SCARBOROUGH — Two elections ago, some Scarborough High School alumni’s nostalgia for the school’s retired athletics nickname, the Redskins, led to a referendum question that failed at the polls.
Now, it’s inspired a T-shirt.
An exact replica of an original shirt, the red tee is adorned with “Scarborough Redskins.” A large image of the school’s former mascot, an American Indian, is printed on the front of the shirt being sold by Jack Flaherty of Flaherty Family Farms & Greenhouse on Payne Road.
Flaherty, the only retailer selling the shirts, said he’s on his third order – a double order this time – and estimated he’s sold more than a couple hundred for about $10 to $12 each since he began offering them sometime after they were introduced last spring at his 50th class reunion.
“They’re going out the door pretty fast,” he said. “They’re a hot item.”
The Redskins nickname was changed at the request of an American Indian activist in 2000 – the same year the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights opposed the use of Native American images and nicknames as sports symbols. Red Storm was chosen as a replacement.
More than a year ago, a group of alumni began a petition to bring back the original name. Town councilors voted to include a referendum question on the November 2008 ballot, but the language was modified simply to ask voters whether they wanted to change the nickname from Red Storm to something else. The non-binding referendum failed by 302 votes, 5,398 to 5,096.
But preparations for last year’s reunion rekindled the old memories. The first replica T-shirts were to be worn during the festivities. According to Bruce Bell, of Beech Ridge Road, Brown Fox Printing needed 25 alumni orders to print up the first batch.
“Once the T-shirts were delivered, it’s like somebody lit the fuse of a rocket,” he said. “It took off from there and now everybody wants one of those shirts because it’s memorabilia.”
Since the reunion order, Initially Yours on Payne Road has printed the shirts.
While delighted by the popularity of the shirts, Bell said he has no plans to push for another petition drive, though he said if others were interested he “sure would be willing to support them.”
In the meantime, Flaherty said he’s received no complaints and he plans “to carry (the shirts) as long as they’re moving.”
“There is still a lot of feeling around town that the name should not have been changed,” he said.
Peggy Roberts can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Flaherty Family Farms & Greenhouse is selling a T-shirt design based on the original Scarborough High School mascot, the Redskins. Modeling the shirts are employees Joy Bamford, left, and Carrie Henrikson on either side of store owner Jack Flaherty.