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Why it is the Stanford Cardinal and Not the Stanford Cardinals?
Every football season there is something that drives me crazy. Seriously it really bothers me.
When Notre Dame plays at Stanford, I have to hear the announcers telling me that the Stanford Cardinal has made his way onto the field. There are eleven players in any offensive unit, not just one player. Cardinal is singular. Cardinals are plural. Wouldn’t Cardinals make more sense when describing a unit of 11 individuals advancing through the field?
I just do not get it. It literally drives me crazy every time I hear it. Was it the whole team that rose through the ranks or just one of them? And if so, which one?
Fortunately, wikipedia.org gives me a little insight into why. It still doesn’t make sense to me but I’ll let you decide.
In 1892, after a big win over Cal, Stanford adopted the cardinal’s color as its primary color. Until 1972 they were known as Indians. At that time, a group of Indian students started a petition to change their name, as the current one was offensive to them.
The University listened and from 1972 to 1981 their official name was Cardinals.
The name was apparently never a reference to the bird, just the color.
In 1981, the then Stanford present, who thought far too much on the subject, declared that he would thereafter be referred to as Stanford’s cardinal in the singular.
Why is it necessary? I think if I was a sportscaster assigned to cover one of their games, I would have to take a stand. I would let the powers of being know that my intention will be that when I refer to one person on the team, I will actually call them a Cardinal, but when I refer to a group of players, I will call them the Cardinals . To simply do otherwise is just stupid and I obviously don’t have time for a lot of nonsense.
Every adult must adhere to their own belief system or their life will be without honor.
Unfortunately, this research led me to another huge problem with the Stanford team name and mascot.
They don’t have a mascot. Why not?
Sometimes their logo will have a tree in the middle. Other times it’s just a capital “S”. The Stanford Tree is actually a band member who is dressed as, well, what else, a tree. This tree is actually based on a particular tree that has a name, El Palo Alto, which is a sequoia in Palo Alto.
Although many people consider “the tree” to be their mascot, it is not officially their mascot.
Stanford is a highly respected university and one has to be smart to attend. You’d think a group of very smart people wouldn’t have so much trouble naming their sports team or choosing a mascot.
Maybe now you will think differently.
I think using a tree would actually be a good thing if you have an exceptionally tough defense and want to emphasize their immobility.
It doesn’t work as well on the offensive side of things. To say that the running back was as fast as a tree, or that a wide receiver crossed the field like a tree, just doesn’t ring true.
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