What’s in a name: At Cathedral, is nickname one word or two?

Published 11:24 pm Saturday, September 9, 2017

One thing is for certain — the school’s name is Cathedral.

When it comes to putting a name on the school’s mascot, however, things get a little fuzzy.

As seen from the football field, the Friday-night scoreboard reads “Greenwave.” Directly adjacent — on the school’s softball field — fans read “Green Wave.”

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So, what’s in a name?

“I don’t think anybody really knows how to spell it,” a 1965 Cathedral graduate Betty Lou Hicks said. “I don’t think people really think about it until they go to write it. It’s just whatever people think of first.”

Hicks — who served as Cathedral’s football program chair for more than 20 years — said while there is uncertainty on the spelling of the mascot, she does have an opinion as to what the right way should be.

“Whenever we created football programs and advertisements, I always tried my darnedest to get two words,” she said. “I was usually successful when I had control over it, but then other people would come along and mess things up.”

Others disagree.

“It’s one,” former Cathedral football coach Ron Rushing said. “I don’t know why, though. I think have I have seen it more that way.”

Current Cathedral football coach Chuck Darbonne — who took over for Rushing in spring 2016 — is on the fence.

“I think it’s two. That’s what they tell me,” he said. “But, I do know our scoreboard says one. I’m not really sure.”

Former longtime Cathedral coach Roy Garcia — whom the school’s gymnasium is named — has his answer secure but says the matter is open for discussion.

“Two,” he said. “But I believe in change, and I think we ought to go Greenwave. It has more rhythm to it.”

Garcia also suggested his reasoning for the change stems from the desire to be unique.

Just a little less than a three-hour drive to the southeast, Tulane University uses  “Green Wave” as its official mascot.

“I don’t want to be like anybody else,” Garcia said.

Over the years, Cathedral — which was originally established in 1847 — has had a multitude of other nicknames.

Once the Blue Devils and also the Cardinals in the 1920s and 30s, the first found reference to Green Wave was in 1936, two years prior to the establishment of the school’s football team.

As a common spinoff, the school was also called the Greenies for many years. Though, the disregard of the name is undetermined.

“We still used it when I was in school,” Walt Brown said. “I think it maybe stopped in the late 80s or early 90s.”

Brown — a 1982 graduate of Cathedral — has served as the radio announcer during football games for the past 22 years and also believes the mascot to be spelled with two words.

“Every team I have seen schools with Green Wave, it has always been two words,” he said.

As the school’s athletic director, as well as its baseball and softball coach, Craig Beesley has also recognized the inconsistency.

“We are trying to establish it as two, even though we have some things on our campus as one,” he said. “I see it as an adjective. We are a wave that is green.”

As the years continue, it is uncertain if the school will ever settle one specific spelling. Yet, Cathedral’s members do agree the name doesn’t define their school.

“I think the best definition for Cathedral is family,” Hicks said. “No matter if you graduated 50 years ago, the spirit of Cathedral is the important thing. No matter what you call it, I don’t think people lose sleep.”

Beesley concurred with the school’s tightknit community.

“We have a strong bond with our alumni and parents,” he said. “Cathedral is really what everybody calls us. We are all one family.”