If you’re a responsible student and you checked your email this week, you probably saw that the Goshen College athletics department is on the hunt for a mascot.Apparently, the humble Maple Leaf isn’t actually our mascot. This was news to me.
They were giving us a survey asking for ideas, but I had questions of my own. What role would this mascot play? Why create one now, of all times?
The email claimed that our sports teams are lacking the “regular benefit of an embodied mascot.”
As an athlete myself, I had to take a moment to reflect. Has my athletics experience been suffering without a quirky character hanging out at our competitions? Would seeing our mascot at cross country meets make me run faster? Maybe, if it was chasing me.
To be honest, the main benefit I can think of is an extra job position for a student-worker who, after being rejected for a job at the library, found themselves with no other options. At least a mascot costume could serve as a nice, warm coat during those last few soccer games of the season where it starts to get chilly out!
Apparently, GC’s past mascot-like figures included “Jake the Rake” and “Captain Maple Leaf.” I’d never heard of either of those before, but I love the idea of having a rake as a mascot. It’s like a team called “The Raptors” having a mascot called “Paige the Birdcage,” and that’s the kind of self-deprecating team spirit I can get behind.
It is very easy to go wrong with mascots, though. Most sports team mascots are nightmarish and go from a fun and charismatic figure to a horrific monstrosity of a costume very quickly. (Bear in mind that I had the misfortune of sharing an apartment with a seven-foot inflatable Gritty — Philadelphia’s chaotic hockey mascot — all of last year, so forgive me if I’m a little wary.)
Surely we can find a representative that overcomes any weird, uncanny feelings that may arise. There are plenty of iconic GC things that could fit this category, or we could go down the Leaf-adjacent mascot train (hear me out: Chloro-Phil, whose school spirit brings energy to the Maple Leafs??).
At any rate, now that you’re thinking about it, be sure to fill out that survey and help the athletics department in their quest. The fate of school spirit lies in your hands.