Humanity remains embroiled in thorny racial, religious and international problems, so it’s a relief to consider the seven-year battle over the Laguna Beach High School team name, because it’s a non-homicidal controversy — so far — and I’ve got the solution.
For those of you from out of town, the Laguna Beach High School sports teams were called the Artists for many years and then changed their name to the Breakers. Some alumni became irate about the change to Breakers and there’s been skirmishing about it ever since.
My son Keaton was on the high school football team in the ’90s, when it was still the Artists, and it’s true that he and his teammates on that under-populated squad weren’t wild about the name. It’s painful enough for a 135-pounder to get run over several times a game without being called an Artist.
Of course, as a longtime baseball fan I can testify that you don’t need a tough name to play a tough game. Mildly named teams have often been World Series champions. Look at the Padres. Look at the Cubs. Well, look at the Cardinals, then.
But my informal survey, made when Keaton attended LBHS and again when Katie went, revealed that the kids who cared one way or another preferred “Breakers” — not so much because “Breakers” exactly rocked, but because it improved upon the under-fiery “Artists.”
I myself have no prejudice against artists. But I can’t endorse it as applied to a sports team. Artists are individuals. You put a bunch of artists together and tell them to go out there and beat El Segundo, and they’re likely to wander off in 33 different directions.
There is talk of using the name Breakers for the sports teams and Artists for more general student body identification. Sounds like a good compromise. But if it falls through, I have an ideal all-purpose name:
The Mixed Martial Artists.
You have to admit it could hardly be tougher, while retaining the noun so important to some. Might even contribute to a win or two. Just typing it out intimidates me.
If there’s any kind of prize for resolving this issue I’ll be happy to accept it or its cash equivalent.
Now on to that Middle Eastern situation.
SHERWOOD KIRALY is a Laguna Beach resident. He has written four novels, three of which were critically acclaimed. His novel, “Diminished Capacity,” is now available in bookstores, and the film version is available on DVD.