Monday, January 31, 2011

We are the REDSKINS ... the mighty, mighty Re--- Wait. What?

The Red Lodge Redskins.

Whether or not to change the mascot has been an on-again-off-again cyclical argument for as long as I can remember. It seems that this time around, however, there is a little more heat behind actually getting it changed. And by 'heat' I mean 'available funding'.

The point of this post is not really to support either side. I merely want to ponder the positions 'outloud' for a minute. I thought that perhaps if I wrote it all down I might finally be able to "pick a side".

Let's see what happens ...

So ...

You have your die hard Redskins. The alumni who sported the blue and gold uniforms as they played basketball, football, volleyball, cheered, ran track, and played in the band. They grew up proud Redskins --- win or lose. Their parents were Redskins. Their children were Redskins. They are business owners in town who donate money to the booster club every year because they have that sense of ownership that comes from living your whole life as a REDSKIN. They are the people who come into town only once a year --- but every trip home they make a point to catch a game. They know it doesn't get any better than Harper's pep band & they probably gave Norma a ride to at least one game.

You have your die hard anti-Redskins. ('anti' referring to the name of the team mascot --- not the team itself!) They might play sports. They might not. They might play in the band. They might not. They may be of Native America descent. And then again, they might not. They are people who believe in human rights and feel genuinely offended by the term 'Redskin'.

And then you  have people like me ---  I'm indifferent on this subject. Not because I'm naive. Not because I am afraid to take a stand. But because I have heard various arguments supporting and negating BOTH sides & none of those arguments were powerful enough to sway me one way or the other.  I truly AM indifferent on this issue.

Yea ... I would love to yell, "Go Skins!" along with the cheerleaders when my kids make it to high school. I'd love to watch Isaac try on his letterman's jacket & stand next to his dad (also wearing HIS letterman's jacket) for a Redskins-through-the-ages photo op. And I'd probably have a hard time adjusting to referring to our hometown sports teams as anything other than The Redskins.  My husband loved his team --- that letterman jacket photo op I referred to a minute ago --- I didn't pull that out of thin air. Josh has sported that thing around our livimg room more times than I can count. I love listening to him talk about high school athletics. It's a part of who he is ... and so is the Redskin mascot.

It would be really easy for me to hop on the 'REDSKINS FOR LIFE' bandwagon. Not because it's important to ME --- hell, even when I was a Redskin, I wasn't really all that into it.  But because I love the look on Josh's face when he gets to be a part of the high school sports scene --- be that  as a spectator or as a coach.  I know the nostalgia he must feel every Friday night in the fall when he sports that Redskins coaching uniform. It must be pretty sureal to coach the team you once played for.

But, it's just as easy for me NOT to jump on the bandwagon. Because he IS a coach. You see, the really amazing thing about my husband is that he sees beyond his own high school glory days. He understands that there are kids playing on these teams TODAY who deserve high school glory days of their own. He loved the feeling of truly being part of a TEAM & he wants that for his players to know that feeling too. So if the name of a mascot has an adverse effect on a player and/or the team ... if something as easy to change as a name has the power to make a kid feel included or (in this case) excluded ... then it is probably time to address it.

(picture stolen from the RLSH website ... )

I would support the decision to keep or change the mascot ... as long as the decision was made for the right reasons. But, after seeing the reactions from people on BOTH sides of the argument recently, I don't think 'the right reasons' are currently in anyone's scope of vision.

Here's the Cliff's Notes of the arguments I've been privy to:

"Don't change it! We like it the way it is! Redskins for life! Grrrr!" Um, ok ... how about articulating an actual argument instead of reasoning like my 5 year old neice?

"The term 'Redskin' is offensive! It hurts my feelings! Change it!"  C'mon. Seriously? 'Redskins' certainly wasn't chosen as the mascot because the school wanted to be associated with something BAD/NEGATIVE. They wanted to be represented by a mascot that was BRAVE, PROUD, and STRONG. 

There's a lot more I could say on both sides. But I'm indifferent, remember? So I will just keep the rest to myself.

I don't know what will happen. This post is likely the extent of my involvement. And now that I've pondered it, I really have formed only two opinions:

1. If the mascot change is unavoidable --- if it's only a matter of time before it happens, then I think this is the right time to do it. With our Hoosier-esque civic center having been replaced this week, it seems like a good place for a fresh start.

And ...

2. I honestly hope my kids don't wear Red Lodge uniforms period. That's not a slam on Red Lodge nor does it have anything to do with the mascot issue. That's an honest hope. In my perfect world, Josh would be working the Absarokee office by the time our kids get to junior high & my kids could go to school & play sports with their cousins ... in A-town. GO HUSKIES!

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