Readers weigh in on the Redskins name game

John Kelly
Columnist July 16, 2013

I didn’t hear from Dan Snyder, but I heard from plenty of others who think that changing the name of our NFL team to the Washington Red Hawks is a swell idea.

It was Evelyn Haught of Falls Church who made the suggestion in my column recently, though others have thought along similar lines. Both Ripon College and Miami University adopted the name after shedding their Native American-themed monikers.

John Kelly writes "John Kelly's Washington," a daily look at Washington's less-famous side. Born in Washington, John started at The Post in 1989 as deputy editor in the Weekend section. View Archive

“The idea of calling the Redskins the Red Hawks is brilliant,” wrote Jackie S. Finer of Lewes, Del. “Keep this idea on the front burner.”

“Hail to the Red Hawks,” wrote Betsy Bailey of Falls Church. “May they soar over Red Hawks Stadium!”

Not everyone is sold.

“NFL teams should be named in ways that are appropriate to the cities they represent,” wrote Ellicott City’s Michael Guidara. “Since Washington is the capital of the free world, the defenders of democracy, why not name our team the Defenders? This fits well with football jargon and no major sports team has this name.”

David Guskin thinks it’s only the first syllable that needs to be changed. “I’ve been telling people this for years: Change the name to the Pigskins. This is what everyone calls a football anyway and everyone can continue to refer to the team as ‘the Skins.’ As an additional benefit, suddenly the Hogettes makes even more sense. Do I sense a comeback for them?”

The last straw

As I explained recently, it’s my contention that McDonald’s increased the diameter of its drinking straws in the 1980s. The fast-food giant wouldn’t talk, but Roger Hipp of Alexandria would. He worked at McDonald’s as a teenager in 1988. “I definitely remember reading in the employee newsletter that the change was aimed at making it easier to drink milkshakes,” Roger wrote.

Kathy Anne Mancusi of College Park is on a one-woman crusade against plastic straws. The reason? They’re just so wasteful.

“Using plastic straws everywhere shows how Americans really aren’t too good on the everyday things we could give up to help this planet,” she wrote. “I agree you need them for thick milkshakes, but do I really need them for my Pepsi or water?”

Arlington’s Jim Lande points out that straws aren’t just for sucking. They can also be for blowing. “In the good old days, you could tear off one end of the straw wrapper, twist the other end into a point, and then launch the wrapper with a puff of air,” he wrote. “Back in 1958 my Cub Scout troop rode the boat down to Mount Vernon. We found lots of wrapped straws at the canteen on the lower deck and, because of an updraft, discovered that we could shoot the wrappers up a deck. Some of us ran upstairs, gathered the wrappers, and then shot them back. We had a double deck soda straw fight. What joy.”

Today, though, Jim says straws are wrapped too tightly. “I still get a shooter wrapper occasionally. A few years back I shot wrappers at both my kids in a restaurant. They were unimpressed, barely looking up from their smart phones.”

Jean Magram was a veritable MacGyver when it came to straws. In the mid-’80s, her then-kindergartner, Erika, started taking piano lessons. She practiced so much that the hammer stems on the upright were constantly breaking.

“Our piano repair lady taught me how to cut a piece of a McDonald’s straw, place it over the bottom part of the broken hammer stem, put some glue on the broken off piece, and then fit them together,” Jean wrote. “ The fat straw was the perfect size to act as a splint while the glue was drying. We eventually bought Erika a grand piano, but we still have the old upright. If you take the front panel off, you will see lots of straws with McDonald’s red and yellow stripes.”

Send a kid to camp

I can honestly say there isn’t a better time to donate to Camp Moss Hollow, the summer camp for at-risk kids from the Washington area. Why? Two reasons. First, a donor who wishes to remain anonymous is challenging Post readers: Donations between now and the end of the campaign on Aug. 2 will get a one-to-one match, up to $100,000. That could really help put us near our goal of $500,000.

What’s more, the Clyde’s restaurant group is offering another incentive: If you donate between $150 and $249 from now to the end of the campaign, you will receive a $25 gift certificate for Clyde’s. Donate $250 or more and Clyde’s will give you one for $50. (Certificates will be sent in September.)

Get a taste of what you’ll be in for by having lunch Wednesday at Clyde’s, the Hamilton, the Tombs or Old Ebbitt Grill. Order the local tomato salad or the local bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Camp Moss Hollow.

To donate, simply go to washingtonpost.com/camp and click where it says, “Give Now.” Or send a check, made payable to “Send a Kid to Camp,” to Send a Kid to Camp, Family Matters of Greater Washington, P.O. Box 200045, Pittsburgh, Pa., 15251-0045.

For previous columns, visit washingtonpost.com/johnkelly.

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