Let’s lift a toast to the triumph of the old-timers.
Or maybe you should go to YouTube and play “Tradition” from “Fiddler on the Roof.” Can you celebrate tradition on the internet? Well, never mind.
Point being — just in time for the first regional football championship in 11 years an old logo is back.
Last week, the Payson school board settled the revolt of the old-timers, provoked by a new-fangled Longhorns logo intended to avoid a lawsuit by the University of Texas.
The school will now have two official logos. One’s based on a design going back to 1966. The other’s freshly designed, with eyes that look either determined or mean, depending on your point of view.
The University of Texas has approved both logos and promised not to sic their lawyers on us.
The whole folderol goes back to a “cease and desist” letter from said University of Texas threatening to do bad things if Payson didn’t abandon the logo it had been using for decades. The University of Texas copyrighted its own version of a Longhorn silhouette in 1961. It’s virtually identical to our old logo, except it’s this ugly burnt orange instead of luscious, royal purple. But the big, bad bullies figured Payson might screw up their marketing campaign, so they resorted to threats — kind of like waking up with a horse’s head in your bed in a scene from “The Godfather.” That might explain why ESPN picked up the story, which got 2 million views and complicated everything — deluging the Payson switchboard with calls.
Payson Principal Jeff Simon took on the task of making everyone happy and spent 75 hours on the project. Payson alumnus Joe Klein designed a spiffy new logo with eyeballs and a fierce expression. Simon didn’t want to inspire some internet nastiness by asking people to vote on a whole bunch of different logos, so he just put the new logo on Facebook to see what people thought.
Everyone liked it.
Well, 69 percent who voted on the internet liked it.
The old-timers, not so much.
So Homer Sanders rounded up a posse. Homer’s a graphic designer and a Payson alumnus and coach who says he’s probably painted the old logo more times than anyone in Payson history. More important, the old logo evolved from a drawing by Johnny Owen, a football player who went off to fight the Vietnam War and never made it home.
So back in mid-November, the school board agreed to give the old-timers time to settle on their version of the logo.
Last week, the committee came back with the additional, UT approved logo. This one has more facial features — but his eyes look closed, like he’s quietly imagining trampling some UT blocker on his way to the end zone.
Board president Barbara Underwood loved it. “We were having a meeting in the cafeteria and the throwback logo is the one that’s in there. It gives everybody a choice. A nod to the past and looking to the future. Thanks to all the community for coming forward.”
Superintendent Stan Rentz said, “We’re very proud to move forward with those two logos.”
Janna Cline attended the meeting representing the old-timers. She graduated Payson High School in 1963. Her aunt Betty Sue Fletcher-Conway dug up a photo of the original logo on a letterman’s sweater her brother Rick Fletcher wore to a Halloween party in 1973. That logo was based on Johnny Owen’s design. Betty Sue taught in Payson for, well, just about forever — and still lives in Tonto Basin.
Janna graduated PHS in 1985 and was the mascot for four years, so she should know a thing or two about Longhorns.
Her husband, John, also attended the meeting. His dad was born in a house on Main Street in 1930, but John through a series of misadventures actually graduated from Globe High School.
Janna said the old-timers didn’t mean to make a big fuss — but you got to stick up for tradition. “My granddad and my mother said, ‘If you believe something is right — you fight for it.’”
She’s thrilled with the new old logo. She doesn’t mind having two logos. She figures folks will just naturally start using the old new logo and the new new logo will just fade away.
You know: Tradition and all.