We here at USA TODAY High School Sports love a good-natured debate. Every Wednesday starting today, we'll invite you into our sometimes serious, sometimes light-hearted (but always passionate) takes on various topics that pertain to high school sports. In future weeks, we'll feature responses from high school athletes, and we invite everyone to sound off in the comments and on Twitter and Facebook. Go ahead, tell us why we're wrong. We'll try not to take it personally.
QUESTION: WHAT'S THE BEST HIGH SCHOOL MASCOT?
Jim Halley, Reporter
My two all-time favorite high school mascots are the Cairo (Ga.) Syrupmakers and the Poca (W.Va.) Dots. To have a great mascot, it has to be memorable, unique and appropriate. Plus, you have to be able to back a great nickname up with a decent team.
Cairo, pronounced (Kay-Ro), not like the city in Egypt, made it to the state semifinals last season and won the state title in 2008 and 1990. The mascot is actually a pitcher, as in a pitcher of syrup, and is named because a Roddenberry's Syrup plant was once located in Cairo.
Poca tied for its first state football title in 1950 and won it outright in 1977, 1994, 2001, 2002 and 2003. The Dots were named by a Charleston, W.Va., sportswriter (nothing wrong with that) in 1928. They have a crazy red dot as their mascot.
Jason Jordan, Reporter
This one is easy for me. It’s Watersmeet (Mich.), the home of the Nimrods. That’s by far the most random high school mascot I’ve ever heard of, and that makes it the best in my eyes.
Sarah Gearhart, Reporter
It's hard to choose the best high school mascot, so I'll go with atypical and creative. Hats off to the Camas (Wash.) Papermakers. Now, I typically associate mascots with bears, bulls, birds, reptiles and mythical beings. But a paper-making man? Nah. Camas' mascot, the Mean Machine, is a humanized red, black and white mechanical paper-rolling machine. Really. The town's founding industry is in paper production, dating back to 1883. Despite the influx of high-tech industries, the mill remains Camas' main employer. So basically the mascot's unwavering lineage doesn't back down to the big dogs. I like it.
Scott Allen, Content Producer
Covering high school sports in Wyoming for two years, I came across a lot of interesting mascots. The Newcastle Dogies. The Big Piney Punchers. The Farson Pronghorns (a nod to the state’s most common road kill, which is similar to an antelope). The best mascot, though, is the Doggers of Lingle-Fort Laramie. In rodeo, the dogger, or bull-dogger, is the contestant who attempts to wrestle a steer. Doggers are tough, the name is unique and it's so perfectly Wyoming.
David Scott, Content Manager
The most unique mascot I have ever heard of is Dots. Yes, the Poca Dots of Poca, West Virginia. Now that is creative. But the best mascot in high school sports has to be the Bulldogs. The Bulldog is one of the most commonly used mascots in high school sports and I understand why. Have you ever looked a Bulldog in the face? I didn’t think so. Those dogs look mean. Half the battle in sports is the intimidation factor and what is more intimidating than a Bulldog?
Tell us in the comments or @USATODAYhss: What's the best high school mascot?