The Daily Interlake / Kalispell, Montana
A few questions come to mind when considering the school boards decisions on the Glacier High School mascot: Why delay the final choice of the Wolfpack name? And what's up with those colors?
The second question seems to be the one with the most discussion since school trustees chose navy blue and green as the official colors for Kalispell's new school.
Have you ever seen a blue wolf? How about a green wolf? Or perhaps a blue-and-green wolf?
Actually, many of us probably haven't seen any color wolf they tend to be elusive denizens of the wild but were pretty sure even wolf researchers have never come across them in those shades.
Gray, black or white are the real colors of a wolf, not green or blue. And of course, the wolf is carnivorous, so it is associated with red meat. So you might think the ideal Wolfpack colors would be gray and red, perhaps.
But color schemes apparently are selected completely separate from the mascot that makes sense, doesn't it? Therefore mascot colors are based on fashion parameters rather than wildlife biology, so any connection between school hues and forest reality is purely coincidental.
One more quibble about color: One of the ground rules in the mascot/color discussions was to try not to compete with other schools. So why do we have green (Whitefish's color) paired with blue (the color for Columbia Falls, Bigfork and Libby)?
Now, as to the name itself. It makes some sense, especially if you rule out Grizzlies because it is already in use by the University of Montana. That will certainly make it easier for both readers and headline writers to keep the teams straight.
And, of course, the name has plenty of significance for a team playing in Northwest Montana. In fact, the rationale presented by one person who nominated that mascot choice bears repeating:
I really like the name Glacier Wolf Pack. A wolf doesn't survive alone for very long, a pack must work together for survival. This translates well to teams, school pride, etc. The wolf was very important to the Native Americans (i.e., the Flathead Braves) and had a great role in their daily lives. The wolves were known to Native Americans as teachers or pathfinders and the Native Americans followed them to find food. Wolves are fiercely loyal to their (team)mates, and have strong senses to family (school) while maintaining individualism. Wolves and Indians had become close friends and good partners. Wolves and Indians were interlocked spiritually, mentally and physically.
That all makes sense. There are two things about the boards decision that concern us, however.
First of all, we wonder whether the school board is being overly sensitive in waiting a month to see if Wolfpack passes the test of community political correctness.
Yes, wolves kill animals. But so do bears and avalanches and wolverines. So what? The mystique of many mascots is linked to fierce, aggressive behavior, so the Wolfpack is perfectly appropriate.
Besides, the specter of the big, bad wolf in Western lore should be considered an advantage, not a stumbling block. If we want a milquetoast, politically correct mascot, then we should be cheering for the Glacier Lilies.
But that doesn't fit the mandated color scheme, so it looks like well have to be content with a powerful animal mascot that unfortunately will be dressed in colors not found in nature.
And finally, our last concern: If we agree on Wolfpack as the name, can we also agree to spell it correctly as two words? Its absurd to think that a high school would be teaching students to spell words correctly in class, but then encouraging them to misspell them in extracurricular activities.
Yes, we know other teams have chosen the illiterate version of Wolf Pack for their mascot, but that's no excuse to go along. If we are going to be wolves, then lets be wise ones.