March 18, 2002 11:00 pm

La Grande High School may well be on its way to a second straight all-activities trophy in Oregons Class 3A ranks. The school is flexing its muscles in numerous sports and activities, from soccer and basketball to swimming and a district sweep in mock trial. And still ahead are spring sports as well as contests featuring the defending 3A state champion choir and band.

State TITLES are difficult to come by, and repeat championships are extremely rare. La Grande High can take pride in the performances and efforts of most of its teams, but few shine brighter than the swim team. The boys swim team has managed to do what few teams ever do win back-to-back state championships. The significance of this cannot be understated.

La Grande swimmers won an individual state title, a relay title and two seconds, not to mention a lot of other great performances that helped their team amass the points needed for a state title. The teams performance two years in a row is a credit to the athletes and the coach.

La Grandes swimmers have set the bar high for future teams. Other schools will be eyeing the Tigers at next years meets, and especially at district and state. The Tiger swimmers can take pride in what they have accomplished. They have swum their way to the envy of every other 3A team in the state. That says a lot about the kids and the program.

The La Grande community can be proud of what its students have managed to do in state competition. Consistently strong showings reflect a desire to excel. Thats good for the kids, the school and the community.


The school mascot controversy that has existed around the country took another step this past week when an intramural team at the University of Northern Colorado named itself the Fighting Whities. At the same time the University of Illinois is debating what to do about its mascot, Chief Illiniwek.

The Fighting Whities name is a product of an American Indian team that is upset with a local schools use of an Indian caricature for its Reds logo. The Fighting Whities motto is, Every thangs going to be all white. The name, said team member Ray White, puts people in our shoes.

At Illinois, the schools trustees dont understand why American Indians object to the use of the fun-loving Chief Illiniwek as a mascot. Indians see the caricature as demeaning, but defenders of the mascot say the caricature is meant to honor Indians.

The debates are all about perspective. Whats cute to some people isnt at all that way to others.