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VIRG FOSS: Without the nickname, it'll be awkward

Fighting Sioux, Fighting Sioux, Fighting Sioux, Fighting Sioux, Fighting Sioux, Fighting Sioux, Fighting Sioux. There will soon come a time when those words cannot be written by journalists reporting on UND games anywhere in Grand Forks. Already ...

Virg Foss
Virg Foss portrait

Fighting Sioux, Fighting Sioux, Fighting Sioux, Fighting Sioux, Fighting Sioux, Fighting Sioux, Fighting Sioux.

There will soon come a time when those words cannot be written by journalists reporting on UND games anywhere in Grand Forks.

Already this newspaper has banned the use of the Fighting Sioux by its reporters covering UND athletics.

As it stands now, Jan. 1 is the cutoff date that the UND nickname cannot be used by any interest at UND. That includes those of us who write for the fightingsioux.com web site, which will soon have a new name.

The hockey team will wear the name and logo on their jerseys until new jerseys arrive sometime in February. The jerseys will say Fighting Sioux for two more months, but those of us who write about the hockey team cannot. Awkward.

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So, with great respect and honor for a soon-to-disappear nickname and logo, I opened this column with seven repeats of the name. That's one for each of the seven proud and glorious NCAA hockey championships won under the proud and glorious Fighting Sioux banner.

In the meantime, the transition away from the logo and nickname dangles through awkward twists and turns as documented earlier in this column.

It's one thing for a professor to draft an outline for class presentation or lecture for the day that has a logical beginning and ending and perhaps few speed bumps to negotiate in the middle.

It's another thing to draft an outline to say goodbye to a logo and nickname. There are thousands of loyal, passionate supporters who'll be Fighting Sioux forever.

There is certainly a share of those who led the charge to make them both go away who'll celebrate the demise of both.

It's painful. It's hurtful. It's awkward.

I'm not going to get into the merits or faults of the Fighting Sioux name or logo. I won't even address the morality of the NCAA stance in stomping all over the rights and desires of the people of North Dakota and tribal members.

In my 36 years of daily reporting on UND athletics for this newspaper, I've written Fighting Sioux so many times my keyboard automatically pops up those words the second I turn on my computer.

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But come Jan. 1, it looks like it'll take great creativity to sneak the nickname into any article, in any form of publication.

I guess I could pen a personal note to a friend like Susan Shaft about a stirring UND hockey victory and say "the boys were really fighting, Sue." Maybe that would escape editing, I don't know.

In the meantime, I'll work on programming my computer to kick out the words North Dakota where Fighting Sioux used to appear.

North Dakota is a proud and respected name. We'll carry it with honor going forward.

And no, we need no nickname to go with it. Not now, maybe never.

Foss is a Hall of Fame journalist who reported on sports for 36 years for the Herald until his retirement. He writes a weekly column from October through April. Contact him at virgfoss@yahoo.com or at (701) 772-9272.

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