Friday, October 10, 2008

School Mascots

Today I saw a bumper sticker on a car in front of me. It was one of those 'my kid is a smartypants at Whatchamacallit Elementary' and on the right side of the sticker showcased the school's mascot. It was an otter.

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 It has now been replaced by The Red Wolves.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.


warren said...

My High School Mascot was the flyers (a bi-plane). But the pilot was Indiana Jones (the original 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' one). Okay, I added that last part. But he did have a whip. Arg, I added that too. /sob. Okay, fine. It was a stupid plane with a pudgy Richie Rich like pilot...and it has ruined my life.

lynda said...

oh puh-lease. my high school mascot was a totem. the tyee totems. a freaking totem pole. sure, it could be native to the region, but it doesn't even move because it's a piece of wood. other schools would just keep burning our pole down. because totem poles can't run. they can't do anything.

it is no longer a high school.

robert the grump said...

My high school mascot was the fierce Grizzly bear. Unfortunately, he wore an orange letterman's jacket and no pants.

We needed a ferocious animal for a mascot because our school was named Queen Anne. Oh, how I tired of being called, "the Queens," by other schools.

In my wrestling days, I used to trash talk my opponent with, "when you get home, tell your mother that a Queen kicked your ass."

It would have been easier to be a Roosevelt Roughrider, I guess, but at least I wasn't a Ballard Beaver.

chenchy said...

My high school was the Novato Hornets. Hardly fearsome to have an insect as a mascot. It was actually a step down from my Junior High mascot - the San Jose Scorpians.
Come to think of it....we were called the hornets - but I never actually saw an image or logo.

Gino said...

grump: thats a sorry name for a high school. now i know why you are still grumpy.

my school was knights. a cool mascot. knights are brave,fierce, tough and follow an ethical code to boot.

Esther said...

I think mine was an oriole. I didn't really pay that close of attention. If it was an oriole that's pretty lame because it's just a bird that makes a hanging basket nest . . .

Anonymous said...

So why isnt mr Evil in here putting his two cents in about the Demon's-he was so ticked when he couldnt get a ring with a Demon on it because parents had pushed hard enough to get it removed from the choices....grrr

Dave Johnson said...

My mascot was a coyote, which we had plenty of in the region. The problem is that the coyote, is a scrawny, ugly, dog of a creature who gets by on scraps and drinking water from mud puddles. This of course struck fear in the hearts of the teams we faced, as you can imagine.

The mascot is still the coyote, but it now looks like an angry wolf of some sort, since they were forced to stop using Wile E. Coyote, due to copyright.