Be happy for normal mascots

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My Views

By Thomas Barr

 When watching Sportscenter or Jeopardy, are you ever amused at some of the mascots associated with colleges?

A recent release by the U.S. College Search organization listed the top 10 weird and unusual college mascots.

Can’t say that I would disagree. with the list.

In no particular order, take a look at some of those mascots your college might be in fear of on the athletic court:

*The Fighting Pickles of University of North Carolina School of the Arts - maybe with so many colleges in the state, all the good names are taken. I mean, Tar Heels isn’t the greatest but it is better than the fighting pickles.

Are they dills or spears? If their team is beaten badly, do they turn into relish?

According to the U.S. College Search release, there were no athletic teams for the school in the 1970s. When the annual touch football game against the Fighting Deacons of Wake Forest, students wanted a mascot. 

I know Fighting Pickles would be my top choice.

*The University of California at Santa Cruz has the Banana Slugs as its mascot.

What can I say? I guess it was an alternative to the first official mascot, the sea lion.

What is a Banana Slug? If the baseball team plays a doubleheader and wins one of the games, I guess that would be a Banana Split.

*The University of Arkansas at Monticello’s mascot is the Boll Weevils.

Probably a few University of Louisville football fans would like to attach that title to Bobby Petrino but he’s at THE University of Arkansas.

The release didn’t explain the choice but did point out that the men’s athletic teams are represented by the boll weevils but the women have the cotton blossom. Besides asking what a cotton blossom has to do with sports (are uniforms maybe cotton?) there is also the point that boll weevils are natural enemies of the cotton plant.

Could be a way to keep the men and women apart at college.

*Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University has the Hokies.

This one is for a former colleague in Landmark Community Newspapers - Don Porterfield.

At least Virginia Tech is a major school many people can identify with.

The HokieBird is a bird that is better than the original mascot. That was a turkey when the school was nicknamed the gobblers.

No Thanksgiving Day football games for this school.

*Webster University Gorlocks is a mystery.

Well, according to the press release, a gorlock is a mythical creature with cheetah paws, buffalo horns and a Saint Bernard’s face. Not surprisingly, a contest was held for students and staff and this is what they ended up with.

The moniker was derived from a combination of two streets - Gore and Lockwood - that intersect in the town.

Can’t really top that one.

*The University of California at Irvine is represented by the Anteater.

Now, this is not a bad mascot. What might be unusual is the chant by students dubbed the Completely Insane Anteaters - “zot, zot, zot” - which is the sound the anteater’s tongue makes when he’s catching ants in the BC comic strip.

Sorry, I didn’t read that one.

*The Southwestern College Moundbuilders can be found to have a little in common with Western Kentucky University.

While WKU is named the Hilltoppers due to the school’s location on a higher elevation in Bowling Green, Southwestern College chose to call themselves the Moundbuilders.

Mascot advantage goes to Big Red and the Hilltoppers.

If the Bullitt County planning commission needed a mascot, I guess it would be The Berm. That’s an earthen mound required to block the view of a commercial and residential property. Go Berm, Go. 

*How many times have you watched the University of Louisville play St. Louis University and wondered what is a Billiken?

It seems that the billiken is a symbol for good luck and the mascot apparently had a resemblance to former football coach John Bender.

The things you learn on the internet.

*Delta State University is known as the Fighting Okra.

This is a trick question since the Statesman is the official mascot; however, according to the U.S. College Search article, the students decided that the Statesman was not an intimidating mascot.

For the past 20 years, they have adopted the Fighting Okra was selected because it was green, fuzzy and tough.

I just don’t think a Fighting Okra is intimidating unless you are a person who fears that particular veggie. I could see a battle between the Fighting Okra and the Battling Beets. Reality TV is just waiting. Maybe on the Food Channel.

*Finally, the Evergreen State College has Geoducks as its mascot.

Seems these are long-necked saltwater clams native to the Pacific Northwest.

Once again, don’t like clams but don’t remember seeing any with any necks at all. If I want seafood, it’s fast-food for me. But I’m not a student at Evergreen State College, either.

As tournament time approaches, aren’t you glad you have teams like the Eagles, Chargers and Cougars to root for at the high school level. Go out and see a district tournament game this week at Bullitt Central.

And stay away from those unusual mascots.