A Massachusetts school is home to the most "lovable" mascot in college sports. That's according to The Reader's Digest this week. But the poll overlooks hundreds of unfairly slighted college creatures, real and imagined.
The apparently indefatigable Dick Quinn, director of sports information at Williams College, is gloating this week, since the Williams mascot, Purple Cow, is the nation's most lovable college mascot.
According to Reader's Digest, Purple Cow edged out the University of North Carolina's Fighting Pickle, the Blue Blob of Xavier University, and Peter the Anteater, which says "Zot!" while representing the University of California at Irvine.
What of "Baby Owl," the second mascot of Temple University? "Baby Owl" was specifically created to be more "child friendly" than "Owl," which is neither a baby, nor, one assumes, especially friendly.
And what about Artie the Fighting Artichoke of Scottsdale Community College? Did Artie fail to get consideration because he represents a community college rather than a hotshot, big deal kind of place like Williams or UNC?
Or maybe Artie was slighted because he's known as "The Fighting Artichoke." If so, The Fighting Okra, the unofficial mascot of Delta State University since the late 1980's, was similarly handicapped.
Why still "unofficial," after all these years? I have no idea, just as I have no idea what would happen if the fighting artichoke, the fighting pickle and the fighting okra were to have at one another some dark night in the desert or the swamp, though I suppose my money would be on the artichoke.
The University of Missouri-Kansas City has a costumed mascot named Kasey the Kangaroo, which has to be at least as lovable and considerably less weird than the Purple Cow. The same can perhaps be said of Cubby, the second mascot of Brown University, a young hat-wearing bear said to be — like Baby Owl — especially appealing to young children.
Puddles the Duck, who represents the University of Oregon, might likewise prevail over the Williams entry in terms of lovability and failure to be weird. And if the Purple Cow got points precisely for being unlikely, how did she edge out Skitch the Sasquatch, mascot of the Community Colleges of Spokane?
And beyond that, what of Sycamore Sam, allegedly a happy forest animal of no particular species, who is embraced — perhaps just for its ineffableness — by students at Indiana State? What, Mr. Purple Cow-celebrating Dick Quinn, of happy Sycamore Sam?
This program aired on April 14, 2011.