Friday, April 20, 2012

Hot Topics: Should Michigan Get A Mascot?

Each week, our writers break down a "Hot Topic" among the Michigan fans and allow them to express their opinions. Topics cover everything from rivalry games to team and fan apparel. Writers have their own opinion and readers are welcome to comment or contact them via Twitter with their thoughts.

Kyle Curtiss - Representing Those That Believe Michigan Should Get A Mascot

1)  Should Michigan try to develop a mascot? The way I figure it is, why not? Sparty has their iconic figure, as well as Notre Dame. Georgia has their bulldog, Uga the IV (I believe it's the fourth but don't hold me to it). Now, I don't think it's feasible to have a live wolverine. Not only are they rare to find in the wild and once a while in a zoo, but when was the last time someone saw a live wolverine other than the zoo? Doesn't mean someone out there with a much more creative mind than mine couldn't come up with some sort of costume or outfit to wear that isn't so...obnoxious to the eyes. One thought is since we give homage to the wings on our helmets, why not develop something from that?

2)  Yes, the tradition of Michigan is a non-mascot way. We will have gone 133 seasons worth without a mascot, and it probably won't change anytime soon. Michigan is one of few college teams out there steeped in tradition. Traditions shouldn't be broken but they can be created. Truth of the matter is, other schools have it easier. Whether you're a Bronco, Buckeye, Spartan, Yellow Jacket, Blue Devil, Trojan, or Duck...those are things that fans identify mascots to! Let's get a Wolverine mascot on the field!

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Thomas Beindit - Representing Those That Believe Michigan Should Not Get A Mascot

1)  Michigan is one of the few schools, and sports team for that matter, that do not have a team mascot.  Adding a team mascot would remove one of the last pieces of uniqueness Wolverine fans can claim.  To me, I like holding this unique role, even if it's something that society generally supports.  To me, not having a mascot is as important to the Wolverine image as the winged helmets.  If we had somebody walking up and down the sidelines in some stupid costume it would remove all the focus on the team and accomplishments and just turn it into a giant gimmick.  Isn't it nice to have real people as the fan favorites?  Take a look at a place like Ohio State.  The hero is always going to be that obnoxious guy in the nut costume.  I don't want everyone's hero to be a guy in a wolverine costume, I would rather have it be people like Brady Hoke, Desmond Howard, and Denard Robinson.

2) When you hear the name wolverine, what do you imagine?  I bet it's not a guy in a fluffy costume.  The only way to effectively make a mascot for Michigan is to have a live wolverine at the games.  However, this has already been attempted by the university.  It was a massive failure and they opted not to try it again.  To me, the only mascots that are cool are the live animals or the real people (Notre Dame Leprachaun, USC Trojan, Florida St Seminole).  These types of mascots add an extra element to the games.  However, having a guy in a costume, which is the only legitimate option (unless we somehow get Hugh Jackman to be the Wolverine from X-Men on the side?) would just remove all the intensity from the games and Big House.  It's literally like having a clown run up and down the sidelines, it will never be cool.

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Final Points

Kyle - As a society, we cheer our favorite teams. We cheer for the hometown team and the one we grew up on. We loathe the common enemies and cheer them when they fail. From pros to the amateurs--most have a mascot. Even the morobound Lions have one. Granted, their team is on the upswing so I can't knock that, but they do have Roary. Cool nickname? Not really. Yet it seems to work for them. How is that so different from a wolverine (besides opposite species I know)? We know the football department makes gobs of money off of merchandise, so they could and would and should make money off of having a mascot. I love Michigan tradition. I do. I identify with it, and I agree with all of it. I honestly don't think a mascot will happen as Dave Brandon has suggested, but it's worth giving more effort into.

Thomas - I agree that a ton of other teams and schools have built some rich traditions from mascots.  However, a lot of other stadiums have advertisements in their stadium as well, and that is not something I want in the Big House.  To me, it turns what is a classic game into one big gimmick.  Having some guy in a costume replicating a clown is not something that I think is going to add anymore tradition or experience to the game.  In fact, if anything I think it takes away from the actual game and will put much of the focus on side characters.  Would I sing The Victors louder with a guy in a costume?  No.  Would it be nice for kids?  Probably, but I think it would be a lot cooler to have them look up to real heroes like Bo Schembechler, Brady Hoke, and Denard Robinson before a made up guy in a costume.

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All writers are entitled to their own opinion and those may or may not represent the held beliefs of Hoke's Mad Magicians as an entity.  Readers are welcome to comment below or contact the writers via Twitter with their thoughts


Photo Credit: A2Journal

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