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Thursday, January 26, 2012

To Cougar or Not to Cougar

Some have decided not to.

The cougar - a large, wild cat, with a tawny grayish coat, native to North America - though once revered as an animal worthy of mascotting teams to victory, has fallen from grace. Rejected. No longer accepting it as a representation of power and pride, Schools like Draper Corner Canyon High in Utah forgo the cougar for more benign, vague symbols like a "charger."

What is a charger? Is that like a battery charger? Is it a Dodge? A credit card, maybe? How exactly would I doodle a charger on my notebook while daydreaming in physics class?

The school board, after serious consideration of the matter and surely an entertaining discussion, concluded that they risked offending middle-aged women if they approved the cougar mascot. And for that I say to the school board, "For heaven's sake, offend me!"

I'm married with four children. If someone should even remotely refer to me as cougar-ish I take it as a compliment. It means I could if I wanted to; that I'd actually have a chance at ripping out the heart of a younger man. Cougar, when used in reference to felines or forty-something females is a compliment, people.

If they'd wanted to name the team the Escort Service or the Dirty Old Men, I could possibly see things differently. If they had even approached the issue from a morality standpoint and argued that the moniker might imply inappropriate relationships between teachers and students, I at least would award some credit for deeper, creative thinking. If they were planning to allow students' mothers to try-out for the girls' basketball team, they might have a point. Might.

But y'all, get a grip. The word "cougar" has no derogatory connotations whatsoever, and if I sat in a stadium surrounded by a crowd chanting, "Cougars, cougars, cougars," it would be a real moment of bonding in the sisterhood of women; a lightheaded experience in which I might make a huge donation to the school to be used at the administration's discretion.

Oh well. Now fans will just shout, "Chargers, chargers, chargers," and folks won't be able to think of donations for thinking of dead batteries.


William Kendall said...

Chargers are old heaps that used to be cars. Not a good sports team.

Yes, cougar means one thing in the social-sexual context, but it's also a pretty ferocious cat.

Lucy Adams said...

I think that school board fears the wrong kind.