Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Mascot Awards

It's been a few days of March Madness now, and I'm beginning to see why they call it "madness." I have had the time, being unemployed, to watch every single college basketball game-- both men's and women's. We're talking hours, nay, days of yelling at referees, cursing the other team, routing for the underdog, and shouldering the bracket busters. During this time, I have subsisted on minimal interaction with live humans and maximum interaction with Mr. Pringle.

All of this has led to the very real potential for a case of March Madness. There was a point today when, slumped over on my couch with only the remote and a bag of chips to prop me up, I realized if I watched college basketball for much longer, my eyeballs would grow soft and just pop right out of my head. Enter: Stage One of MM. Stage Two consists of total muscle atrophy and loss of brain function other than that which is required to say "Yes! And the foul!" Stage Three, the final stage, you don't even want to know about.

Before that could happen, I decided to use my brain. What have I not had time to do because I've had a pesky thing called a job? March Madness still on the brain, I decided to research iffy collegiate mascots. Sticking to the teams that are participating in either the men's or women's tournaments this year, here are the awards for...

Most represented mascot of the 2009 men's tournament: Tigers (LSU, Memphis, Clemson, Missouri)

Most represented mascot of the 2009 women's tournament: Bulldogs (MSU, Georgia, Fresno State, Gonzaga)

Mascot that makes you go "really?" with the most skepticism: The Chattanooga Mocs. "Mocs" was short for "moccasins" until '96, when they decided to be hip (and/or more sensitive to Native Americans) and go by "mocs" instead. Scrappy, the Mockingbird is their mascot. He rides atop a Chattanooga choo choo train. So it's a bird on a train that really represents a shoe. What? Really?

Most made up mascot: The bearcat. Oh, crap, no that's a real thing. The real winner? The Illinois Fighting Illini. Another school who went the less-offensive-to-Native-Americans route, their mascot was Chief Illiniwek until 2007. They kept the name "Illini," though, their reasoning being that "Illini" is short for "Illinois." Even if that worked, it would be stupid because it would make them The Illinois Fighting Illinois. What? That's made up.

Best plant matter mascot: This one has two winners-- Ohio State and Stanford. On paper, it's the Ohio State Buckeyes. Buckeyes are trees native to certain parts of North America, Europe, and eastern Asia. BUT, they lose to Stanford because

does not =

In terms of mascot presentation, clearly it's the Stanford tree. They are, however, referred to as the Stanford Cardinal, meaning the color, not the bird. So why are they a tree again? I don't see the connection.

Most disputed abstract mascot: Cornell and Western Kentucky University, both are "the big red"
Cornell's big red...bear:
WKU's big red...muppet?:
Ok, that was fun. I liked the mental exercise. Now, back to the couch!

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