Saturday, June 02, 2007

The Resurrection of a Mascot.

I’ve had a horror film idea for quite some time now. Now, work with me here… the plot of the film would feature a male and female couple that decide to take a vacation up to a rustic ski resort-like cabin somewhere high in the mountains. In the middle of the night, the male and female characters decide to take a dip in an old, wooden hot tub that sits adjacent to the cabin. After some time, both characters begin to get, shall we say… intimate. After things start getting hot n’ heavy, POW! The woman gets an old, rusty axe driven through her neck. The male character, horrified, sits in a tub filled with his ladyfriend’s blood and her disconnected head partially submerged in the pool of crimson.

The male main character looks up from the carnage, and is further horrified at what he sees staring at him.

It was a zombified, mildewed, Expos-era Youppi!, in dirty old baseball regalia, holding the axe covered in the woman’s blood.

Naturally, this film would be called “Attack of the Zombie Sports Mascots.”

The duration of the film would feature the male character trying to avert the likes of, among other defunct mascots, a brain-hungry Mr. Red, a bloodthirsty San Francisco Giants’ Crazy Crab, and a chainsaw-wielding Ole Miss’ Colonel Reb.

But somewhere in that un-dead and unruly mob of oversized animal/non-animal creatures with comedicly large stomachs and multicolored fur would be the old Denver University standby, the perpetually-smiling, seemingly jovial Boone (pictured above).

Granted, perhaps that imagery above was a tiny-bit on the gory side, but why am I bringing this up now? It looks as though we are very close to seeing Boone resurrected from the dead in some capacity. Now, I doubt Boone will return as a zombie (except for, perhaps, Halloween time), but the Boone movement at the Denver University camp looks to be in full swing and hard-charging.

The Walt Disney-designed, coon-skinned-cap-adorned Boone, introduced in 1968, was a popular fixture at DU, but was eliminated in 1999 for somewhat mysterious reasons. According to this DU Clarion article (subscription possibly required), potential theories ranged from his “obvious lack of sophistication to his portrayal of the Western stereotype of a guy.”

Boone was replaced by a “gender-neutral” hawk-like creature named Ruckus, and was met with immediate opposition by the Denver University community.

“… you can't spell Ruckus without “u suck.”’, notes “Let’s Go DU” blog.

“Ruckus: Razor-sharp beak. Boone: Never-say-die spirit to fulfill Manifest Destiny; funny hat. Advantage – Boone. I like the hat.”

Assuming for a second that the Pioneers, Cowboys, Mavericks, Sooners, the US Government, or whomever else contributed to the decline of the Native American population, one thing everyone can agree on; Walt Disney’s caricature did nothing to harm anyone...”, notes This whole mess was created by a past administration, near as I can tell, most of whom never attended the University of Denver. The fact that Boone was eradicated and none of our Alumni protested at the time is an embarrassment and the blame lies solely on our alumni, myself included. We didn't fight to protect our mascot.”

Outside of the college hockey blogosphere, it looks as though the fight for the return of Boone has a significant amount of student-generated momentum behind it.

A group of students have created a Facebook page promoting the mascot (who has over 400 friends as of June 1), and a general campus fervor has been generated by students to get Boone back.

And perhaps the Boone-zeal will trickle upward.

As noted here in the May 31st blog round-up, Denver University’s Office of Institutional Research and Assessment has very recently released a poll regarding which of the two mascots their undergraduate students prefer. After the polls close today, June 1st, the poll results will be presented to administrative officials.

“We need everyone to realize that this is their athletic program. This program belongs to the students – not to me, not to the coaches, not the TV stations. Without the students we are not here,” notes Denver’s athletic director Peg Bradley-Doppes in a DU Clarion article.

Judging from the number of people that are “pro-Boone,” if Bradley-Doppes sticks to her guns, I would think that the students are going to get their wish. It is, after all, their athletic program.”

Maybe, just maybe, some sports mascots, at least the good ones, never actually die. Or become the un-dead.

(Photo courtesy of: du.edu)

1 comment:

Donald said...

There's little doubt that DU fans find cartoon-Boone a good alternative to the disfigured Jelly-Donut but aren't we really talking about the better of two rather bad choices?

I'm surprised there is such an interest at "Red State" DU in a mascot that is a probably a favorite of the LSD influenced Haight-Ashbury crowd.

If faced with only two choices I've got to say I'd rather have the incongrously designed artsy-fartsy interpretive bird than the potentially anti-semitic Boone any day!

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