Catholic Mascotology: Day 3 – The Emblematic 8

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Major upset in yesterday’s Day Two of Catholic Mascotology as No. 1 seed, The Notre Dame Fighting Irish Leprechaun, went down under the paws and snarls of the Loyola Maryland Greyhound. Ouch! This could have something to do with the speed and prowess of the Greyhound, but the more likely scenario has Loyola’s win linked to friend of Busted Halo® and former blogger (and Loyola MD alum), Fr. Tom Gibbons, CSP, who has launched his own social media firestorm to bring in votes for the Greyhound. Either way, well done, Greyhound, for bringing down the most famous and recognized Catholic school mascot of the competition. Now, the Greyhound, (and Tom and friends) must face the formidable Providence Friar, whose profile image makes him look more like a dark lord of the Sith, rather than the friendly, Dominican friar he surely must be.

It was a back and forth all day long between the Fordham Ram and the energetic St. Joseph’s Hawk, trading leading position as the day progressed. In the end, the Hawk’s incessant flapping of its wings was no match for the Ram’s brute strength, and the Hawk finally stopped flapping. Now the Ram faces off against Gonzaga’s Bulldog — which of these two icons of Catholic universities will prevail?

And scraping through to Round 3 by the skin of it’s teeth (if it has teeth, that is,) the Xavier Blue Blob barely came out on top over the DePaul Blue Demon, winning by only 4 votes! Wow! What an exciting match, and what an opportunity for the Blob to finally gain some legitimacy over the official Xavier mascot, D’Artagnan the Musketeer, if the Blob should prevail against the Holy Cross Crusader today. Watch out, Blob! That Crusader is armored and armed with sharp sword, heavy shield, and a mandate from God.

Sadly, one of our very favorite mascots (and most creative, in our opinions) was eliminated yesterday. Everyone, please take a short moment of silence wherever you are right now in honor of the St. Louis Billiken. Oh, we hardly knew ye, Billiken.

Finally, where once was two and a half eagles, there is now only half, as another friend of Busted Halo®, Mike Hayes, has rallied his fellow Griffins to bring “Petey,” the Canisius Golden Griffin, through two victories and now into Day Three. Today’s round sees the Griffin up against the last Irish man standing in the contest, the Iona Gael.

Lots of excitement today and a lot of wondering who will come out on top. Go vote, go share, go rally your friends and alumni, as Catholic Mascotology is anyone’s game right now…

The competitors:

g03-PFriarThe Providence Friar: Originally the Friars’ mascot wasn’t even a friar — he was a Dalmatian by the name of “Friar of What-Ho” purchased by the Friars Club and brought to games beginning in 1935. This was in keeping with the Dominicans’ nickname as “watchdogs of the Lord” as Providence is the only college in North America run by the Dominican order. After the 1963 death of the fourth Dalmatian Friar, Providence decided on a more human representation. Since then, they’ve had an actual Friar mascot, with a brief retreat between 1993-2001 when a Dalmatian once again served in honor of the school’s 75th anniversary.

g05-LMDGreyhoundThe Loyola Maryland Greyhound: The Greyhound, known to be a fierce and fast dog, is the mascot of Loyola University Maryland. The mascot has been portrayed throughout the years by both live greyhounds (the last one, Nicholas III, retired in 2011) and a costumed-mascot, Iggy. The Greyhounds are best known for their men and women’s winning lacrosse teams, honoring their mascot by being both fierce and fast.

r01-GonzoBulldogThe Gonzaga Bulldog: In the 1910s, Gonzaga was known as “The Fighting Irish” (watch out, Notre Dame)! It wasn’t until 1921 when a reporter compared them to tenacious bulldogs that the canine foundation was laid. For roughly 60 years, numerous live bulldogs were used to scare away the competition until in 1980 a student donning a cape and calling himself “Captain Zag” took over the reigns. In 1985, the Bulldog was reintroduced as a costumed mascot who, better known as “Spike,” constantly competes for fame with the unofficial other name for Gonzaga’s students, teams, and fans who are frequently referred to as “Zags.”

r02-FRamThe Fordham Ram: Born out of a vulgar 1893 cheer (“One-damn, two-damn, three-damn, Fordham!”), “Ramses the Ram” has a history that is dramatic, sordid, and at times, quite disturbing. The Jesuit establishment soon changed the utterance to the more tolerable “ram,” which became the official mascot in 1905. Even though the Ram appeared in an illustrated format in 1918, its true heyday began in 1925 when the first living ram, Ramses I, was “borrowed” from a nearby farm by a group of Fordham students. For 44 years, 21 living rams took the name Ramses, but not without some unexpected occurrences along the way. In 1934, one of the Ramses was brutally murdered by SMU’s mascot, Peruna I, a black Shetland pony, who killed poor Ramses instantly with a swift kick to the head. Costumed mascots began portraying the Ram as early as 1963, and in 2009 one of them was punched in the face in the school cafeteria by a fellow student who then cowardly ran away. The Ram proceeded to chase down the student, bringing justice to the student’s face via a knuckle sandwich. Most recently, a Ram named “Buster” returned as the 22nd living incarnation of the mascot, if only for a day, to don Ramses attire and lift school spirits once again.

b03-XBlueblobThe Xavier Blue Blob: Despite sharing official mascot status for Ohio’s Xavier University with D’Artagnan the Musketeer, the Blue Blob stands alone as the third seed in his region. Though a seemingly innocent, well, blob, Xavier’s mascot has some edge — he was accidentally tackled by Xavier basketball fan Theo Nelson in 2002, which skyrocketed the Blob to fame, landing him appearances in commercials for ESPN and Skyline Chili and even a featured interview in Playboy. (Don’t ask.)

b05-HCCrusaderThe Holy Cross Crusader: A founding member of New England’s Patriot League, Holy Cross holds an important place in college athletics, and its Crusaders form the proud face of that position. The name came about officially in 1925 when, following an article that referred to the Holy Cross baseball team as “crusaders,” the school paper took a vote between “Crusaders” and the two other mascot names in use, “Chiefs” and “Sagamores.” “Crusaders” won by a landslide, toppling the other two names by more than 100 votes. Thank goodness for that!

y03-IGaelThe Iona Gael: The Iona Gael makes a great would-be contender for a possible face-off with the Notre Dame Irish Man, as the Iona sports website defines a Gael as “anyone of Irish-Gaelic ancestry.” They go on to say that their Gael is a spunky character who is consistent with the school’s motto of “fight the good fight.” He certainly is, what with that disconcerting smile and awfully big wooden club he carries around. Don’t forget to show your support of the Iona Gael’s chances in Catholic Mascotology by purchasing this giant inflatable Gael (sans wooden club).

y04-CGriffinThe Canisius Golden Griffin: Half lion, half eagle, the mighty Griffin allows Canisius College two mascots in one. Though, one has to wonder about the theological implications of a Catholic school using an ancient Greek mythological figure as its mascot? However, further research actually proves it’s quite logical: in medieval times the Griffin was an emblem of the Church’s view of marriage since the animals were said to mate for life and stay faithful to their beloved even after the other had died. Furthermore, being a beast of both the land and the air, it was seen in Christendom as a symbol of Jesus — both human and divine.