“RoadRunners” is just 11 letters long, but Topeka fans are used to 10. The Topeka Roadrunners tested their game on the ice Tuesday and Wednesday, and the fan base experimented with ways to support their new team.
Although “Roadrunners” is only one letter longer than “Tarantulas” or “Scarecrows,” this anomaly was a tongue twister for Topeka fans. The first period was a disaster. It turns out chanting, “Let’s go Roadrunners!” takes longer than Micheal Vick to decide if he did or did not mutilate dogs.
But the intellect of the Roadrunner nation shined within minutes turning to just the simple words, “Let’s go Runners!” Let’s go Runners? This just baffles me; the pure imagery these words create in my mind is the farthest thing an athletic team wants to portray. Running on ice? We talking about the Jamaican bobsled team or hockey?
It’s not the fan’s base fault though; the Roadrunner could be the most non-intimidating team name on ice. The Roadrunner never hurt Wile E. Coyote. It ran and beeped and waited for the coyote to castrate himself. Topeka RoadRunners, we wait for the other team to be stupid….
But Topeka resident Chris Carter, a Kansas Medical Clinic employee and an off-ice official for both the Scarecrows and Tarantulas, says the mascot doesn’t matter that much.
“I don’t think it matters how intimidating the mascot is,” said Carter. “It’s all about how they play on the ice. We come to these games to be entertained.”
Another Topeka resident Paul Crouch, who works for Kansas Horizon Milling Company and supports hockey in Topeka after having season tickets to both the Scarecrows and Tarantulas off and on, says the mascot is cool.
“As long as there is hockey I will be here,” said Crouch. “The mascot is really cool – it looks like more of a wood pecker to me but I can handle it.”
Regardless of whether the mascot can peck a fight with the opponent or run away from it, Crouch is not hard to find in the crowd – just follow the drum beats. Crouch is carrying over the tradition of bucket drumming at Topeka hockey games.
Returning fans who supported the Scarecrows and Tarantulas constituted most of the crowd. While enthusiasm was high it was apparent the RoadRunners are still a new team to Topeka.
Good goalie work by Bryce Merriam was paid off by the boring generic cheer, “Let’s go goalie!!”
But I have faith in the Roadrunner nation. They will catch on quickly, just as quickly as they have embraced their new team.
“I came for just plain hockey,” said Crouch. “I missed it.”