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Speak now, or forever hold your Banana Slugs

When I was born, my dad suggested a pair of names for me. Neither passed the mom test, so I'll never know how I would have fared as John Wayne Cline or Johnny Cash Cline. But I'm assuming life would have been a little different than it was for a boy named Todd.

It's a daunting task coming up with a name, a moniker that will stick with you for life. What name best fits, and will it work as well tomorrow as it does today?

Those are questions parents face every day, but colleges not so much. Except when said college is in its infancy, like Georgia Gwinnett College, and a mascot and nickname are needed.

The college, unlike many prospective parents, is open to suggestions. And it wants to know: Will you remember the Titans? Or the Terriers? Or (in a bit of foreshadowing) the Toll Booths?

This is your chance, so take advantage. Because one day, years from now, when the GGC Whooping Cranes (or is it Construction Cranes?) are playing for a national title, you won't be able to complain if you didn't cast a vote. You have your chance through the end of the month, and all you have to do is go to www.ggc.usg.edu/mascot.php and weigh in with your suggestion.

The Student Government Association will pick five submissions, which the students will vote on. They'll then send the top three vote-getters to President Daniel Kaufman for the final selection. The plan is for the mascot to be named Feb. 29.

The last time Gwinnettians had this chance, it produced some fun suggestions for the local professional hockey team. Although Gladiators won out, the thought of having a team called the Gwinnett Paltrows was pretty amusing - and would have sold plenty of T-shirts.

But choosing a mascot for a college may be even more daunting. Can you imagine the University of Georgia without a bulldog, Georgia Tech without a yellow jacket or Alabama without an elephant, even though the teams are called the Crimson Tide?

OK, that last one was a bad example. Or maybe it was a good one for the type of thing GGC needs to avoid.

In my opinion, the trick to this thing is being unique without being silly. There are enough teams called Lions and Tigers and Bears to make you scream "oh my." But do you really want to be the Stormy Petrels (sorry Oglethorpe) or the Banana Slugs (like California-Santa Cruz)?

You remember the crazy ones, though, I'll admit that. I grew up in Illinois where three high schools stood out - the Fisher Bunnies, the Teutoplis Wooden Shoes and the New Berlin Pretzels. Guess it's not really that far of a reach from Stormy Petrels to Salty Pretzels.

So what's it going to be for GGC? Something old-fashioned (Patriots), something new (the 316s), something borrowed (do we need more Falcons?) or something out of the blue (Gila Monsters might be cool)?

The suggestions are up to you. And the T-shirts can't be far behind.

E-mail Todd Cline at todd.cline@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Tuesdays.