SCARBOROUGH – The re-christening of Scarborough sports teams as the “Red Storm” has bothered alumnus Alvin Temm since it happened eight years ago.

Temm, who participated in the Scarborough track team’s field events for three years before graduating in 1963, says he thought about beginning a petition drive against the Scarborough Redskins’ new name every time he passed the town hall.

It wasn’t so much that Temm disliked the nebulous monniker “red cloud”; it was that he didn’t like the how the name change happened and the town hall reminded him of it.

Like many residents, Temm is still sore that council built a new town hall several years ago despite voters’ repeated rejections of the project.

The name change, he says, happened about the same way – suddenly, according to the will of a handful of people on the school board, and without input for the hundreds of alumni who had played as Redskins, graduated as Redskins and paid takes to support the education of future redskins. (The Board of Education did poll the student body, but rejected the top choice, Titans, due to the fact that “Titans” refers to a mythological cannibalistic infanticidal king.)

Temm says he was surprised at the number of people who, after signing his petition, requested their own to circulate to friends and neighbors. Temm says he doen’t know how many signatures he’s collected, but supporter Bruce Bell says he himself has collected about 200 and dozens of petitions are circulating.

The petitioners need about 2,000 signatures by the end of September in order to get the name-change question on November ballots. School officials say the vote would be advisory, not binding, and the final authority regarding any name change rests with the board of education.

Scarborough is one of many schools across the nation to get rid of a mascot considered offensive to Native Americans. In New Jersey, Parsippany High School (NJ) changed its mascot from the Redskins to the Redhawks; in New York, Saranac Lake High School, like Scarborough High School, replaced Redskins with Red Storm.

Many professional sports teams, such as the Cleveland Indians, have refused to change their names and been slapped with costly lawsuits; many have been pending for years.

While some people have suggested that “Red Storm” glorifies Communism, Temm says that thought had never occurred him. He, like many current students, just doesn’t think “Red Storm” means much at all.

To get a handle on what people associate with the words “Redskins” and “Red Storm,” the Current used Google to try out some common associations. Results are as follows, from most common to least common:

Redskins + sports: 5.16 million

Redskins + Indians: 2.13 million

Red Storm + Sports: 779,00

Redskins + Potato: 154,000

Red Storm + communism: 14,500.


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