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If we're questioning nicknames, let's dissect them all

Posted on Oct. 15, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on Oct. 15, 2013 at 6:15 p.m.

Bill Beck

Side Lines

What's the sports world coming to these days?

Plymouth High School banned the song “Rocky Top” from being played after touchdowns during football games. They've only been doing it for years.

School administrators indicate they recently discovered a lyric reference to “moonshine” in an otherwise obscure third verse. Yes, recently.

Bob Costas of NBC stood up and bashed the Washington Redskins for their “insult” and “slur” of a team nickname. The franchise formed in the early 1930s, first in Boston, then in Washington, D.C.

Colleges like Stanford, once called the “Indians,” Central Michigan (Chippewas), Eastern Michigan (Hurons) and Miami of Ohio (Redskins), buckled and swapped out for more politically-correct nicknames in recent years, yet we don't hear public outcry over the Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves and Chicago Blackhawks.

And, of course, Goshen had its "Redskins'' debate at last spring's graduation.

I'm confused.

Left, right or down the middle, no matter which direction you steer, PC is veering off the road. But if our culture is insistent, I'm ready to go all-in, too.

Let's start close to home.

Minutemen, the proud nickname at Concord High School.

Pull it. Banish it to the archives. Come up with something else.

The school's logo is a guy carrying a musket. Minutemen were a militia. They shot at the British during the Revolutionary War. People in war carrying guns.

We can't have that, now can we?

Warriors. Wawasee and Westview each stand behind the nickname and its American Indian roots. People who fought, killed each other and engaged in war.

Not sure that sounds good.

Chargers at Elkhart Memorial. Beginning in the Middle Ages, a “charger” references horses used in war.

Can't have that, either.

Raiders? Sorry, Northridge, but a “raider” depicts a group of soldiers or marauders who were sent into enemy territory to seek out and destroy.

Do we want our children behaving in such a manner?

Panthers and Falcons? Just animals. They're cool. You can relax at NorthWood and Fairfield.

Is it Kingsmen or King's men? William Shakespeare was a member of the “King's Men,” a thespian troupe in the late 1500's. There were “king's men” who protected kings.

The “Kingsmen” also was a garage band from Portland, Oregon, that sang “Louie, Louie” in the 1960s. In 1964, Indiana governor Matthew Welsh publicly scrutinized the popular song for alleged raunchy lyrics. The song was deemed good, but it was scandalous. Shame on us.

A “Jimmie” is fairly safe by most standards. A “jimmie” was a moniker used in these parts, and referenced a railroad worker who helped lay tracks, thus the nickname at Jimtown High.

Blazer? Depends on your generation. There's “Mr. B,” a funny-looking character with an odd nose, but a great, recognizable caricature.

In most circles, a “blazer” is a sportcoat. In other cultures, a “blazer” is a pothead — a constant user of marijuana.

Pump the brakes, please, but think about it. These are words.

Girls basketball players “shoot” free throws. Football coaches use the “pistol” or “shotgun” formations

Quarterbacks throw “bullets” and “bombs” to receivers.

We can pick apart and be offended — slightly or otherwise — with any word in the dictionary.

There's a reasonable time and place for being politically correct. Kids singing a song after a touchdown, most of whom probably weren't aware of the questionable “moonshine” reference, isn't the best place to dig in.

No harm, no foul.

C'mon, folks. Let's lighten up a bit.

Bill Beck is The Elkhart Truth sports editor. Contact him on Twitter @BillBeckTruth or email to bbeck@etruth.com.




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