Washington, take note: Mascot choices abound

(Photo from Scottsdale Community College, Facebook)

Aliyah Chavez

As NFL franchise seeks new name, existing sports teams show it’s possible to embrace even the quirkiest characters

Aliyah Chavez
Indian Country Today

A mascot? The symbolizing of a team. An object meant to bring good luck.

That is the subject of curiosity as many are wondering what Washington’s NFL team will be after the franchise announced Monday it will retire its racist name and logo.

Some front-runners for the new mascot could be the Redtails, Redwolves or Redhawks, sources say.

There’s hope out there for those who may be worried about having to get used to a new logo and name. Here’s a list of teams that show it’s possible to embrace even the quirkiest of mascots:

“Artie the Artichoke,” Scottsdale Community College
A few years after Scottsdale Community College was opened in 1970, its mascot officially became the “fighting artichokes.” The choice was made after the student body voted on the mascot. The students, at the time, had three choices: the artichokes, the Rutabaga (basically a turnip) or the Scoundrels. We know who won. 

(Photo by Carolyn Lagatutta)
(Photo by Carolyn Lagatutta)

“Sammy the Banana Slug,” UC Santa Cruz
“Sammy the Banana Slug” is the official mascot of the University of California Santa Cruz. It is named after a bright-yellow and slimy, shell-less mollusk that is found in Redwood forests. He can be seen at campus sporting events and university functions.

(Photo by Luke Yamnitz)
(Photo by Luke Yamnitz)

Billiken, Saint Louis University
The question on everyone’s mind: What is a billiken? It is a mythical creature that brings “good luck,” according to Saint Louis University, which adopted its mascot more than 100 years ago. There is even a statue of the mascot outside its basketball arena. And fans rub his belly for good fortune. 

“Peter the Pickle” at an event in 2018. (Photo from University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Facebook)
“Peter the Pickle” at an event in 2018. (Photo from University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Facebook)

“Peter the Pickle,” University of North Carolina School of the Arts
Pickles have been the mascot of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts for more than 40 years. The mascot greets new students at orientation events and makes cameos in school plays. There’s even an online quiz to find your “perfect pickle persona.”

“Speedy the Geoduck” drives a unicycle at a basketball game in 2019. (Photo from The Evergreen State College, Facebook)
“Speedy the Geoduck” drives a unicycle at a basketball game in 2019. (Photo from The Evergreen State College, Facebook)

“Speedy the Geoduck,” Evergreen State College mascot
A geoduck is the world’s largest burrowing clam, found in the Puget Sound … and they live a long time. The oldest geoduck, pronounced like “gooey-duck,” ever found was 168 years old. It has been the mascot of The Evergreen State College since 1971.

“Gritty” at an event in 2019. (Photo from Philadelphia Flyers, Facebook)
“Gritty” at an event in 2019. (Photo from Philadelphia Flyers, Facebook)

Gritty,” Philadelphia Flyers
“Gritty” was voted the favorite mascot of National Hockey League fans in 2019 after first being revealed by the team in 2018. The large, orange creature is the official mascot of the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team. He has quite a presence in the arena and on Twitter, where he has more than 307,000 followers.

Ichabod, mascot of Washburn University, poses for a photo before attending college fairs in 2017. (Photo from Washburn University, Facebook)
Ichabod, mascot of Washburn University, poses for a photo before attending college fairs in 2017. (Photo from Washburn University, Facebook)

Ichabod, Washburn University
Washburn University’s mascot is named after an early benefactor of the school named Ichabod Washburn. The school began calling itself the “Ichabods” in the late 1800s. Now, students can try out to be part of the “mascot program,” which allows them to make appearances at events and even be paid.

“Ferrous the IronPig,” pictured here, visited health care professionals working to combat COVID-19 in April 2020. (Photo from Lehigh Valley IronPics, Facebook)
“Ferrous the IronPig,” pictured here, visited health care professionals working to combat COVID-19 in April 2020. (Photo from Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Facebook)

“Ferrous the IronPig,” Lehigh Valley
“Ferrous the IronPig” is the mascot of Lehigh Valley, a professional minor league baseball team in Pennsylvania. There are multiple mascots to represent the organization including “FeFe” and other “Pork Racers.”

(Photo from Wigan Athletic, Facebook)
(Photo from Wigan Athletic, Facebook)

“Crusty the Pie,” Wigan Athletic
“Crusty the Pie” is the mascot of a professional soccer team in England. The mascot was founded in 2019 after two children, ages 8 and 9, won a competition to design a new mascot for the team. “We designed Crusty like this because everyone in Wigan loves pies!” the children said. 

(Photo from Traverse City Pit Spitters, Facebook)
(Photo from Traverse City Pit Spitters, Facebook)

Pit Spitters, Traverse City
“Monty” is the mascot of the Traverse City Pit Spitters, a minor league baseball team in Michigan. 

(Photo from Akron Baseball, Facebook)
(Photo from Akron Baseball, Facebook)

RubberDucks, Akron baseball
“Webster” is a rubber duck and the mascot of the Akron Baseball team, a minor league baseball organization in Ohio. The mascot was created in 2014. Since then, “Webster” has welcomed a few other mascot friends who accompany him at games, including “Orbit,” a space cat, “Homer” an inflatable pigeon and “Rubberta,” a female rubber duck. 

(Photo from Williams College)
(Photo from Williams College)

“The Purple Cow,” Williams College
Purple cows became the mascot of Williams College in 1907 when the student body voted it as the mascot of the Massachusetts school’s sports teams. The purple cow has become popular since, making Williams the only Division III school to have a mascot appear on ESPN’s College GameDay. 

(Photo from Wichita State University, Facebook)
(Photo from Wichita State University, Facebook)

WuShock,” Wichita State
“WuShock,” the mascot of Wichita State University, is a “big, bad” bundle of wheat. It has been the mascot since 1948. Schools legends say the name because many players earned money harvesting or “shocking” wheat in surrounding fields. 

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Aliyah Chavez, Kewa Pueblo, is a reporter-producer at Indian Country Today's Phoenix Bureau. Follow her on Twitter: @aliyahjchavez or email her at achavez@indiancountrytoday.com

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