Not too many years ago (okay … a lot of years ago) when I was in high school, our varsity wrestling team used to compete against the “Darts.” I never could figure out why anyone would want to moniker their school with something as ridiculous sounding as the “Darts” … but then my school’s mascot was the “Beetdiggers,” so what could I say? Whatever they were called, the “Darts” kicked the “Beetdiggers” asses almost annually. They were tough – perhaps because of their mascot.
It makes me wonder about professional teams and why they choose a specific mascot. There is no doubt that ferocious animals and Native American tribes are the front-runners for favorites. Who wouldn’t run for their lives from an Apache or a Panther? But what about a Beaver or Cardinal? Not so scary, methinks.
Worse is the idea of naming your team after a benign object – like a Nugget. Even worse are the fuzzy lovable objects such as a Duck, a Dog or a Chicken. At least these are mascots that can bite or be thrown at something – unlike a Saint (not scary at all unless you’re a Devil).
Venture into the realm of fictional characters and you have another juicy topic for discussion. Cowboys and Buccaneers and 49ers are well and good but let’s talk a minute about my preference – the Pirates. Granted a Buccaneer is the same as a pirate but the latter title is snappy and brings images of earring draped, eye-patch swathed, swashbuckling rogues – my favorite kind of guy.
Apparently, there are a lot of teams who feel the same as I do. Take a look at the list of Pirate donning teams:
• East Carolina University
• Park University in Missouri
• Whitworth University in Washington
• Seton Hall University in New Jersey
• Pine Tree High School in Texas
• Armstrong Atlantic State University in Georgia
• Stevenson University in California
• Pensacola State University in Florida
• Robert Lewis Stevenson High School (of course) in California
Of course, the Pittsburg Pirates and Orlando Pirates have the market on professional football and baseball pirate mascots respectively.
Whatever the team may be that dons the pirate moniker and parades a giant cutthroat mascot (aka another name for pirate) across its field, I’m cheering for them. I love the history of Caribbean pirates – romantic or rebel. Their legend lives on in the mascots of these teams.
Go PIRATES! (And does anyone know what a Mets is anyway?)