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Do Mascots Increase School Spirit?
A school mascot can be anything from an animal or insect to a type of person, flower, or other entity. Mascots have been associated with athletic teams since interscholastic team competition began in the post-Civil War era at the end of the 19th century. The school mascot at its core is a symbol of school pride and a certain spirit. In many cases, the answer to the question of whether pets increase school spirit is self-evident. As Penn State’s Nittany Lion Sanctuary has illustrated, it’s part of school events and celebrations. There’s even a tradition that started in 1966 called Guard the Lion Shrine that takes place immediately after the Homecoming Pep Rally with guest speakers, food and drinks, and a DJ.
Part of the enjoyable experience of attending a school play is watching the performances of the mascots. A pet is serving its purpose when it awakens its audience. Mascots are a recognizable face or personality for a school that builds popularity with fans and increases team spirit at games and other community events. They add to the school’s history, tradition and pride. It’s not just about putting on a suit. The pets even have training grounds and manuals to help them play their role to the fullest.
The most memorable mascots embody a desire to support the school and are a visual representation of your affiliation with the school they are proud to call their own. In fact, many have been promoted by students like Penn State’s Joe Mason, who came up with the Nittany Lion symbol, or the students who selected Cy the Cardinal for Iowa State University, Sammy the Banana Slug lobbied by students from the University of California. Santa Cruz.
The tradition of mascots in the United States dates back at least to the Civil War, where many regiments kept live mascots. In the post-Civil War era, intercollegiate and intercollegiate competition began using mascots as intercollegiate athletic games and rivalries arose. Some schools do not have pets. An example is the University of Michigan which does not have a mascot that entertains at games. Its athletic department has maintained that there was no need for one and that one would not reflect the spirit and values of athletics at the University. Refusing to sanction an even tough one over the years, mascots in a variety of wolverine costumes have been proposed. The word pet came into the English language from a French word used to describe anything that brings luck to a home.
Pets can be chosen without much deliberation or care. They can also be selected by popular election, as has happened more recently than over the years. No matter how they are selected, there is reasoning behind them. The selected mascots represent something that schools want to associate with the symbol which can become as much of a promotional tool as the more identifiable mascots have been.
When it comes to school mascots, animal names predominate. Some are more common than others. A perceived image or quality associated with the animal makes some animals a more likely choice as they participate in supporting athletic teams. Therefore, an eagle is a more common emblem than a slug. The most common pets are animals associated with ferocity such as eagles, tigers, lions, bulldogs, wildcats, and panthers. Along the same lines, the most common human symbols are warriors, brave men, chieftains, raiders, pirates. In addition to animal pets, warrior pets make up about half of human pets. A martial spirit is represented in most pet names. These mascots get viewers to associate that spirit with the determination and will to succeed of the teams.
Pets can have different uses. During games, they get the crowd excited and involved in the game. They bring smiles and laughter with their antics and are a mark of identification, a symbol of school pride and a fellow cheerleader. The most identifiable mascots are the ambassadors of the schools and their sports teams with which they have been associated. An example is Penn State’s Nittany Lion mascot, which makes more than 200 appearances each year, only half of which are at sporting events, although the inspiration for the symbol came from a game between Penn State and Princeton in 1904. Be a mascot can become a career where one can earn a six-figure income with a professional sports team, which is an illustration of their importance to the franchise they represent.
Pet selection has taken different paths. Many mascots have been selected because students, school officials, locals, or even reporters have given the university or college a nickname. At BYU in 1923, track coach Eugene L. Roberts chose the cougar as the official mascot of BYU track and field because he was a Utah native and embodied the traits of strength, agility, grace, speed, and beauty that he expected BYU athletes will exemplify. Today, Cosmo the Cougar is the official BYU athletics mascot. Cosmo made his first appearance in front of BYU fans on October 15, 1953 when BYU President Dwayne Stevenson purchased the costume for $73 and persuaded his roommate to wear it. In 1924, a sportswriter used the description of the wildcats for a performance by the Northwestern University football team. That description became relatable with the team. Willie the Wildcat’s first mascot came to life in 1947 in a costume designed by Alpha Delta Phi fraternity for his homecoming float. Mascots are a symbol of school spirit to bounce back from defeats and victories. Some students find it difficult to identify with or join a mascot attached to teams that do not inspire school pride with winning performances. However, as the Northwestern University football team has revealed, luck can change for the better. From the lean period to the current period of enhanced performance, Willie the Wildcat has been there for students to identify with while supporting his team.
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