Some of the most iconic figures go by only one name.
Prince. Cher. Godzilla.
Calaveras High School is now on the list.
No longer will Calaveras have Redskins as the school mascot. It will simply be known as, Calaveras.
For non sports talk, being just Calaveras doesn’t change much. It is easy for a student to say, “I go to Calaveras.” But in the sports world, it makes sense to refer to a school by its mascot.
But Calaveras head coach Jason Weatherby is used to telling people where he coaches.
“When I get asked where I coach, I don’t say, ‘I coach the Calaveras Redskins, I coach at Calaveras High School,’” Weatherby said. “So that, to me, is bigger than the Redskins name. To create pride in something like the name Redskins, it means something when it’s gone, but does it mean everything? No. You are still at Calaveras High School.”
With the name “Redskin” being controversial and offensive to some, Calaveras made the decision that many other schools have made.
So on Friday night, when Calaveras takes the field against El Capitan in Merced, it will not be the Redskins playing. Just Calaveras.
“It bothers me a little bit because the name Redskins is the name we are used to having for the last three years,” said senior lineman Anthony Ciolino. “There was a tradition to being called the Redskins and we still feel it, but it’s not the same, just being Calaveras.”
For some players, being able to call themselves Redskins was a rite of passage. Many players grew up wanting to be Redskins and to be a part of the Calaveras Redskin tradition.
“When they took the name away, it was kind of a stab to all of our hearts,” said senior lineman/linebacker Nick Quinday. “We’ve gone through Pop Warner and high school knowing that we are Jr. Redskins or Redskins. When they took it away, it took a little bit of us away. We feel like Redskins at heart, but we can’t call ourselves that on the field.”
But changing a name is not as simple as a new letterhead and putting new stickers on the front door of the school’s office. The Calaveras football program has close to 100 jerseys that have the name Redskins on its front.
Buying new uniforms is costly and the program is responsible for its own funding. The varsity team gets new uniforms every four years. Calaveras is currently in the third year and is set to replace them for the 2018 season.
But that doesn’t mean the old ones will be taken to the dump. It’s a hand-me-down system. The junior varsity will get the old varsity jerseys and the freshman will get the JV ones. That trend will continue every four years. So the varsity uniforms that will be worn for the next two years, will remain in the program until 2026.
There is a plan to replace the word “Redskin” on the scoreboard at Frank Meyer Field with High School. So the scoreboard will read “Calaveras High School.” But the Redskin logo will remain on the board.
The problem with replacing the word Redskin is that the scoreboard is so old, the manufacturer is out of business, according to Calaveras athletic director Mike Koepp. So finding a proper way to make the change has been a difficult process.
Shakespeare asked, “Would a rose by any other name not smell as sweet?” So does removing a name really change things that much?
“You can take the name away, but you can’t take the pride away that we have for the school and everything we stand for,” said Weatherby.
For the 14 Calaveras seniors, they are the first non-Redskin class. But for Ciolino, he knows how he’ll remember the name of his high school.
“I’ll always be a Calaveras Redskin,” he said.