Solving the mascot crisis 

Ranger Rich

Thanks to the Mensa club members we call politicians, our Rocky Mountain world is just about perfect. Everyone in the state has a good job. The roads are in great shape. Our schools couldn't be better. Taxes are ridiculously low. And, by God, they're just about giving away electricity, water and natural gas. My utilities bill last month was 47 cents.

With all that taken care of, one of our bright bulbs in Denver has turned her attention to the last remaining really big problem in Colorado — high school sports mascots.

Specifically, American Indian mascots.

Because if there's one thing we don't need, it's having our kids admire and respect the proud, brave legacy of the first Americans. I mean, who needs Sitting Bull and Geronimo when we have Mark McGwire and Tiger Woods?

(In this story we won't dwell on the feedlot, cattle-urine, brain-dead town of Lamar, which in Spanish means "the mistake" and stubbornly clings to its highly offensive school mascot name: Savages.)

Anyway, state Sen. Suzanne Williams, D-MustHaveBeenDroppedOnHerHead, has introduced a bill that would require all high schools in Colorado with any type of Indian mascot — such as our village's Cheyenne Mountain Indians — to either drop the mascot or obtain approval from an Indian affairs group.

If the high school refused, it would be fined $1,000 a month. No problem there because, thanks to Sen. Williams and her Capitol pals, our schools are bursting with extra money. On Monday, for example, a school in Grand Junction purchased from neighboring Utah a used sociology textbook — with the chapter on monogamy torn out.

While the proposed bill targets all schools with Indian mascots, its author said — and I am not kidding about this — that she's particularly irked by Indian mascots "with a funny nose or something." That statement brought an immediate protest from clowns, who threatened to kick Sen. Williams in the rear end with their gigantic shoes or stand at a window and stare silently into her living-room window some night. (Sorry. I just gave myself the creeps.)

I believe the proposed bill should go even further and force every school to get mascot approval. Take the town of Wiley. Its school mascot is a panther. And if our government cannot force the school to become the home of the Wiley Coyote, well, why even have a government?

And how about those Windsor Wizards? Sure, it seems harmless enough. Unless your kid was the unstoppable center on the opposing basketball team two weeks ago who was suddenly turned into a duck. And the Peetz Bulldogs should be renamed the Sake.

Rocky Ford, famous for its melons, would get to keep its Meloneers nickname. Same with the South Park Burros and the Roosevelt Roughriders, because I like them. But the Thomas Jefferson Spartans? Huh? How about the Thomas Jefferson Illegitimate Children? Now there's a mascot.

I'd also dump the Tigers from Erie and make them the Erie Noises, even if the spelling isn't right. We'd keep a lot of the existing mascot names, and when the Fort Collins Lambkins (tiny helpless lambs), play the Grandview Wolves, well, I'll be there. Just in case.

The Hi-Plains Patriots would become the Drifters. But we'd leave things alone at the Colorado Rocky Mountain School in the town of Carbondale, where the boys teams — no kidding — are called the Oysters and the girls teams are the Pearls. (As I understand it, when the school needs another female athlete, coaches simply put a piece of sand or grit inside a boy and wait.)

The Clear Creek Golddiggers would get the $1,000-a-month fine because, of course, it's an insult to lawyers.

And if I was covering high school sports, I'd start every game story between the actual Denver East Angels and the Eagle Valley Devils with this sentence: "In another high-spirited and monumental struggle for the ages ..."

But mostly, if I were the government, I'd ban the existing mascot names in Lyons (the Lions) and Falcon (the Falcons). Because if you let that kind of thing go, pretty soon everyone thinks they're funny, and the Arapahoe High School girls teams are the Arapa Hoes. And nobody wants that.


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