A Rose by Any Other Name

(cornjerkers)Hoopeston LogoCornjerker fans, yell it out!

By Luke Robinson

Sometime in the late 1980s/early 1990s, my Indian Springs School’s basketball team was about to play in some God-forsaken tournament at the intersection of “Wherethehellarewe” and “Icouldnttellya.” I don’t remember where we were or who we were playing, but I will never forget those damn dueling banjos.

Anyhoo, as I made my way to center court, I walked by the scorer’s table/ Grandma’s-Thanksgiving-kid’s-dining room set (it really was in the sticks, man) and noticed the scorekeeper had something odd on the stats sheet. Above our school’s column it read, “Indian Springs…Indians?” It seems said statistician was thrown for a loop that my high school had no mascot. We weren’t the Wildcats or Tigers like practically every other high school ever. We were just…nothing.

I don’t know why we had no mascot. Maybe the school wanted to make a statement by not having some fuzzy, frolicking, fun-loving representative. Maybe the powers that be just never got around to naming one. Maybe it was some tacit protest against mascot-animal cruelty or a subtle nod to existentialism. Hell if I know. I wasn’t very smart. I was only there because of some no child left behind program Indian Springs had. One student did later lead a charge to call our ISS teams “the Sharks” (i.e., the least likely mascot for any team from Birmingham), but it only briefly caught on.

So, if you will, allow that nonsensical story to be a half-assed segue to some really funny (and terrible) high school mascots from around the country. According to the interwebs, these are all real, BTW. Even the crazy, sexually explicit ones.

•The Yuma High School Criminals, Yuma, Arizona: Good Lord! Was “Dropouts” unavailable? Graduates don’t get degrees, they get pardons. Apparently this high school was formed after a fire forced the students to meet at the prison. Not surprisingly, the students did notice a lot of changes—except for the lunch food. No word if their home jerseys are bright orange, but I am told their main cheer is, “2 bits, 4 bits, 6 bits, a dollar…Now give me that dollar and everything else you have before I stab you in the neck!”

• The Lincoln Alices, Vincennes, Indiana: I assume after every missed shot, the opponent says, “Great shot, Alice…does your husband play?”

• The Washington Redskins, Washington, DC: Just kidding. I know that isn’t a high school. I mean, it’s still pretty offensive, but it’s not a high school.

• The Key West Fighting Conchs, Key West, Florida: I said “CONCHS,” people… “CONCHS.”

• The Centralia High School Orphans, Centralia, Illinois: Oh, please let their coach be a bald-headed millionaire. Even when the team sucks, I bet the halftime show is (jazz hands) A-MAZ-INGGGGG! Truthfully, this hard-knock school has a strong basketball tradition.

• The Rhode Island School of Design Nads, Providence, Rhode Island: If the Yuma Criminals were to lead the nation in steals per baseball game, I assume the RISD Nads would lead the country in “sacks” on the gridiron. I am dead serious when I say that this school has a REAL mascot and its name is “Scrotie.” It’s hilarious. Google it.

• The Mesquite High School Skeeters, Mesquite, Texas: I assume that this is supposed to be slang for “mosquitos,” but I am gonna pretend that Lil’ John is an alum.

• The Hoopeston Area Cornjerkers, Hoopeston, Illinois: The name was supposedly born when the school’s players were always late to games because they were in the fields “jerking corn.” I am thinking they got it half right.

•The Avon Old Farms Winged Beavers, Avon, Connecticut: Here’s some irony: The Winged Beavers all boys’ school was founded by Connecticut’s first licensed female architect. More importantly, if ESPN doesn’t see the potential of a four-team round-robin among the Nads, Skeeters, Cornjerkers, and Winged Beavers, I am not sure I understand sports anymore.

You know, I am beginning to understand why half of Alabama is the Wildcats or Tigers now…•

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