In three years, we will see a new high school built and the athletic seasons start their inaugural year.
But what to name the school, what the school mascot is to be named and the school colors are to be are far from decided. And, in some ways, more heated than the push for the bond to fund the new high school was.
My publisher wanted me to interview local figures and get their thoughts on what the new high school name and mascot should be. I talked to a few, off of the record of course, and got varied responses.
So, here are my thoughts on that matter.
I have to approach this from three angles: a journalist perspective, a perspective from the heart and a perspective from my brain.
From the journalistic perspective, the identical naming of two high schools within the same school district is unprecedented, in any of the 50 states. That also is the same unprecedented issue with a mascot and school colors.
Naming the new Belton High School…Belton High School…would create a number of journalistic reporting problems.
From strictly a Friday night football perspective, if the two Belton high school teams played each other at Tiger Field it may create some serious confusion.
Imagine in your ears and in your mind’s eye the “new” Belton Tigers’ play-by-play announcer in 2020 over the radio:
“It’s first down and 10 yards to go on the Tigers’ 20-yard line. The new Tigers’ are clad in red jerseys with red pants and white trim, to go with their red helmets and white Belton B. The old Tigers’ are in white jerseys with white pants and red trim, to go with their white helmets and red Belton B. The Tigers are set in a 3-4 defense and the Tigers have the I-Formation in the backfield, one receiver set to the left and two set up to the right. The middle of the field has the red Belton B with white trim around it, with the end zone to the north side with Belton spelled out in it and the south end zone has Tigers spelled out in it.”
Did you catch that? If you did, you win a participation ribbon.
This would be the end result of naming the new high school Belton, the new mascot Tigers and school colors red and white.
And don’t get me started on the sports reporters, sports photographers and sports editors. It might lead to the issuance of prescribed medication prior to the first game. Because I am all three, just bring me a plate of fresh oatmeal raisin cookies and a two-liter Coca-Cola. It could be a long night.
The heart’s aspect is a bit simpler from this angle. I attended Belton schools from eighth grade through 11th grade and completed two months of my senior year before moving back to Michigan to complete high school. I was in the Marching 100 as a percussionist from 1983 to 1986 and we were level I at each district competition. I know the tradition of the old Belton Tigers. I watched many friends and fellow classmates don the red-and-white in sports. During the period of time I was at Belton initially, our athletic program won a state championship in girls’ golf (1985). The Tigers were a great golf program in the 1980’s and still are today. Boy’s soccer did not start until 1985. We did not have power lifting, swimming, softball and girl’s soccer. So Belton’s tradition grew even bigger after I left. It had a great deal of growing left and it did so. The heart says: “Once a Tiger, always a Tiger.”
The brain is a bit more complex. It is far more analytical and asks questions. Why must a new school have to be named like the old school? Why are people so fixed on having the new school with the old school’s tradition? If the new school is not technically in town, why should it have Belton in the name? Why does it have to be Tigers? Why does it have to have the colors of red and white? And what about school records? How do you differentiate the records for the new high school if the old high school has the same name?
When you build a new high school and ask the public their opinion of what the mascot and colors should be, people who are traditionalists will stick with tradition.
This is not a traditional decision.
The big question is: As a community, do we want to name both of the high schools Belton High School, have the Tigers as the mascot and the colors as red and white, with the knowledge of no precedent of identical school name, mascot name and similar name anywhere in the country?
In my opinion, it would be national news. And create a serious identity crisis for our kids. Our school district is known to be a district of innovation. I’m not so sure that naming the new high school with all of the old high school themes innovative.
Hey, I get the whole “We Are All Tigers” and “Once a Tiger, always a Tiger” idea. We live in a different day and age. I get that it would cost money to change things.
A new high school should have a new beginning, a new tradition, new records, a new mascot and new colors. The old high school should be allowed to retain and grow its already rich tradition.
So what’s in a name, mascot and colors for the new school? I have a few of ideas:
1) Morgan’s Point High School Marauders, logo of a skull and crossbones with the letters MPR in an banner over the top and color scheme being midnight blue, black and silver. The school’s location is far closer to Morgan’s Point Resort than downtown Temple or Belton. The Marauders mascot is for its proximity to Lake Belton and trailblazing into the future. The color scheme is to differentiate the school from the first high school and would fit the Marauders mantra as a pirate.
2) Lake Belton High School Tiger Sharks, a red helmet with a silver World War II Tiger Shark airplane nose and letters “LB” on the nose, and color scheme of red, silver and black. If our town is fixated on having Tigers in the name, why not call it the Tiger Sharks? I know that the name is already used for the Belton swimming program. You are still honoring the Tiger tradition, while honoring the tradition of one of the greatest warplanes in military history.
3) Belton Veterans Memorial High School Fighting Force, a black helmet with a red “The Force” with all five armed forces logos, color scheme of red, white and blue. If you have indecision on a local idea, why not go national and be patriotic? Honor those who have given their lives for our country and are fighting today.
4) Bell County High School Responders, a black helmet with a gold cursive “BellCo” on the sides, with a color scheme of gold and black. Belton is the county seat of Bell County and the new high school will be located in the outer reaches of Temple and Belton. It would also serve as an honor to our first responders who serve our area valiantly every day.
5) Belton Twin Lakes High School Lakers, red, white and blue scheme, With the TL letters on side. This would be more of a idea for 10-15 years down the road when looking at a third high school.
I feel that tradition needs to be kept within the boundaries of the old Belton High School and a new era should be started with a new high school, mascot and colors.