If there was any question that the controversy over the newly minted Draper (Utah) Corner Canyon High Cougars Charger mascot would go away, that can be relegated to the scrap heap. Amidst a maelstrom of opinions from newspapers, web sites and honest readers far and wide, the Draper School District now finds itself under attack from more unsuspecting assailants: Women who have been identified as "cougars" themselves.
As sent in to Prep Rally's Facebook wall by one eagle-eyed reader, a woman who claims to be an "oft-described Cougar" lashed out at the Draper School District on YouTube, calling their decision to censure their future students' choice of the name "Cougars" for the school mascot senseless.
What's more, 53-year-old Laura Regine -- who is allegedly involved in a "long-term, loving relationship with a man 20-years younger than me" -- says that the notion that middle-aged women might be offended by the term Cougars is itself offensive because it neglects the one thing that most middle-aged women have in common: A majority of them are mothers.
"I read with interest and, somewhat, disgust, about the issue with the high school in Utah that wouldn't allow a high school to use cougars as a mascot for fear that it might offend middle-aged women like myself," Regine said. "Well, I can tell you: It doesn't offend me whatsoever that the kids would want to use cougars as their mascot.
"What does offend me is that the administrators and parents would think that I'd be offended. What you'll see from this cougar is being motherly. Because believe it or not, most middle-aged women -- cougars or not -- are mothers. We put our children first -- always have, always will."
It's hard to tell whether Regine is alone in her general disgust with the Draper School District's position, but one thing is certain: the response to the district's forced change of mascot has been ferocious. While district administrators have since retreated behind other excuses for the forced abandonment of the popular mascot choice -- at least one district spokesman cited other schools using the Cougar mascot as a deterrent -- that hasn't stopped scathing editorials like this one from the Deseret News' Doug Robinson.
As Robinson points out, barring Cougars under the assumption that it will offend middle-aged women can open an enormous Pandora's box, the kind that could swallow up almost any other nickname with it.
You can probably predict that Robinson's list is pretty hysterical, and should be read in full. With that in mind, here's just a couple of his more sensitive suggestions:
Cowboys — Let's see, cowboys shot Indians, sooooo … Women are upset too — what about cowgirls? School board suggests new name: Dallas Cowpersons.
Angels — Religious overtones; we can't have that.
Sun Devils/Red Devils/Blue Devils — Satanic worship?
Yankees/Runnin' Rebels — What are we trying to do, incite another Civil War?
Clearly, there are big problems with the concept of offering up a mascot contest and then not following through. Then again, that should have been crystal clear from the very beginning. Now that the district has put its neck out for becoming the "Charger", it seems unlikely that the Cougars will eventually get the mascot respect the future students feel they deserve … even if more people like Regine and Robinson are offended than are letting on.