Column: THE MASCOT DILEMMA

A Few Things To Consider
THE MASCOT DILEMMA
By J. SCOTT HELTON
After binge-watching college football this weekend, I decided that in my column that I would try and get a few things off my chest and possibly have some things made clear to me in the process. Anyone that knows me understands that I am a Georgia Bulldog fan, always have been and always will be. My Dad would not have allowed anything different in our house growing up, and now as an adult, I am thankful for his excellent taste. I believe that once a person becomes truly loyal to a team, that loyalty will continue for life. And for the record, I do not think someone can share your devotion with two different college football teams like you can with professional sports, so everyone that says “Well I like Georgia and Tennessee”, I say that is mentally, physically, (and in the South) spiritually impossible, so everyone go outside and take your “house divided” tags off your car and bury them (your spouse will thank you later), less you seek trouble in your home. A house divided against itself cannot stand.
A college team should have an easily recognizable mascot that they are proud to call their own. When I ask you who Florida’s mascot is, you think Gators. When I say Clemson, you think Tigers. What are all these schools with two mascots doing? Here are a few of my concerns;
* The University of Alabama. What or who is your mascot, and what is a “Roll Tide”? I know it is used as a rallying cry, but you have an Elephant named “Al” walking around the sidelines. I am somehow missing the connection. At some point in history did a Crimson-colored elephant wash up in Gulf Shores or Mobile? Is there a crimson elephant in a zoo somewhere in Alabama that I have never heard of? Perhaps the administration should look at the Tulane “Green Wave” as a model for getting an actual mascot.
* Auburn University. This one pains me because I do not despise Auburn like other teams on this list, but if you are the Tigers, why do you chant “War Eagle”? I understand it boosts morale, and seeing the eagle fly is an incredible tradition, but could you not shout, “Go Tigers”? It seems to be working pretty good for LSU.
* The University of Tennessee. Volunteers? I understand you are the volunteer state, but Georgia’s mascot is not “the peaches.” And which thing on the field is the mascot, the Davy Crockett-looking guy, the tick-hound, or the checkerboard in the endzone, and for what are they volunteering? A win? Not this season, ask Georgia State. I guess one could say they are volunteering to fund programs like Georgia State by offering them $950,000 to beat UT at home. Maybe Tennessee has the checkerboard thing all wrong. Like Denzel Washington said in Training Day, “This is Chess, it ain’t Checkers.”

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