Josh Moore

Five high school mascots that would thrive in frigid conditions

A polar Bear waiting for Hudson Bay to freeze in Northern Canada on Nov. 22, 2008.
A polar Bear waiting for Hudson Bay to freeze in Northern Canada on Nov. 22, 2008.

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

Schools: Pineville

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).

Mountain lion cubs peer out of a cave in Miller Butte in the National Elk Refuge near Jackson Hole, Wyo., in February 1999. Bary Williams Associated Press

4.) Wolves

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.

3.) Bruins

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.

Bracken County
Bracken County's Nick Parker, 11, looked for running room as Paris played Bracken County on Friday September 30, 2016 in Paris, Ky. Mark Cornelison

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.

1.) Engineers

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.

Several hundred empty Louisville and Nashville (L & N) Railroad cars that would normally be hauling coal from Eastern Kentucky, sat were idle in the yards at Ravenna in Estill County on March 24, 1955, due to a strike against the railroad by non-operating employees (telegraphers, tracke men and clerks). The 57-day strike, one of the longest walkouts in rail history, paralyzed 14 southern states, stalling transportation and freight and shutting down coal mines. The strike stemmed from the L & N balking at accepting a health plan negotiated by the nonoperating worker unions with other railroads, calling for joint employer contributions. The L & N protested both a the cost, a $3.40 monthly payment an employee and at the fact that all employees would be compelled to join and contribute an equal amount. The walkout was marked by shootings of strikers and nonstrikers, and by train and bridge explosions. One striker was killed and each side blamed the other for the violence. Published in the Lexington Heald March 25, 1955. Herald-Leader

Josh Moore: 859-231-1307, @HLpreps