Young Runs

Young Runs Enthusiast

Why it is the Stanford Cardinal and Not the Stanford Cardinals?

Why it is the Stanford Cardinal and Not the Stanford Cardinals?

Each and every football season there is something that drives me nuts. Seriously this really bothers me.

When Notre Dame plays Stanford I have to hear the announcers tell me that the Stanford Cardinal made their way up the field. There are eleven players on any offensive unit, not just one player. Cardinal is singular. Cardinals is plural. Would Cardinals not make more sense when describing a unit of 11 individuals making their way up the field?

I just do not get it. It literally drives me batty every time I hear it. Was it the whole team that made their way up the field or just one of them? And if so, which one?

Thankfully wikipedia.org gives me a little insight into why this is. It still does not make sense to me but I will let you decide.

In 1892 after a big win over Cal, Stanford adopted the color of cardinal as their primary color. Up until 1972, they were known as the Indians. At that time a group of Indian students took up a petition to change their name since the current one was offensive to them.

The University listened and from 1972 until 1981 their official name was the Cardinals.

The name apparently was never a reference to the bird just the color.

In 1981, the then Stanford present who was thinking way too hard on the subject, declared that they would be thereafter referred to as the Stanford Cardinal in singular form.

Why is this necessary? I think if I were a sportscaster assigned to cover one of their games I would have to take a stand. I would let the powers of be know that it will be my intention that when I reference one person on the team I will, in fact, refer to him as a Cardinal but when I refer to a group of players I will refer to them as the Cardinals. Simply doing otherwise is just silly and I obviously do not have time for much silliness.

Every adult must adhere to their own personal belief system or their life will be without honor.

Unfortunately this research led me to another huge problem with Stanford’s team name and mascot.

They do not have a mascot. Why not?

At times their logo will have a tree in the middle of it. Other times it is just a big “S”. The Stanford Tree is actually a member of the band who is dressed up as, well, what else, a tree. This tree is actually based on one particular tree which has a name, El Palo Alto, which is a redwood tree in Palo Alto.

Even though many people consider the “tree” their mascot it is not officially their mascot.

Stanford is a very highly respected college and you have to be smart to attend. You would think that a group of highly intelligent people would not have so many issues with naming their sports team or picking a mascot.

Perhaps now you will think differently.

I am thinking that using a tree would be actually a good thing if you have an exceptionally tough defense and you want to stress their immovability.

It does not work quite so well on the offensive side of things. Saying that running back was as fast as a tree, or that a wide receiver zipped across the field like a tree, just does not sound right.