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What’s in a name?
Stories behind the mascots, nicknames of Parker County high schools
By Tony Eierdam
The Community News
Here in Parker County, folks are proud of their Bearcats, Kangaroos, Eagles, Greyhounds. Bulldogs and Monarchs, the nicknames/ mascots of the respective high schools.
But did you ever wonder how and why these names came about?
Professional sports teams often try to link their team’s mascot to the heritage of the area they play in. Locally, the Fort Worth/Dallas pro sports teams have a Texas tie to their nicknames such as the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers and Dallas Mavericks.
Even the latest “move-in” team, the Dallas Stars – for- merly the Minnesota North Stars – decided to keep the lat- ter part of the original name, linking Stars to the lone star on the state flag. The Cowboys and Mavericks were expan- sion teams while the Rangers changed their name from the Senators as the MLB team transferred to Arlington from Washington D.C. in 1972.
In fact, the “Cowboys” were not originally called the Cowboys. The original nick- name was the Rangers, and that is the name then general manager Tex Schramm sent to the NFL office. But according to The Dallas Morning News, Schramm did not want to use the name when he realized Dallas’ minor league baseball team was called the Rangers.
Cowboys, according to DMN, was actually the third choice. Schramm had decided
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on Steers before settling on the Cowboys.
The word “mascot” orig- inates from the French term “mascotte” which means “lucky charm.” This was used to describe anything that brought luck to a household. The word was first recorded in 1867 and popularized by a French com- poser Edmond Audran who wrote the opera La mascotte, performed in December 1880.
Historical accounts point to Cincinnati’s National League team (1869) as the first professional team to have a nickname, the “Red Stockings.” The team’s uniform of knick- ers with colored socks also inspired the use of team colors serving a dual role as a team nickname for the sportswriters of the day.
A mascot or nickname becomes a part of the school community, and each one
has a story. The following
are researched reasons why Aledo, Brock, Millsap, Peaster, Poolville, Springtown and Weatherford chose their nick- names/mascots.
Aledo Bearcats
Although a “bearcat” is not an animal, several local sources
have said the nickname and mascot were the combination of “bear” and “cat” meaning, “big as a bear; but quick as a cat,” hence, Bearcats.
In comparison, the University of Cincinnati
has called its athletic teams “Bearcats” since 1914. According to the universi- ty’s web site, the word first appeared in print, circa 1889, as a synonym for the giant panda. In this case, “bear- cat” is a simple translation of the Chinese word for panda
- xiong mao - which means “bear-cat.”
By 1895, the naturalist H.N. Ridley reported that the binturong - a large civet from Malaysia - was known as the “bear-cat.” There is a binturong at the Cincinnati Zoo, and
it’s sometimes brought out to University of Cincinnati games.
The word entered American slang as a descrip- tive term for an aggressive or forceful person. One of the first to adopt this slang expression was P.G. Wodehouse, a popular author of the day. And then,
of course, there was the Stutz Bearcat - the reigning sports car of the pre-World War I
era, a great-grandfather of the Corvette.
Although many longtime Aledo residents and for-
mer graduates surveyed for this article cannot recall or never knew the story behind Aledo calling its sports teams Bearcats, former Aledo Ladycats basketball and soft- ball player Rebecca Hissam was told the meaning from her grandfather, longtime Aledo resident Doug Koldin.
“My grandfather told me
– and I heard him say this sev- eral times – that the reason the teams are called the Bearcats because they wanted a mascot that was unique,” she said. “Bearcats was chosen because they wanted a mascot that
was as strong as a bear but quick and fast as a cat. That
is the only story I have ever heard about the origination of Bearcats.”
Another longtime Aledo resident, Terry Hyles, said he has in his possession a letter “sweater” from either 1935 or ’36, and the patch on the letter sweater depicts a “Bearcat.”
“I honestly never have known the origination of how making our mascot Bearcats came about,” Hyles said. “But
I can tell you my third-grade teacher, Martha Haynes, wrote the alma mater in 1945.”
Brock Eagles
When Brock began its first boys’ basketball team in 1911, little was thought about what they would wear, according
to an article written by Kay Hull Cole, with assistance from Geneva Young, Willie Jean Jones Hull, Eddie Ruth Wilkerson, and Fern Jones. The only thing on their mind was a basketball. So, they hitched up a wagon for a trip into Weatherford to purchase one. Two goals were erected on a dirt surface located just west of the corner of 1189 and Grindstone Road. Three years
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