As we roll headlong into the basketball season and say our sweet goodbyes, sans the Bowls, to the football season, we thought today it might be worthwhile today to look at an integral part of the athletic team ethos — the almighty mascot.
Truly, the mascot serves as an anthropomorphical anomaly, a way for a team to ally itself with a fearsome creature that will strike fear in the hearts of its adversaries, and has been used throughout the years effectively by teams like the Raiders (we will pillage and destroy you!) and the Devil Rays (do not step on us!) and ineffectively by teams such as the Mets (we are high society fops!) and the Lakers (we love lakes!).
Here in the SEC, several fearsome mascots take the stage yearly to do battle with their foes. So for the next two weeks, we present a two-part special NTKW focusing on such mascots. Let’s get to know them better, shall we?
Mascot: Mike the Tiger
Our dear friend Mosley once referred to LSU as the “Louisiana State Unoriginal Mascots,” a moniker which accurately describes the slumming that went on with the school’s decision to steal a mascot from any number of local peewee football teams, but LSU’s Mike the Tiger does remain one of the more classic figures in college sports. The figure you see above is actually just a proxy for the actual Mike the Tiger, a bengali-siberian hybrid kept in captivity. LSU is currently heralding “Mike VI,” both illustrating that Louisiana treats their mascots as Popes and paying homage to the five Mike the Tigers who’ve passed away, shocking the world with the factoid that — surprise! — Baton Rouge isn’t the ideal place for a tiger to live.
Pros: Tigers do, in fact, kill people.
Cons: “Mike V” died in 2006 of renal failure, and not at the hands of a pirate, a hawk or any creature described as “fighting.”
Fun Fact: In 2005, LSU built a $3 million habitat for Mike that includes a waterfall, rocky plateaus, and lush murals. Meanwhile, you recently got drunk and put your hand through the drywall of your home, which was applied terribly by an apathetic homebuilder crying over his recent divorce.
Team: University of Georgia
Mascot: Uga the Bulldog
Look! He thinks he’s people! While the bulldog has always been a symbol of rugged strength, the true rugged strength belongs to whoever has to put the jersey on this beast before each game. Several bulldogs have taken the visage of Uga over the years, with Uga the 5th portraying his father, Uga the 4th, in the motion picture Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, where he allegedly contracted chlamydia from Jude Law. Still, Georgia fans love Uga unconditionally, trotting him out at every sporting event.
Pros: Good dog!
Cons: Bad dog!
Fun Fact: Was the first mascot ever to attend a Heisman Trophy presentation, where he wore a tux and, one would presume, did not care about who won the Heisman Trophy.
Team: University of Alabama
Mascot: Big Al the Elephant
Since the University of Alabama couldn’t find a clothier who could come up with a costume depicting several thousand people wearing red, the University of Alabama decided upon a natural second choice: an elephant. Big Al is known for his colorful personality at games, both taunting opposing teams and taking giant, hilarious dumps on the floor.
Pros: Mates for life.
Cons: Scared of mice.
Fun Fact: When Big Al was first conceived, the costume had spider legs, a pig nose, and horns. This is because no one who lives in Alabama has ever seen an elephant.
Team: Mississippi State University
Mascot: Bully the Bulldog
The only thing more frightening than the tenacity of a bulldog is the tenacity of a bulldog who’s into leather and bondage, which is apparently what MSU’s going for with Bully. Basically a poor man’s Uga (see above), he is introduced routinely to the Baja Men’s “Who Let the Dogs Out,” which never fails to make children and people who are way too into MSU athletics go crazy — and keeps the Baja Men relevant. At least in Mississippi.
Pros: Loves kids.
Cons: Poops in the house.
Fun Fact: Bully’s safe word is “pineapple.”
Team: Vanderbilt University
Mascot: Mr. C
Because of Tennessee’s rich naval tradition, Mr. C was in fact born as the mascot of the school’s nickname “The Commodores.” Wearing a garish feathered hat and regal uniform, this mascot frightens exactly no one, yet his empirical nature led to the widely-covered conquering of Clarksville Community College last year.
Pros: Can steer a ship.
Cons: Poops in the house.
Fun Fact: Despite rumors to the contrary, the mascot was not named “Mr. C” due to former president Alexander Heard’s fondness for Happy Days.
More to come next week folks. Enjoy your weekend, and here’s a little video to get you through the day.
That is all.