On Manhattan High’s so-called “alternative mascot”: Can we just forget about it?
The new MHS principal, Michael Dorst, told The Mercury this week that he hasn’t done anything on the issue. This is two years after the school board approved the high school’s selection of a wolf for that purpose.
Let’s back up a minute. After a year of argument, the school board voted a couple of years ago to keep the Indian as the school’s mascot. As part of the political deal on the board to reach an agreement, members decided to appoint a committee to follow up on a few items. Among them was the notion that the school could have what is often referred to as an “alternative mascot,” a “secondary mascot” or a “physical mascot.” In essence: A kid in a costume who could run around on the football field as some sort of spirit-booster, since the Indian itself has long been out of favor for that.
Truth is, nobody really ever wanted that alternative mascot. After setting some rules that outlawed human beings or genders, board members eventually punted the decision about picking one to high school students, who held some sort of vote. This is where it gets really funny: “None” was actually the top vote-getter, but students and school administrators used some tortured logic to go with the second-leading candidate, which was a wolf. A bison was third, or second, or ... whatever. Anyway, board members approved the school’s selection.
That’s where we left the story. The Mercury has periodically checked in with administrators since then, but there’s always been something getting in the way: At one point, then-Principal Greg Hoyt decided to wait to order the costume until after Woodrow Wilson Elementary — also the “wolves” — ordered theirs. (Why elementary schools need mascot getups is a legitimate question, but that’s for another day.)
Mr. Dorst, who inherited the situation, says he wants to get all the relevant parties in the room to decide what way to go. We certainly sympathize with that notion, although we suspect some of his bosses might remind him that a decision has already been made.
Here’s another suggestion: Let’s just forget it.
Nobody really wants a wolf. Nobody is clamoring for a secondary mascot at all. The mascot is the Indian, and that’s what it’s going to remain. The high school doesn’t need anyone running around in a costume on the field. It’s gotten by just fine for a couple of decades — at least — without one.
Our guess is that the minute they trotted the wolf out on the field, it would have been laughed or shrugged off, and the thing would have sat in the high school storage closet for 25 years.
If it takes another school board vote to cut the school loose of the issue, so be it. It’s not that it was a dumb idea to begin with, since it was well-intended and could theoretically have worked. But it didn’t. Let’s just let that one go.