The popular thread continues:
In a different twist to potentially offensive school mascots, consider the Richland High School Bombers, which have an atomic mushroom cloud as their mascot. The school is near Hanford, Washington, where the “Fat Man” atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki was manufactured. There has been substantial controversy over the mascot for some time now (e.g. here and here).
I know what the Hanford nuclear reservation means to that community and how proud they are what they did for the war effort, but … come on. Being proud of it is one thing, but celebrating and reveling in it is another.
Update from a reader:
I went to Richland High School and even graduated in 1986, the year the sign was made. I don’t think the students understood the gravity of that symbol. The symbol fit with the pro-nuclear stance of the community – the defense aspect that goes all the way back to WWII and the power generating aspect. A good friend of mine was a football coach there and worked hard to bring back the original (I think) meaning of ‘Bomber’ – a plane that was financed by the workers at Hanford. Look up “A Day’s Pay” plane. My friend was really frustrated, though, with some of the adult boosters – team fan club – that pushed the mushroom cloud aspect. (P.S. I love The Dish and am one of your early subscribers!)
The high school in Orofino, Idaho shares its town with a state mental hospital:
Another adds to this tangent:
North Dakota does indeed have a long and storied history of dealing with colorful team names and mascots. My favorite has to be the controversy surrounding the Devils Lake Satans. Yes, you read that right: The high school teams were known as the Satans, complete with a red imp mascot.
After a great hue and cry by evangelical Christians throughout the ’90s, the school board finally voted to retire the nickname and mascot in 2002 and directed the school to come up with something new. The overwhelming choice of the students was to change to The Blaze, but that got shot down when someone on the school board realized that “Blaze” was slang for smoking marijuana. The eventual compromise? The Firebirds.P.S. The best high school sports match-up in North Dakota history: 1981 semifinal basketball game between the Devils Lake Satans and the St. Mary’s Saints. Oh, you can just imagine the cheers coming from both sets of fans …
Last but certainly not least:
Maybe a little off topic: the mascot for the Arkansas School for the Deaf is the leopard, or, as they put it on their webpage, “Welcome to the Arkansas School for the Deaf Leopards.”