Saturday, December 03, 2005

Tiny Timberwolves

Welcome to branding gone wacky. Driving behind a family van in my neighborhood, I realized one of its bumper stickers identified the driver as the parent of a kid attending Terrace Elementary School, one of more than 30 elementary schools in the Spring Branch ISD system.

It’s the same elementary school that two of my children attended. But somewhere along the years, it has adopted a new mascot. Now, this elementary school’s teams are called Timberwolves – complete with a wolf’s head with fangs showing.

First-graders named Timberwolves? Like after the large gray wolves (Canis lupus) that used to be prime carnivores throughout northern North America and Eurasia? I happen to like wolves. But there’s something…aggressive…in the mascot name; it doesn’t exactly represent the kind of environment I’d want to dump young kiddos into.

Now, if Terrace Elementary School adopted its mascot to honor the US Army’s famous 104th Infantry Division, then I’m all in favor – that’s the unit patch pictured to the left. Somehow, though, I doubt it. This adoption of aggressive beasties as mascots has become epidemic in the American school system and it has descended to the elementary school level. I guess the more appropriate Timberpups never came up.

A quick local check has turned up Cougars, Lions, and Tigers; Bears, Bulldogs, and Huskies; Falcons and Eagles (both good raptors); even a Gator or two. These outnumber the Mustangs and the Dolphins – and Pandas (which at least deliver a warm, fuzzy feel) by a wide margin.

Shucks, when I went to Marist School in Atlanta, we were the Cadets, because we were a military school after all. Curiously, long after I had graduated and the school became a co-ed general education institution without a National Defense Cadet Corps program, the mascot became the War Eagle. Go figure.

Will this trend continue its bloodthirsty advance? Do we look forward to Cobras, Hyenas, Killer Whales? (These probably exist by now.) How about John F. Kennedy Elementary’s Fifth Grade soccer team becoming the “Bloody-Fanged, Prairie Dog-Rending Wildcats?”

Oh, for the days of Crickets and Chipmunks.

No comments: