The setting for this brief but important story is an early season game between the boys basketball teams from Ames and Des Moines East. A few minutes into the first quarter, the chant of “Little Cyclones” came from the crowd, a common message of encouragement from fans to their team. But this chant was coming from the East student section, and no, they were not changing allegiances. They were mocking our nickname. Most people would be offended if an opponent mocked their name, but in this case, the argument made by the students of Des Moines East was undeniable. Our nickname sucks. “I don’t like being called ‘little’,” sophomore Corey Baughman said. “Little is bad,” seconded sophomore William Kresse. “It makes me feel inadequate.” This feeling of inadequacy has plagued Ames High School athletes for years. Every dropped pass, missed lay-up, or strikeout…why did they happen? Did we not practice hard enough? Did the official forget to call a foul? Were our opponents better than us? Of course not! Every downfall in the history of Ames High School athletics can be attributed to the fact that all this time, people have told us we are little. And we believed them. Maybe it was a subconscious acceptance of the name, but after wearing the jerseys, hearing the cheers, reading the stories, we were all branded as Little Cyclones. From that point on, we have dreamed only the smallest of dreams, won only the tiniest of battles, and cared on only the rarest of occasions. As Little Cyclones, our potential is limited. By definition, we can never achieve the feats of Big Cyclones or even Regular-sized Cyclones. Little cyclones do not make people run for cover, damage houses, or reach the wind speeds a big cyclone would. No, little cyclones are more like the ones found inside two-litter bottles in chemistry class than a beastly F5 storm. Is there any way to reverse the curse? Can we abandon the name that has been linked to Ames High since its infant years? After consulting the supreme law of Ames High School a.k.a. our fight song “Loyalty”, it is clear that we can cut our ties with the name “Little Cyclones” (the song does not even mention the name). “Loyalty” leaves us a simple but important set of instructions. It tells us to be “comrades in work and in play, loyal and true are we, doing the best for our high school. Ames High, Aims High.” In order to do the best for our high school, we cannot be known as the “Little Cyclones”. Never again will our enemies chant our name in jest. Any suggestions for what that name may be? “The Maize,” Baughman said. “BECAUSE OF THE CORN.” “I’d say the Ames High Asians,” Kresse suggested. “Ames High has a lot of Asians and it’s something we need to brag about more. They’re definitely an asset to our school.” As a bonus, becoming the Asians would put us ahead of the Mason City Mohawks for the most explicit reference to an ethnic group in a team name. School officials could not be reached for comment on the potential of these names. But forget the administration…we have been held back by our name too long. Ames High, Aim High! Unite now, and we will never be called little again.