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  • Writer's pictureMickey Nelson

“Hell-Bowl” has changed to “Big Cat Classic”

Updated: Aug 27, 2023

By Mickey Nelson, Clarion Staff Writer

Chris Moore (#6) and Tre Nash (#19) speed by the 40 yard line at Hughes Stadium for the rivalry game on September 16, 2022.(#6 Chris Moore, #19 Tre Nash) Photo by Mickey Nelson.


How do students and staff feel about a change or a break in tradition? The answer is 50/50: some love it or some hate it.


John F. Kennedy and C.K. McClatchy High Schools have been rivals since before 1980. Their annual football game was originally called “The Turkey Bowl”, and then the “Hell-Bowl.” This game has been called Hell-Bowl for over 40 years so it has become second nature to call it so by some students.


However, this year, a few other Kennedy staff and students decided to change the name of the rivalry game to “The Big Cat Classic.” This has caused many different theories to form. For example, Hell-Bowl has a similar name to Holy-Bowl, which is between rival high schools, Christian Brothers and Jesuit. Another theory is they want to have a more positive name and be able to promote over social media.


Kennedy Principal Reginald Brown made the call to change the name. Staff and few students said it needs a different name because Holy-Bowl is a private school rivalry. A recent Instagram post on @jfk.updates (overseen by Kennedy ASB members) changed the name from “Hell-Bowl” to “The Cat Fight”. Students and families are saying that calling the game The Cat Fight has a negative ring to it because it’s hinting that it wasn’t a clean game. Members and Kennedy staff wanted to change the name to The Big Cat Classic to be more positive and to be able to promote it over social media. When jfk.updates posted it on Instagram, they called it The Cat Fight which is not necessarily morally superior to Hell-Bowl. I feel this way because a cat fight is usually used when describing when females fight. So, if they are trying to change it to a more positive name like The Big Cat Classic then they should promote it as that, not something else that is also negative.

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