It’s not hard to understand why the students of Farmington High School chose a Phoenix for their school mascot.

Screenshot/Fox 13 News

As Fox 13 reported, the Utah school isn’t scheduled to open until next fall, but the school mascot has already been picked via a student vote. In the video below, one student told Fox 13 he liked the positive symbolism behind the Phoenix, a mythological creature reborn from its own ashes:

“They have the potential for — after games they’ve lost — to rise up to the occasion and win the next one.”

But a few parents trying out the mascot name in cheers discovered a problem. As Kyle Fraughton wrote in a petition to change the mascot, the word “phoenix” isn’t easily made plural:

After first hearing about the mascot of Phoenix, I was practicing some cheers for the upcoming school year with a couple of my neighbors just for fun. 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. 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.

In short, when shouted, the plural of “phoenix” sounds a lot like a particular feature of the male anatomy. Fraughton continued:

We were horrified to hear that the phonetics of the word Phoenices are far too close to the word penises. I don’t mean to be crass, but don’t want there to be confusion around the point I am trying to make.

The school (and defenders of the mascot) say they don’t plan to use the plural form when cheering for Farmington High.

Presumably, this means that cheerleaders will yell, “Go Phoenix!” and that sports teams will be called things like the Fighting Farmington Football Phoenix. But on top of being difficult to say five times fast, there’s still the question of grammar. As Fraughton wrote:

I think that’s a great idea in concept, but see reality playing out far differently. Nearly all school mascots are referred to in the plural form (Darts, Vikings, Braves, Wildcats, etc.), so when you think about cheering, “Go Phoenix!” It sounds a bit strange because it is grammatically incorrect.

Fraughton and others who wish to change the mascot say that students are destined to be the subject of teasing and mockery. He told Fox 13:

“I’ve got kids that’ll go to this school, and that’s a big part of it is that I don’t want it to be a joke. I don’t want it to be a laughingstock.”

But the school district is holding firm, saying that the students will, “rise to the occasion,” regarding the team name. And some students say that they have no issue with the name or using the singular form.

“I feel like they created a problem where there was no problem originally,” as one student told Fox 13.

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