I read in the paper this morning that some students at UC Merced want to change the mascot from the Golden Bobcat to the fairy shrimp.
That got me to thinking about mascots in general. My high school had the Tracy High Bulldogs (Class of 92 represent...), and my brother's high school had the West High Wolf Pack. I think he might have wanted the Wolverines, but I could be wrong.
And I'm sure if that's the case, he will not hesitate to let me know. And possibly make fun of my hair.
Since I was a jock, I guess technically I was an official Tracy High Bulldog, though given that I played badminton, that's really more akin to a wiener dog or whatever else is a step up from those dinky little yap dogs.
My friend Jeff and I were the boys doubles team, and could not have sucked more unless we were a Sci-Fi original movie. I guess part of the problem was that we hadn't ever played badminton before, and the teams at all the others schools had. Our lucky Burger King crowns we tried wearing at one match didn't help, either.
We tried to make it entertaining, at least. There were hopeless dives for the birdie, complete misses and lots of improvised swearing. The largest audience I can remember at a home game was one person, and that's only because she was another team member's ride home.
She also didn't share her Slurpee with me, even though I had almost worked up a sweat.
While our team didn't win a single match, we did almost get to the end of the season without giggling every time someone referred to the birdie as the shuttlecock.
But I'm not here to relive my glory days as a jock, I'm talking about mascots -- specifically, why are they always the same old thing? Seems like schools picked from a list of maybe a dozen choices. Bulldogs, Wolf Pack, Panthers, Lions, Tigers, Bears (no, I'm not going to do it -- I have some standards, you know.), Warriors, Pork and Beans, Hubcaps from a 72 Pinto Hatchback, and a few others.
I don't know how thrilled I'd be about the fairy shrimp, but then again, I work in a town where the local baseball team is The Modesto Nuts. I guess I can deal with anything. Still, they are memorable, and goshdarnit, different. You have to appreciate things like that.
But I know how hard it is to come up with a good, strong name. Car makers, who once used strong-sounding animal names for their products, now have resorted to making up words and then adding a ZX, SX or some other pairing that vaguely sounds like the word "sex."
But because I am a generous fellow, I decided to offer a few ideas for team mascots, categorized for your convenience. If you have to name a team and you end up using one of my suggestions, I am perfectly happy to accept large sums of money.
Failing that, a hat and T-shirt.
Teams like big animals, because they give the team the appearance of being strong and uh, animally.
Mastadons (big, strong, woolly -- a good start)
Diplodocuses (I was going to say Brontosauruses, but they're really Apatosauruses now, even though everyone who's not a nerd or a paleontologist still calls them Brontosauruses, and then you'd always have to explain it to people, and it really would be a hassle.)
Caribou (maybe the prom queen could be called Princess Caribou. Or not...)
Large Unspecified Quadruped Mammals (Unique, but a pain to fit on jerseys and helmets)
I'm surprised they haven't used these already. Some would be off-limits, of course, but some could work well, I think.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Crabs (Hm. I guess this one could fall under sea creatures, too)
You've got Thunder, Lightning, Earthquakes. Let's think a little large-scale, maybe even delving into physics.
Schrödinger's cats (of course, this could cause problems in terms of win/loss records or even the coin toss)
This would be fun just for the conversations that would ensue.
"Who's playing against the Bulldogs?"
"I know, but what team is it?"
Both: "Third base!"
Teh L33t (you know, in case one of those computer science magnet schools fields a team)