Tag Archives: ncaa

The Furry, Fluffy and Sort of French World of College Mascots (via NCAA Champion)

(NCAA Champion Magazine)

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NCAA Champion — To explore the history of the college sports mascot, to genuinely investigate how we’ve evolved into a culture that can rally tens of thousands of stadium-goers with live buffaloes, flaming spears and dancing anthropomorphic ducks, we must start at the very beginning and reach back to … uh, early 1880s France, apparently.

That’s when the French debuted an opera named “La Mascotte,” a title that translates loosely into “lucky charm.” Mostly obscure now, “La Mascotte” concerns a poor Italian farmer whose crops refuse to grow until he’s visited by a mysterious and lovely stranger named Bettina. His crops thrive, his luck turns, and his life shines. By the 1900s, the term had jumped the Atlantic and become known as a talisman that brought good fortune; by the 1970s, it had come to mean a grown man in a chicken suit. But the centurylong history of the mascot can be described in one very 2017 term: branding. “A mascot is the personification of a school’s brand,” says Michael Lewis, a marketing professor at Emory. “They work because they give something for the community to rally around, something for everyone to have in common. Everyone at the University of Florida knows about the Gators. Everyone at Texas A&M knows the collie. It’s a social point for the university and the community.”

Here’s what mascots mean in 2017. 

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Fan Friction: The 10 Most Memorable Moments from the IU/Purdue Rivalry (via Indianapolis Monthly)

0217-speedread-banner

Indianapolis Monthly

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Indianapolis Monthly — Indiana basketball’s defining rivalry rekindles twice in February with two new episodes of a series Purdue currently leads by a reasonably commanding 115–89. Aaaand you know where this is going: That’s where IU people say “banners,” and Purdue people say “dusty,” and IU people mention how Purdue’s dominance was mostly before color movies, and Purdue people observe that the schools are dead even with 22 regular-season Big Ten titles each, and IU people bring up Gene Keady’s $600 comb-over, and Purdue people note how none of their coaches have ever been fired for forcefully scolding a 19-year-old. Here’s what got (and kept) the ball rolling.

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Thoughtful NCAA Tournament Commentary From A 9-Year-Old

bob knight digger phelps applebees

The gentlemen on the left once got fired for choking a dude, and now he sells mall food.

GateHouse — As is customary, I’ve been watching a lot of the NCAA tournament with my sons: the 18-month-old, who for the second consecutive year failed to turn in a bracket I could read, and the 9-year-old, who is making observations nearly as astute as those offered by professional sports commentator people. (So, to recap, you need to come back *after* halftime and play another 20 minutes? Will you need to shoot baskets during this time?) Several of them follow:

• I graduated from Indiana, so naturally they’re the house favorite. But the 9-year-old seems to consider a 1 seed as an incontrovertible golden ticket to guaranteed dominance, not only this in tournament but basically those in the next four to 30 years. And no evidence can convince him to the contrary, because 9-year-old minds are not equipped to process logic; happily, they make up for this shortfall by also being 100% unchangeable. I once had an argument with this kid about which pronunciation of the word “tear” I was supposed to be reading. I cannot tell you how right I was in this argument, nor can I convey how badly I lost it. I guarantee you he’s still upstairs shaking his head sadly and calling me a nincompoop.

• “No, see, Indiana is in the East even though they’re in the midwest, and Kansas is in the South even though they’re in the Great Plains, and there’s no North because the north sucks at basketball, and you’re right this doesn’t make any sense. This is why I haven’t explained the BCS to you yet.”

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On your stupid bracket, Flagrant Foul 7s and THE DOMINANT INDIANA HOOSIERS

GateHouse — A few things about the NCAA tournament, which this year is being attended (and handled nicely, thankyouverymuch) by my Indiana Hoosiers, who have finally returned to the dance following a lengthy recruiting scandal in which the school hired a coach who was previously involved in a recruiting scandal and then came to Indiana and engaged in — this was weird — a recruiting scandal, a development which caused everybody in Indiana to gasp.

When this recruiting scandal happened Indiana — which, interesting story, had spent most of the previous few decades being coached by an overweight cartoon character with a spotty history of winning championships and not-choking people — lost everyone who ever played for them and spent many many years losing basketball games to schools that exist only online, such as the University of Phoenix and some people who met on FarmVille . So this is kind of a big deal, and please excuse my singing of the IU fight song, which is actually a new song, as we lost our original one in a recruiting scandal.

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1. Hey, guys! Guys in the office! Listen, I’m gonna be sitting at my desk this morning, just hanging around doing some work and drinkin’ me some coffee, so is there any way you could hit me up with some talk about how your bracket is doing? Really doing? I don’t mean just stats and wins and losses — those are boring and bourgeois NUMBERS, devoid of LIFE and FEELING and FEELINGS OF SELF-ASSIGNED SUPERIORITY. No no, I want to know how you did it, how you picked nearly 2/3 of your games right, what you were *thinking* EACH TIME.

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Uric acid, the mysterious “Larry Bird” and the indescribable sadness of Subway lunch in a cubicle: The NCAA tournament commercials

Bobby Hurley (Duke, 1989-93)

GateHouse — Despite watching, for the 78th consecutive year, my embarrassing “bracket” spot-decompose into a puddle of semi-gelatinous goo by 3:15 p.m. on Thursday afternoon — seriously that was FIVE DOLLARS — I love the tournament. I love learning that there are things like “Long Island University.” I love watching Rick Pitino walk directly from his first-round loss to the television studio. I love the equitability, the idea that any school has a chance, though that chance is a sad exercise in futility and that school will almost certainly lose huge to Ohio State. And I love coming up, every single March, with a new reason to think Duke sucks; this year, I’m going with that 45-minute-long Bobby Hurley commercial for moisturizer or whatever.

But that said, the tournament is lacking something this year: commercials made by trained adult professionals.

This year, unlike, say, the Super Bowl, the NCAA apparently sold a grand total of six commercials and is repeating them across basic cable channels with the irrational, iron determination of a four-year-old who just learned “Toy Story” existed; I’ve been flipping pretty regularly all weekend and have literally not spent 18 minutes without encountering well-lit Caucasians forced to act as though there’s the remotest possibility of connecting the word “Applebee’s” with the phrase “Bourbon Street.” Here are other things you can learn from The Cheap Commercials You’ve Been Watching For Four Days:

  • The phrase “uric acid” gets funnier every single time you hear it. Every. Single. Time. If you are making a commercial that says “uric acid” 14 times, you have to know this. Though I also enjoy how one of the side effects of this gout medicine are gout flares, which is sort of like saying that the side effects of this diet pill include getting fat. Finally, uric acid apparently looks like lime Kool-Aid but I bet it tastes slightly better.

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Everything was better in the past.

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