The loudest buzz around the Midcoast of late has undoubtedly been the consolidating of Rockland District High School and Georges Valley High School of Thomaston into one, with a new school presumably to be built in the not too distant future.

There are many schools of thought when it comes to this impending consolidation, none more important it seems than what the school will be called, what will the new mascot be and what will happen to the old colors from both schools?

VillageSoup Associate Editor Steve Betts poked fun at some of these questions in a column last week, and, while I normally make it a point to never take myself too seriously, I have some thoughts on this matter that I wish to share.

I wrote a column about a year ago about how Maine is completely overrun with the same mascots, none bigger than the Tigers and Eagles. There are currently 12 schools that have Eagles as mascots and nine that have Tigers.

I mused that wouldn’t it be great if some schools would just come together and be a little more creative with their choices of mascots. Of the more than 150 high school mascots used throughout the state, 31 are duplicates. Including Buccaneers and Tigers.

Doesn’t this seem to be the perfect scenario to start anew?

Listen, I get it. Being a Rockland District High School graduate myself, I too had dreams of my son or daughter growing up and playing athletics for the Tigers. And I also understand that we, as a society, fear change. But why does everything always have to be done in the sake of tradition? New traditions will never start until old traditions come to an end.

No one is taking away Rockland’s 1992 boys state Class B basketball championship. I was 11 years old and I was there. It happened. No one is taking away its 1989 state Class B baseball championship either, or the state Class B cheering title from 2003. And for the record, no one is taking away the state Class C title the Georges Valley girls soccer team won this past season or its back-to-back softball titles won in recent years either or coach Sam Pendleton’s eight state crowns. Those things are forever in the record books and they will never change.

But we live in a progressive country, not a regressive one. We should be looking forward, not backward. Do you think people who are living in Russia right now are sitting around talking about how much better they all had it when it was the Soviet Union? I doubt it.

So we move forward with the consolidation, great. What next? Well, now we have to pick school colors. Look, there are not a lot of colors to pick from people. Orange is Rockland’s most recognizable color, green is Georges Valley’s. Why not just go with their secondary colors, black and white? What’s wrong with that?

As far as the name of the school? Why not combine the names and call it Valley Rock High School? Or Rock Valley High School? Those sound better to me than some generic sounding name like Penobscot Bay High School or Midcoast High School. Both communities keep a small bit of their history, but get to move forward and can begin to make some history of their own. Why are we making this so hard?

For the record, there are 122 professional sports franchises in the United States today, and Maine high schools are only using 30 of those names as mascots. Just off the top of my head a handful that would seem to work would be the Bulls, Grizzlies, Chargers, Broncos, Kings, Rockets the Athletics and many more.

What about the Blues? The St. Louis Blues are an National Hockey League franchise and we hold the North Atlantic Blues Festival here every year. What’s wrong with that? You don’t like that? Fine. We’ll rival the Windjammers of Camden Hills and we’ll call them the Lobster Boats.

What really cracks me up is when people say they don’t want the consolidation to happen because “it will be so weird that we don’t have a school anymore.”

Okay, here’s a legitimate question. Unless your son or daughter actually goes to your former high school, or you work for the school in one capacity or another, when was the last time you went back there? Why do people feel the need to hold onto something such as a tangible structure like it holds within it all the memories from their pasts? So people can drive by and see the school and reminisce about the way things used to be? The schools don’t hold those things, the former students and teachers do.

Look, I have a lot of wonderful memories of my times at Rockland District High School, but it had little to do with the building itself. It had to do with the relationships I had, the friendships I made, the education I received and the lessons I learned.

And in 5 to 10 years when a new school is hopefully built and my son is old enough to care about where he will be going to high school, I hope he looks up at me and says “Dad I can’t wait to play basketball for the Rock Valley Kings.”

Hey, I’m not saying it’s the answer. I’m just saying it has a nice ring to it. And if we’re not going to be Tigers, and we’re not going to be the Buccaneers, let’s think outside the box and come up with a school name and mascot that our children would be proud to call their own.

VillageSoup Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached by phone at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at mhaskell@villagesoup.com.