Catholic Mascotology: Day 4 – The Final 4 (Figures)

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Down to the big round and no one could have seen these last two match-ups coming. When we started, we figured by this point in the contest it’d be between a drunk leprechaun, a bird, and a couple of dogs; but here we have a motley crue of a final four: a lean, mean, green greyhound; a pillaging crusader; an infinitely reincarnatable ram; and a terrifying, golden-winged, mythological hybrid creature. Oh well, to paraphrase Donnie Rumsfeld, you go to the Final Four with the mascots you have, not the mascots you predicted.

Yesterday, the Loyola Maryland Greyhound continued racing towards the top prize by devouring the Providence Friar (which is too bad, because we were really pulling for a Friar to win a Catholic mascot competition.) With the Friar’s defeat and retreat into what we can only imagine as some kind of lovely mascot solitude, the Holy Cross Crusader is now the only true religious figure remaining amongst the surviving monsters and mongrels. But, is a crusader, one willing to spill blood for religion, really what we want as the winning face of Catholic Mascotology? That doesn’t seem like Pope Francis‘ vision of the Church — but we’ll see how the people vote.

Meanwhile, the Fordham Ram butted the Gonzaga Bulldog out of the way and goes on to face “Petey,” the half lion, half eagle Griffin from Canisius, who tore through the Iona Gael in yesterday’s contest. The Griffin seems unstoppable, but the Ram is pretty, uh, Fordhamable.

Lastly, Catholic Mascotology lost more than a little part of itself yesterday with the demise of the beloved Blue Blob from Xavier. Goodbye, Blobby, you’ll be missed.

Vote below on the Final Four and share your team on to victory!

The Final Four competitors:

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.

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.

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!

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.