Mascots love sports, but most events are shut down to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. So mascots are trying to stay busy until games resume. (See “Teddy talks to us” next to this article.)
To learn about these sometimes cute, sometimes creepy cheerleaders, read on:
The word “mascot” comes from the French “mascotte” (meaning lucky charm). “La Mascotte,” an 1870 French opera about a woman who brings a poor farmer good luck, made the word popular in the English language.
Soon, U.S. colleges began adopting animal mascots. Handsome Dan, a bulldog who belonged to a student at Yale University in the early 1890s, was among the first. When told to “speak to Harvard,” Yale’s traditional rival, Dan would bark ferociously. There have been 18 Dans over the years, none of whom liked Harvard.
Today many schools and sports teams have mascots — sometimes a live animal, more often a fan in a costume. Bobcats, bears, bulldogs and wolves abound. Testudo the Maryland terrapin is unique. So are the Fighting Squirrels of Virginia’s Mary Baldwin University. Some schools think really big: The University of Texas trots out Bevo, a huge longhorn steer, for football games.
The Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard have mascots. So do some rock bands and lots of products, especially those for kids. If you have cereal in the kitchen, check the box. There’s probably a mascot on it.
Not all mascots are popular. Some teams and schools that used the names and images of Native Americans changed them in recent years after complaints that they were hurtful.
The Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting, Indiana, honors 24 college and pro icons, including the newly elected Oriole Bird. It is closed because of the pandemic. But when it’s safe for the museum to reopen, Baltimore’s mascot will join the others, among them baseball’s legendary Phillie Phanatic. The woman who designed the fuzzy, green, pear-shape troublemaker also created the equally lovable Miss Piggy of the Muppets.
The Phanatic sported a new look in spring training this year. But he’s still a pest. Hopefully he and the other mascots will be back in action soon.
Teddy talks to us
KidsPost interviewed one of the Washington Nationals’ Racing Presidents. We asked Teddy Roosevelt how he’s staying busy without baseball. “I definitely have watched many replays of the 2019 postseason,” when the Nationals won the World Series. “So many good memories,” he said.
He’s also been tweeting, writing to friends, exercising (to stay in shape for those races), reading, gardening and making pizza.
Asked about his return, Teddy said, “Health and safety are the most important things right now, and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to return . . . when games resume. But I’m looking forward to winning the first ‘Presidents Race’ at Nationals Park once mascots are able to return!”