Thursday, May 24, 2007

Go Gamecocks!

Why can't sports writers stick with what they know? Glen Dean links to a columnist complaining about the Gamecock mascot of the University of South Carolina:
Which SEC school has the most offensive mascot? Is it Ole Miss, which still embraces its Rebel traditions, or is it Spurrier's own Gamecocks?

A gamecock is, by definition, "a rooster trained for cock fighting."

. . . Cocks possess congenital aggression toward all males of the same species, which is amplified through training and conditioning. Wagers are often made on the outcome of the matches. While not all fights are to the death, they often may result in the death of both birds."
. . .
You don't have to be a radical member of PETA to know this kind of animal cruelty should not be glorified by an athlete, much less an institution of highest learning.
. . .
In other words, USC is endorsing animal cruelty by calling themselves Gamecocks. This is ridiculous. All sorts of sports mascots make allusions to unsavory activities--the Minnesota Vikings for example--without endorsing them.

I was unaware of the Thomas Sumter connection that Dean points out, but I wasn't surprised. The best sports mascots accomplish two things: 1 sound tough 2 have some local or regional significance. In the Southeastern Conference, the Gamecocks, the Tennessee Volunteers and the Florida Gators stand out. Some are not so lucky. The league has two Bulldogs and two Tigers. Dean follows the Alabama Crimson Tide, and I could never figure out what that means.


Brandon said...

Really? Well I'm sure you have probably looked for yourself but for those who don't know the "crimson tide" is a kind of algeal bloom that occurs in the Gulf the Mexico that makes the water red.

Glaivester said...

Insert gay joke here.

Anonymous said...

The "Crimson Tide" name as well as the usage of an elephant as a mascot were derived from sportswriters descriptions of Alabama in the first half of the last century.

Since Alabama has elected to still use the numbers on the helmets instead of creating a formal insignia, the name based on their uniform colors has stuck over the years.

Tulane uses "the Green Wave" as their nickname.

Anonymous said...

The Fightin' Gators of Florida. Yes, a great team name. Thanks for the props!