Until recently, I hadn’t given much thought to mascots. (When your older sister is the Hubbard Eagle, it’s all downhill from there.) Until I read something about Pete the Penguin, the Youngstown State University mascot, having a sidekick now. YSU is my husband’s alma mater and even he didn’t know that Pete is married and her name is Penny. They dress alike: Pete always wears a red scarf and has a furrowed brow, as if he’s just slightly ticked off or having a bad day to infinity. Penny is slightly miffed, also, and she wears her red scarf as a babushka and she has eyelashes. They are both angry penguins, which helps when you’re pitted against Vikings, Chargers, Wildcats and the like. A dirty look is all a penguin’s got.
My sister Kathy recalls that in the ‘60s, YSU had a real live penguin. “He lived in a little cage with a big ice cube all winter, and he lived at the Pittsburgh Zoo during the warm weather,” she said. “He didn’t need a costume - He always wore a tuxedo.” Angry and dapper. That explains how he scored Penny.
My own college alma mater, Kent State, was the Golden Flashes, which might explain why I never had any interest in mascots or college sports at all until long after I graduated.
The Flashes had a mascot identity crisis. At any given time they have been represented by a lightning bolt, a golden retriever, an eagle, a cartoon character called Grog, a superhero with lightning bolts coming out of his hands called Golden Flash, and The Golden Flasher, a palomino with a rider. My friend Ken, remembering the retriever, says, “I think the message they were trying to convey was: Try pushing us around and we’ll lick your face. No wonder the football team went 1-10 and 0-11 back to back years.”
As weird as a penguin and a dog-electricity surge-super hero-eagle may sound, I found far weirder team mascots, thanks to some suggestions from friends and family, and YourLogoMakesMeBarf.com.
Fisher High School Bunnies
Not the Rabbits or even the Angry Hares, but the Bunnies. Go get ‘em Thumper! (Thanks, Karen.)
Avon Old Farms Winged Beavers
The wings of a hawk, ice skates and hockey weapons of destruction. That’ll keep the beaver jokes to a minimum.
Laurel Hill Hobos
Laurel Hill, Florida
Don’t get pus on the basketball!
Chinook Sugar Beeters
He’s going to put someone’s eye out with that thing.
Centralia High School Orphans (boys’ teams) & Annies (girls’ teams)
She’s an orphan because she’s Little Orphan Annie. He’s an orphan because he runs funny and has a little arm.
UCSC Banana Slugs
Sammy the Slug represents. (Thanks, Emily.)
Western Kentucky Furry Red Creatures. Or something.
The furry red creature is known as Big Red. No one knows what he is, other than a big furry red bundle of school spirit, that’s what!
Ohio Wesleyan University Battling Bishops
As we all know, the Catholic hierarchy can get downright nasty in a contest. (Even this toddler is thinking, “The what what?”)
Trinity Christian College Trolls
Hey, buddy, gimme five! Up high! Down low! Too slow! Now I will eat you.
Rhode Island School of Design Balls
The Balls’ mascot is known as Scrotie. When asked, Internet sources are quick to point out that Scrotie is the unofficial
mascot. School officials, when asked, are quick to hide in the supply closet and slit their wrists. Scrotie shows up at all the games and often leads the crowd in the team slogan: “When the heat is on, the Balls stick together.”
The hockey team is called the Nads and their slogan is: “Go Nads!”
The Akron Aeros
What’s an Aero? Certainly not an orange . . . whatever this is. Looks like the Young Top Cat costume was on sale and the Aeros were in the market. (Thanks, Colleen.)
Now here’s a school with an identity problem. Stanford’s teams are the Cardinals, but not the bird, the color. OK. So they’ve had a problem finding a mascot. They have allowed the tree to be the temporary, unofficial mascot until they can come up with something else. Way to make an easy decision complicated, Stanford. Just pick the bird, for crying out loud. It doesn’t have to be perfect. (Thanks, Reenie.)
Las Vegas Area 51s
This minor league baseball team named for a military base where conspiracy theorists believe an alien ship landed. Landed and left a googley-eyed fellow who was willing to put on a blue jersey, run the bases, and pose for snapshots. (Thanks, Michelle.)
Pittsburg State Gorillas
This Kansas college boasts that it is the “home of the nation’s only gorillas.” Which means they’ve almost
evolved to the mascot of a man in a gorilla suit, which makes them superior in most sports. (Thanks, Dan.)
The New Berlin High School Pretzels
New Berlin, Illinois
How can you not cheer for the school represented by a delicious savory snack? The New Berlin Pretzels have it all sewn up. Until, of course, they play the Taylorville Funyuns.