Dear Answer Man: I know you're a fan of Rochester Community & Technical College sports teams. Did you know RCTC stole its yellowjacket mascot from the University of Rochester, N.Y.? —'Jackets fan
Dear Jackets fan: I know no such thing. I mean, yes, I know very well that the sports teams at both RCTC and the University of Rochester are called "Yellowjackets." I also know both schools have the same blue and gold colors.
But I can't guarantee RCTC, originally known as Rochester Junior College, stole the mascot and colors from the New York school, although that rumor makes sense. Our Rochester, after all, borrowed its name from the city in New York.
The University of Rochester, an august institution of higher learning — so uppity that their only Division I sport is squash — started calling its sports teams "Yellowjackets" in about 1925. Rochester Junior College was founded in 1915 and fielded its first football team in the 1920s. There's no record, though, of what those early RJC teams were called.
This is what I know for sure: Better "Yellowjackets" than "Dandylions." Yes, "Dandylions" was the name proposed by some students for teams at the University of Rochester back in the 1920s. You see, the dandelion is the official flower of the university, and one of the school's official songs is "The Dandelion Yellow." And, according to the university's website, the school colors are Dandelion Yellow and Rochester Blue.
At RCTC, the school colors are a more prosaic blue and yellow.
But why the fascination with yellow flowers at the University of Rochester? It seems that land donated to the university for a campus in 1853 was a former cow pasture that bloomed dandelions by the thousands.
Luckily, if Rochester Junior College officials did steal a mascot and nickname from the University of Rochester way back when, they had the good taste to skip over "Dandylions."
By the way, at the U of R, the yellowjacket mascot is known as "Rocky," while at RCTC, it's known as "Sting."
Can't imagine what they would have called the Dandylion mascot.