Are school mascots supposed to be A) menacing, B) inspiring, or C) pitiful? If you’re like me, you answered D) “I have no idea, because after extensive study in 2 states I have found no discernible pattern.”
As a young ‘un on the family ranch 4 miles south of the Oregon border, I attended one-room Bogus Elementary School. Along with the one other kid in my kindergarten class, we were the Bogus Bats. If I were the opponent of a bat, I would shriek and grab a broomstick. If I were the bat, I’d hide in a cave.
Continuing with an unexplainable “b” theme, my family moved when I was nine and I became a Big Springs Badger. Badgers are fierce and fang-y, but their diminutive stature classifies them as “varmints” in my mind. More like a wood chuck than a wolverine.
In high school I was a Yreka Miner. Our mascot showed a picture of a bearded old man wearing a slouch felt hat and shouldering a pick ax. Viewing it, I was torn between, “Aww, poor old bum,” and “Is that a used murder weapon?”
What’s up with the Wells (NV) Leopards? When was the last time (or the first) that a big spotted cat was seen on the high desert?
Or the Carlin Railroaders. What’s a railroader? Is it someone who builds railroads, evoking an image of a virile man capable of vanquishing his opponent in a contest of physical strength and athletic ability?
Or is it someone who hitches free rides on trains and sleeps in a blackberry bush? Should I step aside in intimidation or hand over my spare change and half a sandwich?
I like the Spring Creek Spartans. Besides the sibilical alliteration, Spartans are a globally recognized symbol of noble warriors. Plus, they have nifty helmets with feathers. Only a Spartan could wear that and still look cool.
Pretty much the reason I didn’t go to college in Santa Cruz, besides the fact that I had absolutely no desire to, is that their mascot is the banana slug. What effect were they going for? “Stay away, or I’ll slime you”? Kind of like the middle school basketball player who continually wipes his snotty nose with his dribbling hand.
I guess it doesn’t really matter what your mascot is, as long as you play nobly and fair. It just seems easier to channel nobility when you’re a Wildcat than a Bat.