By competition, I of course mean trying to develop a sense of horns against horns, a sort of bestial mentality of winner takes territory or to the victor goes the spoils. Animalistic nature, really. That’s basically college sports!
Why do you think there are so many ‘animal’ sports teams and mascots out there
- Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
- University of Michigan Wolverines
- Northwestern Illinois Wildcats
- University of Texas Longhorns
To be truthful, they’re not always animals either. Sometimes they’re real people –
- Michigan State Spartans
- The University of Illinois Fighting Illini
- The University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish
But even these real people, even though there’s no ‘beast’ in them, can still kick some major tail, right? Makes sports pretty fun.
What Happens When the College Mascots Seem…Odd?
Not just odd. Maybe a little weird. Maybe even stupid! But what choice do teams have, when you think about it? The thesaurus really only has so many entries for the word ‘tiger’ or ‘hawk’ or ‘lion’ or ‘warrior,’ you know?
And did you ever notice just how many college teams are out there in the U.S.? Graduating high school seniors aren’t at a loss for choice here! But, for sure, it’s pretty evident that college sports teams do have a seriously tough time trying to think of something original when it comes to mascots.
Boy, do some colleges and universities get…original. Actually, that word doesn’t do this justice. How about bizarre? Yes, that’s better.
To be fair, some of these entries are pretty cool (but scary). Others are just plain dumb (but funny).
All in all, though, you have to hand it to these entries. They do make a statement.
Starting from top to bottom, the bottom being the weirdest of weird:
“Super Frog,” the Horned Frog
Points for major invention here, because this is what happens when you cross a dragon with a frog. “Super Frog” is, by far, one of the freakiest in a sort of scary way. Why?
First off, how does this “Super Frog” sleep at night? Imagine the pillows and sheets turning into Swiss cheese, and you’ll get the picture. No water-bed action here. This is a greyish-green scaly pin cushion with those big Bambi Disney eyes (sort of an odd contrast for such a hellish-looking creature).
“Rally Cat,” the Catamount
Let me get one thing straight here: those catamounts are pretty awesome. As far as cats go, they probably have the best mix of wild and cute. Common catamounts are bobcats, lynxes, that sort of breed. You both want to marvel at their beauty and own one legally as well as safely (unless you’re Siegfried and Roy).
So when the University of Vermont came up with this mascot, I was all for it. Catamounts are fast, ferocious, protective, maternal. And the best part is they’re unique. No tigers, no lions, no panthers, oh, my. Dorothy’s happy here on the Yellow Brick Road, that’s for sure.
Oh, but wait, it’ll be a long way to see the wonderful wizard of Oz, because it looks like Rally Cat has a vision problem! Or else the testing for glaucoma made the pupils just a little too tiny. Maybe Rally would only serve during night games. We wouldn’t want those eyes to burn out.
Get some bifocals for Rally before he runs into the end post.
“Brutus the Buckeye”
Don’t you love those kinds of costumes where you can guess what it is and be completely wrong? Fun-loving and athletic Brutus of the Ohio State University Buckeyes is exactly that. Petrify a chipmunk and cut off the furball’s tail, slap a ball cap on, slather on some hair gel all over him, and you’ve got Brutus.
Only he’s really not supposed to be a chipmunk (but he sort of looks like that). In reality, Brutus is supposed to be a “buckeye nut.” At least his head is. The rest of him is just good ol’ fashioned homegrown human in a costume.
Now don’t get me wrong: there’s nothing even remotely stupid about this costume. To be fair, it’s actually quite cool. The reason why this is bizarre is because of the fact that if you look at Brutus a certain way, you basically feel…like…you’re looking at a…yeah, a petrified chipmunk missing a tail, wearing a ball cap, with hair gel all over.
But he’s still cool.
So the University of Arkansas has a thing for beetles. Some beetles are pretty cool. Like the boll weevil. Now that’s a cool-looking beetle. And the best part about these beetles is that they’re typically not pests – not like centipedes and millipedes and spiders and mosquitoes and eeeaaaeeewww, gross.
But this particular boll weevil, Mr. Boll Weevils really doesn’t look anything like the real thing. He’s sort of like a cross between Snuffleupagus and Barney with just a dash of green Teletubby for good measure.
That’s just wrong.
They took a perfectly good-looking beetle (which, by the way, looks nothing like this mascot at all) and sodomized it with kid-colors and a nose designed for shoveling apple sauce. (not so efficient, though, I might add).
I thought this was supposed to be about competition? Charming Weevils here looks both harmless and maybe a little drowsy from Nyquil, to be honest. Just look at his eyes, for crying out loud…. Go to sleep, man!
“Gaylord the Camel”
Among all desert animals, the camel’s probably the heartiest. Think of the endurance, the stamina, even the plain haughtiness. Tick off a camel, and you’re in trouble. Those camels like spitting. They’re also a symbol of cool and manliness as evidenced by Camel cigarettes.
But Gaylord? Really? What was Campbell University thinking? Why not Mike or Boris? Something surly or burly….
Now to be fair, this is a cool mascot costume. He actually looks surly. I just can’t bring myself to refer to him as Gaylord, though. It just doesn’t seem right.
What the heck is a billiken? Take one look at this mascot for St. Louis University, and your first thought might be a cross between one of those claw squeeze toy aliens from the movie “Toy Story” and the elf from Harry Potter.
Or maybe it’s just a fat bat on some heavy psychotic pharmaceutical drugs….
What the heck is a billiken?
Plus his eyes seem to always be crossed. That’s not a healthy thing. And he seems sort of pale for a psychotic fat bat (or alien, or elf, or whatever it is).
Seriously…. You look at this billiken long enough, and you can get a little disturbed. And oddly, you want to keep looking at him for some reason.
Seriously what the heck is a “billiken”?
“Sammy the Banana Slug”
Seriously, I think the University of California-Santa Cruz has something going here. Nothing seems more ferocious, more deadly, more formidable…than a banana slug.
Oh, yes. Witness the fierce yellow color, the color of white fire. It burns with the force of a supernova as this super-slow banana slug (we all know that slugs are slow) “races” toward its victims with utter precision.
Fear the slug. Fear it well. Fear Sammy. For he will bring you Hell.
“The Fighting Pickle”
The what? Vegetables? Seriously?
To be fair, this mascot actually started off as a practical joke for the North Carolina School of the Arts. And it is pretty funny.
What’s even funnier is the fact that the alumni can say with sheer madness and glee in their voice that their pickles pretty much trumped all the Indians, Spartans, Irish, hawks, badgers, and other fierce warriors and creatures.
Can we bend reality any more here? And vegetables were supposed to be good for you. Not tackle you or slam-dunk over you while trash-talking their way to a winning game. Go, Pickles, go!
“The Fighting Okra”
Attack of the killer vegetables. First it was the pickle. Now it’s the okra. What the heck is going on here? Did someone pass a memo in the offices of the university mascot training school saying that veggies were in?
This is not Subway, for crying out loud! This is a freakin’ submarine with missiles and sonar, busting out with warfare tactics. That’s how a sports team is supposed to be.
What truly messes with my head, though, is that this mascot for Delta State University actually looks pretty menacing. Like you don’t want to mess with this veggie. This veggie will tear you up like you’re toilet paper.
And Then the Number One Most Bizarre Mascot…. The “Geoduck”
Just by hearing the name, you’d think Evergreen State University had something going here. Almost sounds like a comic superhero duck or something like that. That could pass for something cool when it comes to a mascot, right?
Wrong. It’s actually not pronounced ‘jee-oh-duck,’ but rather ‘gooey duck.’ And it’s far from a real duck.
Not only does this mascot transcend any conventional thought of common and understandable pronunciation, but this is a mascot representing a clam. A saltwater clam, actually.
Scarily, this clam really doesn’t look like a clam at all. In fact, if you were to cross a real duck with a regular seawater clam, you might get a geoduck.
Let’s not be obscene here, but I’m sure we’ll get a lot of filthy comments about what a geoduck looks like. Let’s move on….
I reiterate. A clam? A fighting clam? That almost makes the okra and pickles look tough. This is a slimy, slippery, practically dead-looking, gooey geoduck.
Can you imagine the Evergreen State Geoducks kicking a field goal for the winning point against the DePaul University Blue Demons? Seafood versus Satan. Will Satan win? We shall see….
Nothing More Fun Than a College Mascot
Although, I’ve got to say…. I feel bad for the guy or girl playing the mascot. That’s a heavy costume to wear. But a big responsibility. An important responsibility.
These mascots represent the pride and joy of the college team. They’re the glue keeping every player together.
So let’s celebrate them all. Even if such a mascot is a gooey duck or weird alien or drugged-up boll weevil. Fight song, anyone?