Cold temperatures, snow and ice have postponed or cancelled high school sporting events across Kentucky. At least one school district, Taylor County, has cancelled events for the entire week.
An absence of games to cover left this writer to ask: What Kentucky high school mascots would best thrive in wintry conditions? Here are my top five.
5.) Mountain Lions
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Rationale: The largest member of the cat family can survive in just about any climate, but its large paws and large eyes help make the mountain lion an excellent hunter in snow-covered habitats. Biologists say they are more active in the winter, in part because it enhances a strong trait (vision) while lessening the importance of a weaker one (mountain lions do not have a strong sense of smell).
Schools: Wolfe County
Rationale: The gray wolf is active year-round, but its adaptations make it particularly adept in the winter months. The species has developed paws much larger than its domesticated canine family member and has a double layer of fur to help retain heat and prevent snow from touching its skin. Wolves’ breeding season begins in December and goes into the early part of March.
Schools: Ballard, Central Hardin
Rationale: “Bruin” is Dutch for “brown,” and is used in English folk lore to refer to brown bears. In North America brown bears — which along with polar bears are the largest terrestrial carnivores — mostly live in Alaska, which offers advice for how to co-exist with bears on the state’s Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation website.
2.) Polar Bears
Schools: Bracken County
Rationale: Does this one really need a thorough explanation? They have fur thicker than any other bear, blubber for extra insulation and swim with ease in Arctic waters. Polar bears don’t quit, either: individual bears will travel thousands of miles per year in their quests for prey.
Schools: Estill County
Rationale: Upset alert! While the aforementioned mascots have physical advantages that put them over the top in cold climates, engineers have the wit and technical know-how to overcome anything that stands in their path.
Estill County’s nickname and imagery mostly references a train engineer, but there’s no reason it can’t be extrapolated to include other feats of human engineering such as the construction of fire, indoor heating and stove tops on which to cook a hearty bowl of soup while waiting for the ice to melt.