In my mind mascots have always been things that represent an aspiration, an attitude, or honored a culture. Modern mascots have been reduced to mere...I don't even have the words for it...AN OTTER FOR GOD'S SAKE!?!?
This hits home to me for two reasons:
My elementary school mascot was the Pirates. We had a cool logo that would make any real pirate proud. He had a beard, an eye patch, and a sword in his mouth. Come to think of it maybe clean shaven, non-ocularly challenged pirates would take offense of this stereo-type. I dunno. Anyway, it was cool and everyone knew it. The school has since changed the mascot to the cheetah. Now cheetahs are nice and everything but compared to a pirate? Sure it can run fast but a pirate would slit its throat, skin it and use it for currency in a crooked card game. Now THAT'S cool.
My high school mascot was the Demon. This was a cool mascot coupled with the school colors of Orange and Black. The school itself was a complete piece of shit, but the image of the school was badass. We had a Christian school in our league and during varsity basketball games the crowd would chant "Demon Power!" and watch as the visitors would cringe seeing the athletic contest before them being fought in the spiritual realms. Now how cool is that?
At a pep rally in the 70's (when my brother and sister attended this same school) it was a tradition during homecoming to have a bonfire. A casket with the opponents name on it would be walked to the bonfire in a procession and tossed on to be fully engulfed in flames. Most of the time we played a nearby school whose mascot was The Turks. Imagine this for a minute. People dressed in Orange and Black, some with pitchforks burning a Turk in effigy. Holy Wars have been fought over less!
The sad news is that when they replaced the school with a new high school in the district the Demon mascot went away. It has now been replaced by The Red Wolves. The Red Wolf isn't even native to this region. Is it better than an otter? Barely.
The weeny mascot isn't just a modern phenomenon. One of Seattle's older high schools has the mascot of The Quakers. Now no one has more appreciation for the Anabaptist traditions and their profound impact on western society as yours truly, but they are famous for being pacifists. What kind of cheers do we expect from their cheerleaders?
They may push us, call us weak.
But we will turn the other cheek.
Go Quakers! YAY!
Is it too much to ask for a return to awesome mascots?
Have a good weekend everyone.