Is It Acceptable To Cheat On Your College Mascot?


I set my wallet aside and nervously pulled up the stadium shop web site. I still couldn’t believe after almost 30 years of being loyal, I was about to cheat. The big, beautiful, blocky head on the right side of my shoulder was saying, “No, stay true!” The pointy head with the horns on the left side was saying, “Do it. You know you want to get forked!” Ahhh, there he was. Those arched eyebrows, that pencil thin mustache, that evil grin and that huge pitchfork. Devilicious!? What if someone I know sees me? I feel so dirty. I’m a Purdue University graduate that has an upcoming date with the devil. Sparky, the Sun Devil, that is. To relieve myself of extreme guilt, I am now posing the question, “Is it acceptable to cheat on your College Mascot?”

That is the very issue currently being discussed in our house divided. This fall, the whole fam-damily is headed to an Arizona State football game. I’ve been to a few ASU games in the past but never wore spirit wear. For some reason, I felt like I was cheating on Purdue Pete. My husband is an ASU graduate and exemplifies the definition of a Sun Devil FANatic. Neighbors know him as the guy in the ASU jacket. I’d say about 75% of his casual wardrobe sports some type of ASU symbol. He’s the ultimate fan. He even talks about the football team in the first person. Saturdays are sacred and schedules are made around Sun Devil football. As screams from the “man cave” echo throughout the house during game time, our daughter frequently asks, “Why is daddy yelling at the television?” It’s always the same reply, “Oh, he’s just out on the field with the Sun Devils.”

Similar to the Sun Devil’s lineage as an “imp”, Sparky is somewhat of a God around our house. While the image of an oversized animated Sparky stepping into Sun Devil stadium is one of the best college football openers of all time, it can be somewhat tricky explaining the penchant for devil worshipping in our house to outsiders. Once my daughter was dressed in her Sparky mascot Halloween costume in the supermarket. As we strolled our grocery cart past a clergyman, she screamed, “Mom, will you buy me another trident?” I didn’t hear any “Hail Marys” so maybe he was a college football fan as well. We also have a little “splaining” to do when she makes the famous “fork” hand gesture using the wrong fingers and accidentally lets the “bullshit” symbol fly. Recently, friends nervously asked why she was chasing their children around the house with a devil. Don’t call Evangelist Ernest Angley just yet, it’s only Sparky the Sun Devil.

So the big question, “Is it acceptable to show support for my husband and daughter’s passion without feeling like I’m cheating on my alma mater?” Perhaps my daughter had the best idea. She said to wear Sparky gear to the game and carry Purdue Pete in my purse. As I told my husband after Brett Favre became quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings, “Put on your beer goggles and pretend he’s Fran Tarkington.” I think I may be putting on my beer goggles and pretending like Sparky is Purdue Pete. So “Boiler Up” and “Fork ‘Em.” College football season…here we come.

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3 thoughts on “Is It Acceptable To Cheat On Your College Mascot?

  1. Terri – great story, but I had to vote No I wouldn’t wear another schools colors or mascot because I did not know there were any other schools.

  2. This totally hit home. I work at my alma mater, so feel doubly loyal. We’re a Mid-American Conference school who recently played a Big Ten school. We actually had alumni sign up on our bus to the game wearing THE OTHER TEAM’S JERSEYS AND COLORS! Hello? These were people with no other affiliation to that school other than the state in which they live. And their own alma mater was way the underdog. Talk about traitors.

    Good news is, we played fabulously and scared the crap out of that team and all their traitorous fans.

    I’m totally fine with rooting for another team–as long as they’re not playing your own.

    Will that help you sleep better tonight?

    • Good for your team! How fun to work at your alma mater. True story…I actually ended up on the Arizona State athletics department web site doing the fork sign! I was caught in the act. Kind of like being outed by The Enqirer.

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