HS Football: Not just your lions, tigers and bears (oh my!)

Football season is only weeks away. In the homelands, the families are snatching up their season tickets and dusting off their stadium seats. In the smaller towns and around colleges may one find those watching their home team’s “two-a-days” in the blazing sun.

I have friends from high school to whom their school football team is a religion. While these friends might be found occasionally in the pews at the local church, one can bet they will be found religiously on the home stadium bleachers or those seats in the stadium of the opposing team.

My team name carries a lot of weight in the Texas high school football world even though its mascot is one of the common ones — the Eagles. That is because our name is synonymous with winning. Over the years our school has played some wild teams even though the team name might prove rather run-of-the-mill: the Wildcats, Bobcats, Lions, Tigers and Bears, oh my! Then there are Bulldogs, Cougars, Pirates, Mustangs, Lumberjacks, Panthers, Hornets, Bumblebees, and yes the sometimes offensive Indians. Why even one area school is generically referred to as “the Tribe” and the stadium is known as the “Reservation.”

But offensive or imagined, like the Bearkats or an occasional Unicorn, Texas has some imaginative team names that do battle under Friday night lights: One of my favorite, the Winters Blizzard. A team my high school played against and whose drill team once included TV star, hostess and LGBT activist, Ellen Degeneres, is the Atlanta Rabbits.

Others for chuckles include: the Farmersville Farmers, Hutto Hippos, New Braunfels (the aforementioned) Unicorns, San Antonio Lanier Voks (for vocational school), Hamlin Pied Pipers, Mesquite Skeeters, and Itasca Wampus Cats.

Of course, Texas does not have a lock on the strange mascots. Some of the others in the US of A have my vote: Hickman (Mo.) Kewpies, Tillamook (Ore.) Cheesemakers, and perhaps the best in the country, the Hoopestown (Ill.) Cornjerkers.

Enjoy the football season and your home team. Watch the Eagles fly away, the Cheesemakers make cheese of their opponents and  the Cornjerkers … well, I suppose they’ll be jerking something, maybe corn for half-time.