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Those seeking high school mascot change acting like kids

By Mark Saal, Standard-Examiner Staff - | Nov 19, 2017

When the future students of the new Farmington High School selected the Phoenix for their mascot, I wasn't impressed. In my opinion, there were several better choices on the short list.

But then I remembered two important distinctions:

1. Choosing a mascot is the students' decision, not mine.

2. It could have been so much worse.

After all, last year when the British government came up with the egalitarian idea to let internet voters suggest the name for a new $287 million polar research ship, the overwhelming favorite turned out to be the R.R.S. "Boaty McBoatface."

Nevertheless, last week Farmington resident Kyle Fraughton launched an online petition asking the Davis School District to void the students' chosen mascot and pick another one. As presumptuous as Fraughton's request was, it was his reasoning for the change that really took a big set of, well, cojones.

In his petition, Fraughton explains that he and some of his neighbors were -- what else? -- practicing cheers for the upcoming school year, and "Go Phoenixes!" just didn't sound right to them. (Never mind that school administrators have already said the mascot isn't plural "Phoenixes," but singular "The Phoenix.") So they looked online, and discovered that a second possible pluralization of a mascot that isn't supposed to be pluralized is "Phoenices."

Writes Fraughton: "So we changed our cheer to, 'Go Phoenices!' Which is when the concern began to set in. We were horrified to hear that the phonetics of the word Phoenices are far too close to the word penises. I don't mean to be crass, but don't want there to be confusion around the point I am trying to make."

And that point is, what? That a group of Farmington neighbors has way too much spare time?

I find it particularly interesting that the concern didn't begin to set in for these people until they started chanting "Go Phoenices!" Because I've got to admit, my Concern Meter was pegged from the moment he mentioned a group of grown-ups standing around "practicing some cheers for the upcoming school year."

In the petition, Fraughton claims the new name will subject FHS students to a "never ending barrage of references to male anatomy."

According to the petition: "That will just be the beginning as it doesn't take much imagination to figure out how vulgar this could get."

Actually, I think it takes quite a bit of imagination. Not to mention a heaping helping of ridiculous.

And I wouldn't worry too much about the Farmington Phoenix being "bullied" by other schools, as Fraughton's petition suggests. My guess is that if another school is stupid enough to start a lame chant like "Phoenices," Farmington's students will have an appropriate answer. Perhaps shouting a counter-chant, like: "Yes, we are the Phoenices! Which means your team is screwed!"

Pretty sure that'd shut 'em up.

Listen, there's no shortage of "suggestive" high school mascots out there without having to worry about this one. We already have a Beaver High Beavers, for crying out loud. And plenty of other mascots don't require anywhere near the sort of phonetic gymnastics Fraughton is suggesting. Mascots like:

Morgan Trojans: For a state so squeamish about sex education, do we really want a mascot that shares a name with a condom? And just imagine the potential wordplay if the Trojans ever faced the Phoenices ...

Kearns Cougars: Given the spate of female high school teachers hooking up with their teenage students, "Cougars" is highly inappropriate. Indeed, students at the four-year-old Corner Canyon High School learned this the hard way. They originally selected the Cougar as their mascot, but some complained the name was offensive to older women. So it was changed to Chargers, which is only offensive to older women who also have a shopping addiction.

Altamont Longhorns: Do you suppose, in Fraughton's world, Altamont's opponents refer to them as "Longhorny"?

Whitehorse Raiders: Or that those at Whitehorse get tagged with "Panty Raiders"?

Hillcrest Huskies: A potential problem mascot for overweight students with low self-esteem.

This is not to say I don't have my own issues with Farmington High School's new mascot. But those concerns mostly revolve around things like the subliminal advertising for a certain Silicon Valley tech company. Namely, did anyone else happen to notice the letters in "Phoenix" can be rearranged to spell "iPhone X"?

Fraughton concludes his petition with: "We would ask that you give all students a chance to vote again and select another mascot. One that better represents this great community of Farmington. This way you aren't simply throwing away the votes of those who voted for Phoenix, but giving them a chance to still have a say in the mascot name."

Actually, if you vote again you ARE throwing away the votes of the majority who chose "Phoenix." And if Mr. Fraughton is successful in taking this perfectly reasonable mascot name away from the students just because he thinks others will be as immature as him, I certainly hope these same students reward him and his fellow petition-signers with a truly fitting mascot.

Personally? I'm hoping for the Farmington High Boaty McBoatfaces.

Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272, or msaal@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @Saalman. Friend him on Facebook at facebook.com/MarkSaal.

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