Since we’re in the middle of football season, I’ve been thinking about team names and team mascots, some of which are pretty unusual.

Nearest and dearest are the Stingarees, which I think is a pretty unusual name for a school team. But appropriate to the area, of course.

Another local team, the Gators from Dickinson, also speak to the territory.

Why don’t they call the Friendswood players The Friends? Why is the Pearland team called Oilers? They ought to be Pears. Think about it.

Houston’s Cougars are pretty apt, I guess, though we seldom see live ones roaming around the city any more, even near Buffalo Bayou.

Our biggest universities have Aggies, which take their name from the agricultural part of agricultural and mechanical, which we almost never hear. Their mascot is a collie dog named Reveille.

Big old University of Texas has a longhorn, which is a really good mascot for big old Texas, don’t you think?

Moving around the country, we come to the Maryland Terrapins, a name I really love. Though properly, Maryland players ought to be called Crabs, the animal the state is most famous for.

Dallas has Cowboys, which makes sense. Houston has Texans, also sensible. Oklahoma has the Sooners, named for the people who settled the state because they got there sooner. Love their song — Boomer Sooner!

Texas also has a good song, “The Eyes of Texas,” which bands all over the United States play whenever they’re honoring our state, thinking it’s our state song. Which it isn’t.

My hometown of Sherman was represented by the Bearcats. None of us knew what a bearcat was.

Our arch rivals in Denison were known as the Yellow Jackets, which I think is a most unusual name for a school team. But we didn’t think so at the time we were getting beat by them.

My alma mater, North Texas State, now University of North Texas, has the Eagles and we used to have a real eagle with a cage big enough to fly around in. But since the era of Mean Joe Greene, North Texas has been known as the Mean Green. In the winning column they’re not so mean any more.

The Cougars and the Baylor Bears no longer have a live animal on campus, I believe.

Texas Tech Red Raiders have a guy who rides a horse up and down the sidelines, so I guess that horse is their mascot.

After a lot of digging, I found out the Green Bay Packers are named after the Indian Packing Co., who donated the first uniforms to the team at its inception.

The only thing I know they have is a headpiece for fans shaped like a big wedge of cheese. Fans are known as cheese heads.

There are hundreds more names and appropriate mascots. In Robstown, the team is named The Cotton Pickers. Who knows who will turn up in next year’s winning circle?

Cathy Gillentine is a Daily News columnist. She may be reached at cathy.gillentine@comcast.net.

(6) comments

Carlos Ponce

Blocker Junior High of Texas City had the mascot "Demons" while rival Levi Fry Junior High had "Dragons". I remember the maroon and grey statue of "Lucifer" on the Blocker auditorium stage. I was told the statue still exists in private hands and was once offered to the Texas City Museum - an idea nixed by the mayor of Texas City at that time.
"Stingarees" was a mascot of Victoria High School. They named their mascot "Big Vic" - Vic for Victoria, Texas and Vic for Victory.
My elementary school in Texas City, Danforth, had "Bulldogs", the same as the Texas City African-American school Booker T. Washington.
Other "Negro" high schools were:
Lorraine Crosby Tigers of Hitchcock, Lincoln Eagles of La Marque, Central Bearcats of Galveston, Dunbar of Dickinson (mascot not found).
The most popular Texas mascots are Eagles (151), Bulldogs (101), Tigers (78), Lions (75), Panthers (71), Mustangs (61), Wildcats (61), Warriors (50), Cougars (46), Indians (37, Hornets (35), Pirates (34), Bobcats (28), Knights (27), and Longhorns (25) according to MaxPreps.
Be careful how you pronounce a team mascot's name. A visitor from East Bernard once stormed into Hitchcock's Press box upset the announcer was mispronouncing their mascot - Brahmas. The announcer pronounced it Brah-muhz, while the East Bernard fans pronounced it Brey- muhz. They use the bovine not the Hindu god for their mascot, nor the Asian chicken.

Carlos Ponce

Dickinson Dunbar had "Panthers" as their mascot.

Bailey Jones

Mesquite has the Skeeters. My favorite is the Austin College (Sherman) Kangaroos. Go Roos!

Mark Stevens

Some years back a small college in New Mexico or Arizona wanted a mascot name that wasn't ethnically improper and which did not patronize any animal in a "species-ist" way. Their teams became known as the "Fighting Artichokes".
Mark W. Stevens, non-vegan.

Carlos Ponce

The small college was Scottsdale Community College located on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in Scottsdale, a suburb/rural area of Phoenix, Arizona. On the May 1972 the League of Women Voters initiated a vote to change the team mascot to Fighting Artichokes and team colors to pink and white.
A total of 229 votes was cast. Artichokes -76.4%, Scoundrels -7.9%, Rutabagas - 4.8%, Write-ins - 10.9%.
The vote was declared illegal by the administration. They had favored Scoundrels. A second election was held with 994 students voting in a three day election in November of 1972. Artichokes received 764 votes followed by Drovers - 154, Avengers, Zebras, Bikes receiving the remaining votes.
The vote was initiated to protest overemphasis on school athletics. Up to then there were only two varsity sports - tennis and golf. Newly hired athletic director Bob Owens wanted to add five more sports: basketball, baseball, football, track and wrestling.
The administration wanted the colors blue and white. Pink and white were selected by student vote. The colors have since been changed to green and gold.
In 1975 the Scottsdale college cheerleaders would chant:
"Artichokes, Artichokes Thee we praise.
Toss those blokes in the hollandaise!"

Curtiss Brown

Nice column, Cathy, thanks.

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