Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Those Mysterious Team Mascots

I was talking to some summer school students on the playground and we were discussing football, soccer and baseball teams all the boys were on. I told them I played Little League baseball and was on the Cubs and the Dodgers. What teams were they on?

One of them said he was on the Knights, so I jokingly asked, "Do you ever play the Days?"

He looked at me funny and said, "Huh?"

I explained, "You know. You're the Knights and they're the Days, so someone could say, 'There will be a game today between the Knights and the Days.' You get the joke?"

"Oh yeah," he said, and then laughed.

"Of course, you're not on the Nights with an N. You're on the Knights with a K."

"Huh?" he mumbled.

"You know, you're a Knight like in the Medieval days."

"What's medieval?"

I became curious. "Do you know what a knight is?" I asked.

"No. Not really."

"You gotta be kiddin' me, man. It's one of those guys that wears a suit of armor."

"We wear uniforms," he said in a confused manner.

" No. Not you. The knights. Your team is named after knights. They lived in the year 500 or 600 and carried swords, fought with arrows, rode horses, fought for the King of England, and sometimes two knights would get on horses, face each other, then take off riding towards each other with long, giant sticks and would try to knock each other off the horse. It's called jousting."

"His eyes lit up. "Oh yeah! That's what a knight is?"

"Yep! I replied. Your team is named after those knights."

"Cool!" he exclaimed.

I looked at another kid and asked him what team he was on, and he said he was on the Yankees.

"What's a Yankee?" I asked.

"It's a team. A baseball team."

"Yeah, but what's a Yankee? Your friend here is on the Knights and a knight is a guy from a long time ago that wears suits of armor and rides horses. What's a Yankee?"

"I dunno," he said.

I explained to him about people that live up north or in the United States, and to tell you the truth, I think I pulled the plug on his enthusiasm for being a Yankee. To him, a Yankee was a member of the best team in baseball (dadburn it!). Now he was reduced to being a Northerner or an American.

I asked another boy and he said he was on the Rangers so I asked him what a Ranger was.

"I dunno," he said.

This was becoming pitiful, if not discouraging. "A Ranger is a law man, a cop, a policeman, a guy who fights on the side of the law. A lot of Rangers are in Texas. That's why the Texans call one of their baseball teams the Texas Rangers."

He looked disappointed. Obviously he had been there (Texas) and didn't want to have anything to do with the place.

I started asking all boys at school if they were on teams and what was the mascot.

"I'm on the Red Sox."

"What are Red Sox?"

"I don't know."

"What team is your team, the Red Sox, named after?" (This qualifies as a Stupid Question from an earlier blog)

"I dunno."

I had to explain to that kid that the Red Sox were called the Red Sox because they were wearing red socks when their first uniform was designed, and the Red Sox are in Boston, Massachusetts. He didn't seem too excited about that, and I realized I was taking all the air out of these hornets' sails.

I asked another kid what team he was on, and he said he was on the Pirates. I asked him what a pirate was, and he said, "A pirate is a guy that lives on a ship in the Care-uh-be-un and fights skeletons."

Thanks to movies, someone knew.

No comments: