Think about it: What other group so powerfully exemplifies courage, loyalty and fearlessness? What other group is more sports-like?
Legions of brave soldiers have protected our freedoms in foreign countries, yet many return home feeling unappreciated. Worse, they suffer from injuries, PTSD, financial woes, substance abuse and homelessness. The road they travel is strewn with landmines.
What better way to help struggling veterans than to salute them as mascots?
Our history offers many names and images that teams could proudly wear and fans could proudly cheer:
The Cleveland Commandos
The Kansas City Cavalry
The New Jersey GIs
The Louisville Snipers
The Green Bay Green Berets
The Florida State SEALs
The Georgia Grunts
The Indiana Infantry
The Tennessee Tunnel Rats
The possibilities are almost endless, limited only by a lack of imagination and patriotism.
Just think of all the marketing opportunities: foam M-16s instead of tomahawks, camouflage paint instead of war paint, cheap Medals of Honor instead of faux headdresses. Imagine an admiral doing a funky admiral’s dance, or a general riding a mock missile, to rally his team to victory.
No one could take offense at these mascots. Instead of minorities complaining about their cultures being appropriated, we’d have a clear majority backing us. There’d be no more concern about “blackface” or “redface” because everyone would be in “camo-face.”
"The Louisville Snipers mow down their enemies in a hail of bodies."
But wait … there’s no need to restrict the tributes to our own troops. If folks abroad are bold enough to challenge our military might, they deserve to have teams named after them, too.
So let’s form the North Dakota Nazis, the Kentucky Kamikazes, the Chicago Commies and the Virginia Viet Cong. So what if these forces opposed America? So did the Indians, and now we honor them.
Say what you will about our foes, but they were fierce, tough and relentless. Mascoting them will show our respect for their fighting spirit. It’s time to put Pearl Harbor, D-Day and the Tet Offensive behind us and celebrate our common warrior heritage.
We might even bring peace and democracy to today’s troubled war zones. How? By turning fanatics into sports fanatics. What radical Islamist wouldn’t warm to a team named the Idaho Insurgents, the Jacksonville Jihadis or the Tampa Bay Taliban?
Let’s stop squabbling about who’s right or wrong. Instead of playing the blame game, let’s just play ball.
Many of us are attached to our “savage” mascots and don’t want to give them up. But our soldiers have made the ultimate sacrifice for us, so why can’t we make this small sacrifice for them? Anyone who’s a real American will support the troops—on the playing field.
Sports fans clamor for real heroes--e.g., our troops--as their mascots.
Ramone Romero is an artist and writer who lives in Osaka, Japan, with his family. Rob Schmidt is a writer and blogger who lives in Los Angeles. Learn more about Indian mascots at http://newspaperrock.bluecorncomics.com.
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