It was a big week for my Indiana Hoosiers, as the famous Little 500 Bike Race took place. IU kind of got some fantastic press. One question I got asked all week from my CA friends was, “but like… what is a Hoosier? Like do you guys even have a mascot.”
Well, Jennifer, that’s a great question. A Hoosier is literally defined as a native of Indiana. We have a mascot but we also don’t have a mascot. In terms of having a guy dressing up in a sweaty stuffed animal pedophile suit, no, we don’t have a mascot. But I have never been to a football or basketball game and thought, “You know what, this game’s missing a mascot.”
I mean, what would you do? How do you even depict an Indiana native? A pasty white guy with a little bit of tummy coming out of his shirt?
No. You would not do that.
There are also plenty of sports teams that have a cool inanimate object as their team name, like the Utah Jazz, but they choose to have some safe and non-corresponding mascot. The mascot for the Utah Jazz is a fucking bear. I mean, I love bears, but come on. That’s just ridiculous. Your mascot for the music genre of jazz is a bear? Bears can’t play musical instruments. That’s just so safe. Indiana would never do that. We are the Hooisers, not the lawn chairs. We don’t fold.
No one who has ever been to an Indiana sporting event has ever wished for a mascot. All we wonder is, “What crack-cocaine cocktail did our fucking coach inhale before the game?” or something along the lines of, “Why do I grow ulcers from watching IU sports?” (Hopefully not this year, because IU sports might be BACK!)
If you learned anything in math and betting, it’s that zero is better than being in the negative. In honor of Indiana not having a physical mascot that you can see with your eyes, here is my list of the TOP 5 worst mascots in the country that should retire their mascot immediately and just follow Indiana’s suit and say, “use your imagination.”
5. The Penn State Nittany Lion
I don’t know about you, but when I think of a lion, I think of a proud, majestic, and powerful predator. African lion, mountain lion, nittany lion, it doesn’t matter. Lions are sick. You would never hear ‘lion’ and think ‘weasel’. The Penn State Nittany Lion is a disgrace to the species of lion. I mean it honestly looks like a wet rat wearing a scarf who just walked away from a sewer orgy. On a wet and shitty day in State College, this mascot may resemble that little stringy dude that sits next to Jabba the Hutt.
I understand that tradition is important, and perhaps this mascot material hasn’t been touched (or cleaned) since the 1940s, but don’t sit here and say that this mascot looks anything like a lion.
4. Cal’s Oski the Bear
This one hurts me to write. The University of California Berkeley, or Cal, has a special place in my heart. I grew up in Northern California my whole life and before I decided to watch Indiana sports break my heart every year, I was cleaning the annual wounds I got from watching Cal sports. Cal has a great mascot, being a bear. I mean who doesn’t love a fucking bear. Bears are big, powerful, menacing, and awesome creatures. It should be pretty hard to fuck up a bear mascot. You absolute shit on this notion when you remove character traits that make a bear great and add the not-so-great traits of a creepy old guy who likes to lurk about the play structure at the park. I mean what the hell were people thinking when they designed this costume. Big head, large belly, skinny arms, and a toothless perma-smile? Berkeley wanted this fucking guy walking up and down the rows of Cal stadiums… to take pictures with children??? He’s fucking terrifying. That smile is hiding some dark thoughts. I guess you could lessen the damage by naming him Billy or Benny. Sure, maybe Benny the Bear could work looking like the way that he does. But Oski? That sounds like a part-time Uber driver/part-time DJ who swims dangerously too close to people at the communal swimming pool.
3. UC Santa Cruz’s Sammy the Banana Slug
Sammy’s presence brings about great conflict. The University of California Santa Cruz let their balls hang on the dinner table when they said, “fuck your lions, tigers, and bears, our mascot is a banana slug.” I mean that energy is nothing short of electric, admirable at the very least. I love that disruptive and trailblazing attitude. But I gotta say, I like the idea of having an outrageous mascot a lot more when there’s no physical guy in a suit to depict it. UC Santa Cruz should have a wild banana slug ready to go, placed it in a royal glass bowl, and have it held in that bowl and lifted in the air like Simba, for all the fans to see during basketball games. That would be fucking incredible. You could have the star player kiss it on the walk in from the locker room. There’s so many things those guys at Santa Cruz could have done. But no. They choose to do none of it. They canceled all of the great energy that comes with a banana slug and they folded like a lawn chair by bringing in a guy wearing a costume that looks like a used condom. What a waste.
2. Purdue Pete
You see this? This is what a nightmare looks like. Purdue’s mascot is a boilermaker. Other than being the mascot of a far inferior and fraudulent university, a boilermaker is a worker who assembled steam engine locomotives in the 1800s. Purdue did the opposite of what the Utah Jazz did. Purdue didn’t want to fold and put a bear as their mascot; they actually tried to depict what a boilermaker would look like. And boy, did it fail. They created a monster. They not only ruined the name ‘Pete’, but they created a diabolical mixture of Woody from Toy Story and Annabelle from the Conjuring, and gave the plastic head this permanent look on his face of a guy who just silently farted out an absolute anus-storm in a tight public space, but isn’t sure of his next move. The face literally embodies the post-fart mental conflict of: Fuck. Should I say, “Oof, who farted?” or should I just pretend that I don’t smell anything.
- The Stanford Tree
What in the actual fuck is this. This is the most obvious choice on my list. From everything to eye-cancer design of the mascot to the pointless excuse for the tree’s purpose in the first place, this is the WORST mascot in the country. Stanford’s real mascot is the inanimate Cardinal red, kind of like the Alabama Crimson Tide. Yes, I know that Alabama’s mascot for the Crimson Tide is an elephant, but I expected that sort of thinking from our intelligent friends at Bama. But for Stanford, a school that is usually recognized for producing some of the best and brightest minds in the world, this just doesn’t make any fucking sense. Somehow ‘cardinal’ inspired some idiot that a tree would be a good fit. It’s pointless, thoughtless, ugly, lazy, and out right pathetic. I am a big tree hugger, but nothing would please me more than to see this mascot, and the moron inside, get axed and then turned into paper. I don’t need to dissect this any further, it’s widely known as the worst mascot in the country.