NCAA Tourney

first_imgFor those of you waiting for March Madness, it starts big time today!  It is not a good year for Indiana colleges.  Only Purdue made Division I this year.  Purdue begins their journey today with a tough opponent in Old Dominion.One thing hasn’t changed in the NCAA selections.  Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, and Gonzaga are #1’s again this year.  In the last 5 years, you could have written this down 2 months ago and probably would have had good odds of it coming true.  Personally, I would not be unhappy if none of the 4 were playing in April this year.Make sure your cable bill is paid and your TV is working fine.  In the next 4 days you can watch at least 48 hours of basketball!last_img read more

COMMENTARY: It’s time to discuss gendered mascots in sports

first_img Bio Ellsworth runners compete in virtual Boston Marathon – September 16, 2020 Latest Posts Latest posts by Mike Mandell (see all) Every two weeks, Mike Mandell gives his thoughts on the sports scene in Ellsworth, Hancock County and beyond.A little less than a month ago, the state of Maine was brought to a standstill as the annual high school basketball tournament took place in Bangor, Augusta and Portland. It was an event that involved teams from all corners of the state, and as a sports journalist and avid basketball fan, I found myself intrigued by even the games that didn’t involve local teams.During my drive home from work one Thursday evening, one of those games came on the radio. In most cases, announcers introducing the teams isn’t a particularly memorable part of the broadcast, and that’s especially true when you aren’t there to see it happen. This time, though, was different.“And now, we’re about set for the day’s second girls’ Class D North semifinal,” the voice over the radio said. “It’s the Washburn Beavers against the Shead Tigerettes.”It was the last two words of that announcement that were particularly striking. The Tigerettes? It just seemed like an unnecessary attempt to differentiate between boys’ and girls’ teams in the sense that it was a word being invented out of thin air to single out the girls. It really made me think.This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textA few issues came into in play here. First, it should be noted that, like most high schools, the Shead girls’ basketball team is an enormous source of pride for folks in Eastport and the surrounding towns. Despite the school having one of the state’s smallest graduating classes, the Shead girls won the Class D title in last season and fell just short of winning it again this year. No one other than the Shead fans, coaches and players the name represents has any right to tell them what to do with it. If “Tigerettes” is the name that community wants to use, the rest of us have no power to change that. Nor should we.Yet that doesn’t mean the topic doesn’t warrant discussion. Around the country, high schools and universities are dropping the use of gendered sport mascots. The use of these mascots is also a problem for media outlets because — despite what reservations sports writers might have —  mascot names are what they are. Still, whether these names are used in their official capacities or just colloquially, editorial boards at various newspapers have made a variety of different decisions on how to handle the matter.Even the University of Tennessee — a university that boasts some of the most decorated and prestigious women’s athletics teams in the entire world — has found itself embroiled in controversy about the matter. Despite significant backlash, Tennessee two years ago made the decision to officially drop the term “Lady Vols” from every women’s sports team except basketball. Even that team would have had its name changed if not for its powerful brand and prominent place in the sport’s history.Still, gendered mascots present problems by merely existing. Nearly 100 percent of schools that use names such as “Lady Vols,” “Lady Bears” or anything along those lines don’t use gendered words to refer to the men’s teams. By presenting teams in these ways, these schools make it seem as if male athletes inherently own the mascot names. It also implies that, without gender-specific prefixes, female athletes fall short of a supposed “standard” required to use these mascot names simply because they’re women. It’s sexist and wrong.It’s wrong scientifically, too; bears are bears regardless of if they are male or female, and adding gender-specific prefixes to that only complicates matters. In some instances, such mascots have included “Lady Bulls” and “Lady Stallions.” Even if you were to wrongly fail to consider their sexist natures, such names are biologically impossible. Bulls and stallions are male forms of their respective species.Sure, most schools that drop the “Lady” prefix or names such as “Raiderettes” are bound to receive some sort of backlash along the way. Nevertheless, it’s rather difficult for outsiders to see sports as equal for people of both sexes unless schools reconsider how they name their teams.There will still be questions to be answered — for instance, how should names like “Cowboys” and “Cowgirls” be handled? — but those questions shouldn’t reshape the entire nature of the discussion. What matters is that teams and schools with these names talk about the issue, and those that do so will create more equal, positive atmospheres because of it.center_img Mike MandellMike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at Hospice volunteers help families navigate grief and find hope – September 12, 2020 MPA approves golf, XC, field hockey, soccer; football, volleyball moved to spring – September 10, 2020last_img read more