When Farmington High School opens next year, its sports programs will take to competition with a potentially embarrassing mascot emblazoned on their athletic gear. Students already chose the "Phoenix" as their mascot in a school-wide vote, but one dad in the small Utah city is concerned that the pluralized version of the mythical creature (phoenices) bears a problematic phonetic resemblance to the word "penises."
Writing in a Change.org petition, Kyle Fraughton laments that the lingual coincidence could be weaponized to harass young athletes when they shoot free throws and swing bats. Fraughton says he made the discovery while learning new cheers in preparation for next year's athletic competitions.
"We cheered, 'Go Phoenixes!' However, it didn't sound right to us, so we looked online to makes sure that we were saying the pluralized word of Phoenix correctly," he wrote in the petition. "We quickly discovered that although Phoenixes is an acceptable way to say it, another pluralization is Phoenices. So we changed our cheer to, 'Go Phoenices!' Which is when the concern began to set in."
The concern, according to Fraughton, is that uninvited taunts from opposing schools would be spurred on by the Phoenices' name alone.
"We were horrified to hear that the phonetics of the word Phoenices are far too close to the word penises," he wrote. "I don’t mean to be crass, but don’t want there to be confusion around the point I am trying to make."
So Fraughton started a petition to spread awareness about the potential dilemma, and it's garnered nearly 3,000 signatures since going live on November 10. Fraughton told the Salt Lake City Tribune that when it comes to his online advocacy, he has his own children's best interest in mind.
"I have no interest in my daughter or my son playing sports and getting referred to as something like a penis," he said, per the report.
But despite his attempts at saving his kids from an association with physical anatomy, the school's top brass says it has no intention of changing its now questionable mascot. Principal Richard Swanson noted in a statement that the Phoenix would be referenced in its singular form, despite Fraughton's fears.
“We are one...We are The Phoenix," the principal's statement read, according to the paper.
[h/t Salt Lake Tribune via Deadspin]