High School Sports

Social media offers suggestions to replace ‘Stallions’ as new school’s nickname

A football helmet on display with Frederick Douglass' mascot and colors, a stallion in Keeneland Green and orange at Mod Pizza and Frederick Douglass High School in Lexington, Ky., on Jan. 2, 2017. Principal Lester Diaz introduced Brian Landis as the first football coach for the school. Also announced was the mascot, a stallion and school colors, Keeneland Green and orange.
A football helmet on display with Frederick Douglass' mascot and colors, a stallion in Keeneland Green and orange at Mod Pizza and Frederick Douglass High School in Lexington, Ky., on Jan. 2, 2017. Principal Lester Diaz introduced Brian Landis as the first football coach for the school. Also announced was the mascot, a stallion and school colors, Keeneland Green and orange. palcala@herald-leader.com

The conversation surrounding Lexington’s new high school quickly turned controversial this week due to outcry over the school’s previously chosen nickname, Stallions. While the name will now be decided by incoming students and has to be of equine origin (no way the school district forks over money to redesign that intimidating horse logo), let’s throw out some suggestions as curated from social media:

▪  Freedom: Local statistician Ken Bourne, one of the boys’ Sweet Sixteen official scorers for the last nine years, has advocated for this name in recognition of the abolitionist movement, of which Frederick Douglass was a prominent leader. It would be the third unique singular team name in the state for a high school — Hopkins County Central uses “Storm” and Paducah Tilghman uses “Blue Tornado” — but the minor-league baseball team in Florence uses “Freedom.” It’s also ambiguous enough to still allow for the use of a horse logo and mascot, as the animals are often associated with openness and roaming, as well as war (often waged to gain freedom).

▪  North Stars: Several folks mentioned this as an option, a reference to Douglass’ abolitionist newspaper The North Star. Currently no schools use “Stars” as a nickname (Muhlenberg North, now closed, did) but Carlisle County and Carter County both use “Comets.” Coincidentally, a horse breed native to Hungary, Furioso-North Star, takes its name from an English Thoroughbred. If selected, it probably wouldn’t take much to incorporate a star-shape pattern onto the horse logo if the school wanted. (Another coincidence: Lexington resident Jim Hunter shared a touching story about Ohio State University saving a horse named Northstar whose body was severely burned. You can read it at bit.ly/2iFaS5k.)

▪  Broodmares/mares: A facetious favorite of some arguing against the name “Stallions,” based on the logic that if girls’ teams should be expected to be OK with using that name, then boys’ teams should be equally expected to deal with adopting this one. Shockingly, its champions didn’t include any men.

▪  Thoroughbreds: This has been, by far, the most frequent suggestion to pop up in my Twitter notifications. Both Newport Central Catholic and Harrison County use this moniker, although Harrison County differentiates itself with the rogue spelling “Thorobreds.” Harrison County also christens its girls’ teams “Fillies.” This would most wholly encompass the original spirit of the horse design but lacks the originality of the previous two suggestions.

▪  Horsies: One of several “joke” suggestions submitted. Maybe could work for an elementary school, but here’s betting you’d sell a ton of “Frederick Douglass Horsies” gear based on sheer comic value alone.

▪  Honorable mentions: Broncos, Ponies, Chargers, Racers, Stampede, Equines.

Regardless how you feel about “Stallions,” at least the decision-makers shot for something unique rather than a tried-and-true standby like “Wildcat” (snore). Here’s hoping the new name, whatever it is, retains that sense of originality.

Josh Moore: 859-231-1307, @HLpreps

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