The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Warming up to the red, white and blue HEAT

by Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher/Owner

19 January 2005

The new name for the West Central School has sparked much interest among the Henderson County residents. Especially when many thought the name "Patriot" would be selected. It turned out that it wasn't even a choice when it came time for the students to vote. One resident said there was some discussions during a recent basketball game over what to call the West Central cheerleaders with a mascot like "Heat" to contend with. All I can say, is:" When you're hot you're hot, and when you're not you're not." I can see, for the love of sports, that a name needs to be aggressive, not passive.

Perhaps the name "Patriots" meaning one who loves his country, had just too calm of a sound to it to get a team and the fans stirred up into action, although I would have approved it. Not so with "heat," fire, or flame, which all starts with a "spark."

I recall a regular chant by the cheerleaders throughout the years, "Let's get fired up!" Now that chant will have even more meaning with the name West Central's HEAT. It could even draw more interest at their bonfires during Homecoming.

After a new logo is selected which could be anything from WEST CENTRAL letters on fire to a blazing fire truck, I suppose the next thing to consider is the loyalty song we can all lay claim to. For ideas, you could listen to the songs for Illinois and all the other big ten schools on the web at . My personal favorite is the Illini Loyalty song, but I am sure some one will have to "pump up the volume" for a more blazing tune to entice the HEAT fans.

Browsing the MIAMI HEAT web site is interesting. They actually have a mascot that reminds you of Sesame Street's Ernie only he is called "Burnie". He is a bit redesigned with a basketball for a nose, but he says he loves clowning with the fans and they love him. Then there is their 1999 purchase of - the Fireball Express - which they believe to be "the premier interactive vehicle in the NBA. It is an actual 1952 fire truck that was "redesigned" to contain multiple full-size baskets, water cannons, a stereo system and other fun elements, is portability so that people of all ages can enjoy shooting hoops in a casual and spirited environment," according to their information. I believe their main purpose with it is to promote their team. They allow you to book the HEAT Fireball Express for your special events. For West Central, this could be a good idea for athletic fund-raisers, or for a mascot like "Burnie" or for managers to use to water down the team to avoid burnout.

The more you look at it, I think we in the Southern-Union School districts will warm up to the new school mascot and name. Why, already, it is a hot topic" in the county and I say, "Let's keep the fire burning," "Let's turn up the heat," and let's continue to be the hottest topic in west central Illinois in consolidation, education, in cooperation, as well as in sports.