Editorials

What’s wrong with a mascot with fangs?

Watch the Fort Mill School Board debate the Rattlers mascot

Fort Mill SC school board members debate the Rattlers mascot for Catawba Ridge High School.
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Fort Mill SC school board members debate the Rattlers mascot for Catawba Ridge High School.

We realize that picking a mascot for a school can be a touchy process. But we wonder why some members of the Fort Mill school board were so quick to ditch the choice of Rattlers for the new Catawba Ridge High School.

Students were polled about what mascot they wanted, and many of the replies were not entirely serious, according to district officials. The proposal to adopt Copperheads as a mascot received strong support, and some of the other top finishers included Catamounts, Rapids and War Birds.

The nickname Rattlers was seen by some as a compromise. But board members said they received multiple phone calls and emails objecting to using the fanged critter as a mascot.

Last week, the board voted 3-3, with one abstention on the proposal. Without a majority, Rattlers bit the dust.

Too bad, we liked the idea. The rattlesnake, we think, would make a fine symbol for any team.

Many others apparently feel the same way. A Google search indicates that dozens of schools, from grade schools to universities have Rattler mascots or some variation on a rattlesnake theme. And, of course, the Arizona Diamondbacks, a professional baseball team, proudly sport the scaly mascot.

There is nothing dishonorable about rattlesnakes. In fact, they are known as the gentlemen of snakes because they perform the courtesy of warning anyone in the vicinity before they strike.

And they play a useful role in the food chain, eating mice and other small pests.

But they also have the requisite capacity for fearsomeness, something any self-respecting school would want in a mascot. A coiled rattler with fangs at the ready can strike terror in just about anyone.

They strike with speed and accuracy, and can be deadly. And just think, fans could bring rattles to games to shake in support of the team!

We’re not crazy about War Birds, which technically refers to vintage military aircraft now operated by civilian groups or historic re-enactors. That doesn’t strike us with fear and awe.

Rapids seems too trendy. Would an individual team member be a Rapid?

We have no objection to Catamounts. Big cats always are a good fallback.

And we see nothing wrong with Copperheads, which, after all, are plentiful in this part of the country.

But we hereby make a plea for the reinstatement of Rattlers as the mascot. Rattlesnakes get too much bad publicity.

They deserve more respect – and a spot on Catawba Ridge uniforms.

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