The Redskins

I had a 3-minute whirlwind tonight — getting home from Naperville at 7:05, furiously changing clothes, inhaling a snack bar and running down the stairs to catch a cab to my volleyball came at 7:08.

But I did stop to pick up my mail, and it was Hometown Paper Day. Yea!

As usual, many of the articles were about the school — sports teams, in particular. And I was reminded of the controversy of the dear old mascot of my high school: the Redskin.

Granted, if you think about the term’s literal meaning, it’s probably not that nice. But we always loved the symbol and stood behind it. And after a good 10 years of flack, the school has stood behind it, too.

(As an aside, I’ll admit it does seem a little weird to talk about the “Young Lady Skins” when referring to the junior high basketball team. I guess it’s not as weird as the “Lady Popes” where Jenn went to school.)

This same controversy came to an end last night at the University of Illinois, when Chief Illini danced his final dance. The Tribune offered up a few alternative mascots to take the Chief’s place, and surprisingly, one of them reminded me of a mascot once under consideration at LRHS:

The Caterpillar: Makes the earth move (and passes out brochures for Peoria tourism).

Sometime back in the ’80s, when they consolidated a bunch of little schools, LRHS became LRWGHS, and to alleviate bad feelings, the school considered changing the mascot.

At that time, there was a legendary music teacher who had been around forever. (I think my dad had him, too.) He was large, unhealthy, and arguably miscast in his profession. But it was a right of passage to be in his unruly music class and have a music stand hurled in your direction as a pacifier. (Fortuately he really liked me. But I suppose he had no choice, as without me, there wouldn’t have been an accompanist.)

At any rate, he was always front and center directing the pep band at ballgames, so it was natural that he would be cast as the mascot. If I remember correctly, the proposal was to pseudo-anagram LRWG into WIGL and have him dress as a worm.

This would have frightened the opposition into being paralyzed, so it’s probably unfortnate that it didn’t happen.

Someday LRHS might have to choose a new mascot. Maybe they could borrow from the Tribune’s list for the Illini replacement:

Horseshoe: The cholesterol-filled sandwich.

The Fighting Soybean: Extra advantage: No one knows what a soybean looks like so the costume could be just about anything.

How about a feisty, ready-to-fight Irishman who . . . never mind. Whitetail: The timid deer who runs away from sounds of disapproval.

The Obama: Fires up crowds, surely victorious (according to the hype).

Ethan the Ethanol vat: Gobbles up opponents — and federal subsidies.

Honest Abe: Delivers a halftime address: “The world will little note nor long remember what we do here, but we’re gonna kick your butts anyway.”

The Bag Man: Collects “attendance fees” (and nobody gets hurt).

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