I’ve been tough on Poynette in the past, particularly last spring, when a handful of dweebs up there decided to stop fluoridating the water because an item on the internet said it was bad. Well, the fluoride is back in the water, and that nasty “Indians” nickname is gone from Poynette High.
I speak with forked tongue.
The nickname “Indians” never bothered me a bit; to me, it spoke to the great pride, prowess, and traditions of the indigenous people who owned Wisconsin long before the white man came. But, as a graduate of Hortonville High, where the mascot is the Polar Bear, I am in no position to criticize anybody about their choice of mascot or nickname. “Poley The Polar Bear” just doesn’t strike fear into the heart of the opposing team.
Pumas are sleek, fast, powerful cats, sometimes called cougars, panthers or mountain lions, cousins to the jaguar; and a fine choice for a team mascot and nickname. “Poynette Pumas” has a nice, alliterative ring to it. I wish them great success. Puma Pride, and all that.
Universities and colleges often have deliberately unusual mascots and nicknames. We all know about Cal State Santa Cruz, where Sammy The Banana Slug is the mascot. Texas Christian has Super Frog, the Horned Frog. Scottsdale Community College has Artie, the Fighting Artichoke. Delta State in Mississippi are the Fighting Okra, and North Carolina School of the Arts is home to the Fighting Pickles.
I’m not making any of this up.
The level-headed folks in Poynette have it all over the West Plains, Missouri “Zizzers”. I’d never heard of a zizzer until I started researching this rant; but their website proclaims that a zizzer is an expert in any activity. New Berlin, Illinois, just west of Springfield, is the home of the Pretzels. Itasca, Texas, along with four other high schools in the US, has the “Wampus Cat” as a mascot and nickname. This fierce beast is a six-legged critter, four for running, and two for fighting.
Ojai Valley High School in California is the home of the Spuds. It’s a small, private school and they play 8-man football. They lost their last two football games (against Pinewood and Thatcher) by identical 46-0 scores. Not too terrifying, those Spuds.
A Catholic Girls high school in St. Hubert Pennsylvania has chosen to be the Bambies. And there’s the Sidney Lanier High School Poets in Montgomery, Alabama. While the Bambies and Poets probably don’t strike fear into the hearts of their opponents, consider John Marshall High School in Cleveland, Ohio - home of the Lawyers. Imagine a squad of lawyers, suing you left and right.
Poynette could have done a lot worse than deciding they’re going to be the Pumas. It may not be unique, but then who’d want to be the Unicorns? Nobody - except the folks in New Braunfels, Texas.