By Patsy Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
Ten months until Christmas, calendar watchers.
Perhaps the holiday came early on the University of Mississippi campus this week when students voted to be part of a process to come up with a new athletics mascot.
As some of you remember, Colonel Reb was fired about seven years ago as an image not befitting a 21st Century public institution.
A great uproar ensued, but the decision stuck. Colonel Reb wannabes showed up for various events, much to the displeasure of officialdom, and the issue became the cause celebre of fans who remember the “national championship” of 1960s. Others, too.
Some also may remember the awful campaign soon after the Colonel’s banishment when the university launched a “contest” to select a new mascot. The finalist designs looked like Hulk Hogan on steroids (is that redundant?) or the Southern Cal Trojan warrior.
It was supposed to be a much-anticipated Internet-voting contest, but when it came down to it, so few people gave a rip for the choices that the push was called off. And the campaign advisers, the P.R. geniuses, were called upon the carpet.
And so, they let the mascot thing drift while competitors laughed about it. How ridiculous, they said, that the Ole Miss folks can’t even find a mascot.
But hey, finding “the right” mascot isn’t easy, under the circumstances. With Tuesday’s vote by some 3,000 on campus, students agree they want to be part of the solution.
Bless their hearts, I hope this turns out better than when a campus organization was given charge of a contest to decide what design would be selected for a civil rights monument. In the end, The Lyceum cast out the winner for what it wanted, and although The Lyceum had good reasons for the move – reasons like engineering problems and safety – the contest participants left feeling like a homecoming date who never gets called again.
So, now the big question becomes: What will the mascot be?
Perhaps it will harken back to the team’s name before it became The Rebels not so many decades ago. Mississippi Flood.
Glad I wouldn’t be called upon to make that costume.
Okra’s out. Big Red Thing is out. James Meredith look-alike is out.
But lots of ideas remain: a kudzu vine could strangle opponents, a mighty oak like in The Grove could look powerful. And there’s Archie Manning, who might be available to stand along the sidelines for a substantial stipend.
Have you got any suggestions? Let me know and I’ll start your campaign for you.
In these times of true crisis, we all need a diversion.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read mascot suggestions, when they come in, on Patsy’s blog, From the Front Row, on NEMS360.com.