Earlier this summer, as the debate over a new nickname for Coxsackie-Athens sports teams roiled a community split between keeping “Indians” or dropping it and finding a name less offensive, C-A’s identity became a flashpoint.

So it seems strange that school district voters looked at 14 nominees, many of which were strong, but then chose Eagles, Bluejays and Riverhawks. Philadelphia of the NFL has the Eagles and Toronto of Major League Baseball has the Bluejays. C-A needs a replacement nickname that will reinstate the pride of the Indians, strike fear in the hearts of opponents. These names will strike fear only in the hearts of birds.

In a cursory, unofficial glance at the 35 best California high school nicknames, we found some winners: Stingrays, Leopards, Centaurs, Skippers (great for a river town), Crushers (Coxsackie-Athens Crushers has a nice ring to it) and Phantoms.

Our (unofficial) favorites among the first round of 14 were Coyotes, Cyclones, Rip Tides (again perfect for a river town), Storm, Wolfpack and, the best of the best, Blue Thunder.

Even if the final nickname may not exactly be original or fearsome, students received an excellent teaching lesson from the process. They saw a form of democracy in action, and C-A officials should be applauded for opening up the vote to the students. After all, they will be ones wearing the uniforms, playing the games and carrying the banner of tradition in a new era of Coxsackie-Athens athletics.

As for the Crushers, Skippers and Blue Thunder, as they say in sports, wait ’til next year.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1


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