Recently, the editor of my hometown newspaper proposed dumping our high school mascot—the dinosaur. Why? Because “we’ve been stuck with a big extinct lizard for a long time and I think it’s time to try something else. Maybe Carbon High could change their luck by picking a new mascot…”
I’ll be the first to agree that Carbon High could use a change of luck—in particular, the football team, which recently set a state record of 25 consecutive losses! Touchdowns occur as infrequently as lunar eclipses, and what other team can boast of having scored a field goal for its opponent, thanks to a punt that sailed backwards?
The editorial goes on to suggest that a less prehistoric mascot might get that old pigskin moving in the right direction for a change. Unfortunately, all the best mascots have already been taken. Heck, even the lowly jackrabbit has been appropriated by Delta High.
Traditionally, sports teams in the West are named after either displaced Indian tribes or wildlife rendered endangered thanks to the influx of rapacious settlers. Carbon County differs in that our school mascot is more than endangered, it’s extinct. But there are signs that dinosaurs once lived in the area—including fossilized footprints found in local coal mines. Said footprints have been attributed to a creature known as the Apatosaurus, better known in my day as the Brontosaurus. Hence, our two mascots were named Dino and Dina, seen here contributing to global warming by igniting the annual homecoming bonfire.
During games, Dina lead the cheering section while Dino turned lugubrious cartwheels on the sidelines, his long green tail wreaking havoc among hapless bystanders. By and by the pair were replaced by a creature I’ll call Barneysaurus, and I think it’s no coincidence that the age of the Barneysaur coincides with that of the school’s epic losing streak. One look at him and you just know your team is going to get its butt kicked.
This summer my former classmates raised over three thousand dollars in order to affix a new symbol to the school building, one that we hope will usher in a new era of winning football teams. It is a fully upright Tyranosaurus Rex, generally acknowledged to be the biggest and baddest dinosaur ever. If a tyrannosaurus can’t whip a lowly rabbit, then I have no idea what we’re going to do.
Back in 1961 I ran the half-mile on the Carbon High School track team. I never finished better than last. Was it my fault? I think not! You put on a jersey with the word DINOSAUR printed on the back and see how fast you can run. And don’t look back, because as I recall, something is always gaining on you.