Go Wolfpack!

It’s official: Beginning in September, Hyde’s athletic teams will engage in competition as The Wolfpack. The decision was announced at last weekend’s farewell celebration at Hyde-Woodstock. The beautiful bronze wolf in this picture will make the move north to Bath this summer.

This decision has not been easy. My request for input in the latest issue of The Consolidation Chronicle brought a number of suggestions. Some argued for retaining the Phoenix. (And not only do we intend to seek and find a prominent place for the Phoenix within the Hyde culture, your suggestions are welcome.)  Others offered new ideas (e.g., Golden Eagles, Lions, Bobcats), but a clear majority called for The Wolfpack.

An alumni parent with children who graduated from both Bath and Woodstock had this to say: “Hyde-Bath has already risen from the ashes so arguably it has outlived its old mascot. Having welcomed all the great faculty and students from Woodstock it would be a shame to leave that beautiful bronze statue behind. Having been a parent at both campuses, I vote Wolfpack!”

A Bath alum who also served faculty tenures at both campuses wrote the following: “Thanks for the opportunity to humbly weigh in on the mascot. I vote for the Wolfpack. Bringing something significant from the Woodstock campus (second to the great faculty, students and families) is a meaningful way to incorporate the cultures and physical campuses.”

Somewhat unexpectedly, some of the commentary led me to a deeper understanding of wolves and wolfpacks. An early 80s Bath alum who attended Hyde a decade before Hyde teams even thought about being either the Phoenix or the Wolfpack, enlightened me on some of the latest research debunking the long-standing view of wolves as aggressive predatory packs of alpha males. He quoted a fascinating article on the topic from the Art of Manliness website:

Instead of forming packs of unrelated individuals, in which alphas compete to rise to the top, researchers discovered that wild wolf packs actually consist of little nuclear wolf families… Wolves are in fact a generally monogamous species, in which males and females pair off and mate for life… The mate pair shares in the responsibility of leading their family and tending to their pups. In 21st century human terminology, they “co-parent.” And by virtue of being parents, and leading their “subordinate” children, the mates represent a pair of “alphas.” The alpha male, or papa wolf, sits at the top of the male hierarchy in the family and the alpha female, or mamma wolf, sits atop the female hierarchy in the family.

This alum concluded, “A great mascot model for Hyde!”

Another person sent me a Facebook post with this picture from a recent study of wolves:

Here’s the explanation:
– The 3 in front (red circle) are old & sick, they walk in front to set the pace.
– The next 5 (yellow) are the strongest and tasked to protect the front side against attack.
– The middle pack is always protected.
– The green 5 are as strong as the yellow 5 and play the same role.
– The last wolf (blue arrow) is the Leader, unifying the group and ensuring that no one is left behind.

As we have said since October, this consolidation is not an absorption… It’s a marriage. In this marriage, the Woodstock community has made the ultimate sacrifice.  (Poignant doesn’t do justice to the emotions of this weekend’s graduation at Woodstock. Gut-wrenching is more like it.)  Perhaps the move from Phoenix to Wolfpack is an appropriate contribution for the Bath community to make to our new union.

In any case, my dictionary defines wolfpack as “A group of friends who consider themselves different from the norm but are bound to each other because of their unique qualities.” Yeah, that would be us. Pre-season cross-country, football, and soccer practices begin in three months. Go Wolfpack!

Onward, Malcolm Gauld