Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Oakland County's Best Nickname?

Almost all of us involved with prep sports in the O-C have considered it -- who owns Oakland County's best high school nickname?

It's not simply pick & choose and put it to bed -- that's the east way out. Who's has the most history and tradition? Which nickname is the most original? What's played out? Which name strikes the fear in opponents?

There's so many considerations and so little time...here's a few to consider. Don't agree? Shoot me a note and tell me so!

Most Original: The now-closed Royal Oak Dondero and it's predecessor, Royal Oak High, takes the cake in my book. Until 1956, there was one high school in Royal Oak and they were known as the Acorns. When the district split into two high schools, the Acorns of RO High grew into mighty Oaks of Dondero High School. The Oaks...that's a keeper.

Most Tradition: Does it get any better than the Maples of Birmingham Seaholm? There's simply something about that title that evokes thoughts of crisp, fall evenings, a stadium loudspeaker crackling against the autumn leaves and popcorn and pizza steaming from the concession stand. Plus the Maples have about 100 years of football history.

Most Fitting Name To The School It Adorns: Clarkston High's Wolves. Of course, Athletic Director and Boys' basketball Coach Dan Fife is a letterman and graduate of the University of Michigan, so the easy thought is to say Fife played follow the leaders (the leaders and best?). the truth is Clarkston is at the northern reaches of the county and the school simply wears the title well. It wouldn't surprise anyone to find wolves in Clarkston, and many a team has been clawed by Wolves clad in Clarkston's blue n' gold.

Most Played Out: Knights -- way too many Knights! Bloomfield Hills Lahser, Royal Oak Shrine, Royal Oak Kimball, Oak Park, plus all the ancillary titles, like Lancers, Barons and everyone else from Medieval Times. As Jim Carrey is quoted in The Cable Guy, "The blue knight sucks; The red knights rules!"

Most Disingenuous: Redskins. Unlike Eastern Michigan University, who acquiesced to the PC-Police of the 1990s when the school's Huron identity was questioned, Redskins is derogatory simply for the name Red-Skins. Both Milford and Oak Park High eliminated Redskins in favor of Milford's Mavericks and Oak Park's Knights -- good move.

Best Import: Here's an easy one, the Shamrocks of Detroit/Redford/Novi Catholic Central. The Shams! The Rocks! Both live and die for CC High.

Most Obvious Choice: South Lyon would be cryin' if they weren't the Lions. It's always a good time out at The Jungle on Pontiac Trail.

Author's Favorite: That would go to the Colts of Troy High School. As their student body is oft quoted, "We Are...T-C!"

Here's 10 nicknames from the tri-county area that are my personal favorites: Dearborn Fordson Tractors, Dearborn Edsel Ford Thunderbirds, Detroit Pershing Doughboys, Royal Oak Dondero Oaks, Detroit Denby Tars, Grosse Pointe South Blue Devils, Detroit Catholic Central Shamrocks, Allen Park Cabrini Monarchs, Utica High Chieftains, Warren Lincoln Abes & a bonus selection: The Mount Clemens Battlin' Bathers!

~ T.C. Cameron is the author of Metro Detroit's High School Football Rivalries, available from Arcadia Publishing at major retailers.


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