I can’t get behind elaborate touchdown dances or emotionally overwrought ESPN documentaries, but I’ll always appreciate the hard work of the mascots on the sidelines.
One of my earliest sports memories is being nuzzled by the Phillie Phanatic as I played a pre-game show on the field with my elementary school band. (Popularity: I haz it.) And at my alma mater, inflatable mascot (and John McCain doppelganger) Baldwin the Eagle was known for a tricky flip/headstand move that’s sure to bring a nostalgic tear to the heart of any Superfan.
Bringing in the noise and/or funk.
Yes, mascots are the heart of sports for the athleti-verse—but by and large, they aren’t female.
There are primary female mascots, but they’re few and far between. The University of Delaware Blue Hens are represented by the fierce and fabulous YoUDee, who, being a hen, is female in theory but androgynous in practice; the University of Akron Zips are represented on the sidelines by Zippy the female kangaroo. California’s Claremont Colleges cheer on warrior goddess Athena—but I couldn’t find a single image of the actual costume.
In practice, most female mascots are counterparts to the team’s primary male mascot: self-described “supercouple” Shasta and Sasha rile crowds at the University of Houston, and the University of Central Florida has Glycerin: girlfriend to their male mascot Knightro (get it?). The Toronto Blue Jays replaced B.J. Birdy with co-ed duo Ace and Diamond in 2000; they appear to be the only professional sports team with a female mascot.
Knightro and Glycerin...and a whole lot of reasons to be uncomfortable.
So what should a female mascot look like? Cheerleading site Varsity is asking you—yes, you!—to submit your design for the female mascot of the future. And if you win, you’ll receive a t-shirt printed with your design (and 10 more to give to your fam and friends).
For those of you sans artistic skills, here’s your chance to weigh in. What makes a mascot badass, regardless of gender? How would a female mascot change the crowd dynamic? Heck, would it change the dynamic? And feel free to chime in about RISD’s mascot, the adorably bizarre (and probably NSFW) Scrotie.
Images via varsity.com, eagleionline.com, library.ucf.eduMaggie Carr has written about TV, feminism, fashion, and other kinds of lady business for BUST and Thought Catalog, among others. She's never not tweeting about Kanye West at @racecarr.