn’t even on ‘high land’.

So far, I’d call our mascot messes roughly even. But you have to remember — Highlanders wear kilts. And as much respect and tradition there is for that sort of attire back in the homeland, those plaid legless numbers looked like skirts to us, several thousand miles removed. And we said so — loudly — at every game we played them. And there were no real Scots to come to their aid, so they just had to finger their bagpipes and take it. So I think they have the edge in the ‘Melee of Moronic Mascots’.

Still, there was a school nearby that had us both beat, hands down. That school was in a sleepy little backwater hamlet known as Poca. Poca. Stop me if you see this one coming.

You on board yet? I’ll wait, if you’re still thinking it over.

Okay, time’s up. Put down your pencils, please.

The name of this school’s sports teams was the Dots. The Poca Dots. I am absolutely not making this up.

This school was content — even eager, it seemed — to send its kids out onto the fields or into the gyms to be known as ‘Dots’. Our school played them occasionally in one sport or another, and as fans in the stands, we were merciless. As well we should have been. What sort of a name is ‘Dots’, anyway? And who got blitzed one night and made us the ‘Pony Express’? We were frankly just happy to see someone on a lower rung of the totem pole.

And their mascot… well, just see for yourself. It’s little exaggeration to suggest that it resembles a walking meatball. Or a backup grape for the California Raisins.

Or, most obviously, a testicle with sunglasses. You can imagine the fun we had with that. And the generations of ‘Dots’ possibly scarred for life. They might as well have named the team the ‘Poca Hantas’ and run a nine-year-old girl in a headdress out there every night. We might have laid off at least a little bit — and hell, hanta viruses are actually intimidating. But who the hell’s scared of a dot? Unless you’re a paranoid Morse code translator, or making a dermatologist visit to screen for sun cancer, ‘Dots’ don’t exactly get your panties in a tremble. That’s all I’m saying.

So, those are the three most bewildering high school mascots I know of from personal — often far too personal — experience. If you think you can top it, feel free to leave a comment. But if it’s worse than the ‘Poca Dots’, then I shudder to think about it. Hopefully, they’ve got a support group for those kids by now. Sheesh.

Permalink  |  6 Comments



6 Responses to “Mascot Mayhem”

  1. Jerry says:

    Charlie,

    I have a good friend who attended Henryetta (OK) High School when the mascot was the Fighting Hens. What came to my mind was the cheer “Choke the Chickens” and throwing cracked corn down in front of the cheerleaders. They are now called the Knights.

  2. Jerry says:

    Gosh, I nearly forgot. Just a half hour away. The Frankfort Hotdogs: http://fhs.frankfort.k12.in.us/HighSchool/mascot.htm

  3. kowgurl says:

    Taylor Texas, home of the Ducks. Motto: Once a duck, always a duck. Translation: you suck.

    Their bitter rivals are the Hutto Hippos.

  4. kerry says:

    i found that picture of the poca dots mascot truly frightening. lol! it makes me so glad my school was known as the warriors…

  5. shelley says:

    And I thought the Marblehead Magicians were somewhat lacking in the scariness factor, but I guess we were downright classy compared to the rest of you schmoes. PLUS, our guys could pull a rabbit out of a hat in a pinch.

  6. Roofie Raccoon says:

    Goddamn that’s terrible. Someone should punish these people. I wonder if the Dots have a higher percentage of pansy-ass non-aggressors than other high schools.

    Well done.

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