5 Types of High School Mascots – and What They Say About You

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When I shouted out for a random blog topic last week, I got several responses, but leave it to the ever fantastic Scott Tracey to come up with the fun one.

He’s concerned–and well he should be–about how high school mascots can screw with a teenager’s psyche. So, as someone who is highly qualified*to analyze this problem, I thought I’d help him out.

1. The Super Fierce Cat/Bear/Bulldog.

This mascot type is the most popular. People love it because they get to be all strong and scary. Their mascots function as they should, to intimidate the other team. The problem? Well, people with this sort of mascot tend to be boring, they don’t have much school spirit because–why would they? There are thousands of other “Tigers” out there, and where’s the fun in being just like everyone else?

2. The Inappropriate Stereotype

Allen Central Rebels, Eaton Fightin' Reds, and the Hollywoood Sheiks

At what point was a school board sitting around deciding mascots when the idea of offending an entire race came up, and then was approved? Indians aren’t a mascot, they’re freakin’ PEOPLE–that’s a nationality, not something you dress up in a big giant foam head and pretend to be. And then of course, there’s the other end of that, The Rebels–something that white supremacists have taken to mean down with everyone else. I don’t know about you, but when I’m thinking school spirit, I am not ALSO thinking whites FTW! Sheesh–how do these types of mascots even exist? Aren’t they just perpetuating the prejudices in the students of the school?

3. The Fun, Quirky Mascot

Live Oak Acorns, Poca Dots, and Mitchell Kernels

This is definitely my favorite. Kudos to these schools for going against the grain and trying out something a little different. Hopefully these students will embrace their kooky-self and just roll with it, otherwise, they’re looking at a high school career chock full ‘o embarrassment–and no one wants that.

4. The Creepy Crawly

Satellite Scorpions, Azle Hornets, and Concord Spiders

What is it about bugs and nasty insects that make them a good mascot? Sure cockroaches can probalby survive a nuclear apocalypse, but does that make them worthy of being the face of your school? What? Is your school going to sting the other team? Unless their allergic, and you have big plans to put them into anaphylactic shock–that doesn’t even make sense!

5. The Mythical Creature

Rhinelander Hodags, New Braunfels Unicorns, Southlake Carroll Dragons

Because nothing says Go Team like something that doesn’t actually exist, right? At least these kids are getting an education in the paranormal–as a writer, I think that’s pretty awesome. I sort of want to go back to high school again, just so I can tell everyone I’m a HODAG!

Now, I have to know–what does YOUR high school mascot say about you?

*In that I am not qualified at all.

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  1. ‘Rebels’ … really, this is politically incorrect too? How about Redskins, Reds, Scotsman, Fighting Irish, Occidentals, Orientals, Orphans/Annies, Arabs, Colonels, Maniacs, Midgets, Chinks, Hoboes, Pirates, Squaws, Indians, Coons, Seamen, Blue/Red Devils, Cowboys, Unionmen, Vikings, Cavaliers, Musketeers, Spartans, Trojans, Patriots, Boiler Makers, Sponges, Warriors, Gauchos, Deacons, Aztecs, Mayans, Chiefs, Apaches, Braves, Rangers, Eskimos, All Blacks, Scouts … a slippery slope (and I haven’t even checked the names used in Africa or S America).

  2. Nice post! There are some strange mascots here in Utah. For example, Beetdiggers and Pioneers. (Fortunately, I was not one of those!)

    FYI, when the NCAA was making their big push a few years ago to get college teams named after native americans to change, the leader of the Ute tribe (my alma mater is the University of Utah Utes) said he (and the rest of the tribe) wanted the school to keep the name Utes because they felt it was more a tribute to them than an insult.

  3. I was a Spartan in junior high, a Trojan in high school, and then a Trojan again at USC. It got pretty boring. But on the happier side, my brother to a USC, too. Only he went to the other one, so he got to be a Cock. It’s technically Gamecock, but everybody just says Cocks, and that’s what’s on the shirts/shorts/hats/etc. “Go Cocks!”

  4. I never thought of a high school mascot affecting teenagers but you have a point. Teenagers are like sponges, everything affects them in some way. Interesting post!

  5. Hey, did I see you walking your girl out of the school? Did y’all go ahead and start there after all? If yes, who is her teacher?

    Not stalking you, just happened to have windows down in pickup line yesterday.

  6. @Kayla…I’d rather be a cow puncher than a cow tipper, even though I am sure both are equally as fun. Well, maybe not.

    @Nicole…UNT is technically the Mean Green Eagles. Trust me, my 10 yo has even learned a cheer complete with letters and the eagle claw. I hear it every single night.

  7. My hubster grew up in North Dakota and a school not too far from his hometown had a funny and maybe inappropriate mascot: The Dickinson, ND Midgets. Midgets! Seriously!?

    1. @Mendi, Hah! I read about them when I was researching this blog post… I also read about the Corn Jerkers… two excellent mascot names. 🙂

  8. We were the Pine Tree Pirates. In land-locked East Texas. Very confusing. And of course, UNT has the Mean Green–which is not even a mascot. Double confusing. 😉

    1. @nicole, DUDE!! UNT’s mascot is Scrappy the EAGLE! HAHA!

      That is what I love about UNT– the people who go to school there don’t give a crap about school spirit-type things… so much that we don’t even know what our mascot is!

      Man, I love Denton. 🙂

      1. @Jamie Harrington, Seriously! I went to UNT, and admit: I’ve lived here for an entire decade, and have not once been to a UNT football game. I’ve never even seen Scrappy in person.

        I was actually confused, too, about this Mean Green v. Scrappy the Eagle situation. So, I looked it up on Wikipedia…the entire blurb about it cracked me up. (Especially that “Scrappy” seemed “too war-like,” and that the albino squirrel was nearly crowned as the secondary mascot.)(Nothing says powerful like albino squirrel.)

        Here’s the link. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_North_Texas#Mascot

  9. My high school mascot was a Rustler. That’s right, we were cow thieves. Welcome to Montana. Also, since I am in Montana, a LOT of the schools (mostly in the smaller towns that border the reservations)have mascots like the Braves or whatnot. (I don’t know if we have any that are officially called Indians, but we have a lot that pull from that culture). In the past 5-6 years, there has been a big push for these schools to change their mascots to be more sensitive and politically correct. Except the push is coming almost entirely from white people; the native Americans who live around these schools really couldn’t care less. The mascots were all chosen so very long ago, it is just part of the culture there now.

    1. @Rachel Bateman, I think that’s what’s interesting… when I was researching to write this blog post (seriously, it took on a whole new world… I couldn’t stop reading about mascots) it seemed like the groups pushing to change the names of the mascots weren’t actually the groups the mascots were supposed to offend!

  10. We were the Comets, so I guess that would fit best into the 3rd category. I was still in high school when Halley’s Comet passed by, but unfortunately it didn’t bring us much luck.

  11. We were the Mustangs. I guess that shows that we were ambiguous in most things. We were graceful and beautiful like our arts program. But the mascot was never snarly or mean looking.

  12. Okay, I can’t stop thinking about the Poca dots. I mean, if I were a guy, I’d be so embarrassed to be a poca-dot. Think about it, “Ooh, you’re so scary. What are you going to do put a period at the end of my sentence?”

    1. @Jessie Andersen, hah!I started this blog post a few days ago, and that’s how I’ve been since I wrote it! I can’t get the cutest little mascots that ever were out of my mind!!!

  13. I vote the Poca Dots as the #1 most creative and dorkiest mascot, I’ve ever seen. HA!!! LOL. I am from the home of the bears. Cliche, I know, but think about it; who wants to take on a bear?

  14. Wow, after reading these, I don’t feel so bad about my somewhat strange school mascot. We were the Mason Punchers.


    As in COW-punchers.

  15. I went to a Catholic all-girls school. Our team name was the Dashers (which was a rearrangement of the school name) but the mascot was–inexplicably–a penguin named Penny. WTF?

    – Liz

    1. @Liz Czukas, So far what I’ve learned today is that Catholic schools have the weirdest freakin’ mascots on the planet. 🙂

  16. I was the Blue Kangaroo, a.k.a. the Fighting Roo.

    I seriously almost went to a college that had a kangaroo for their mascot, and come to find out, the history of the mascots of that college and my high school were intertwined.

  17. I was a Saxon, which isn’t particularly exciting.

    My favorite mascot is the one for Evergreen State College in Washington State. They’re the “Geoducks” which you would assume is some sort of waterfowl and that the first part is pronounced “geo,” right?

    Oh, no. It’s actually pronounced “gooey duck” and is a type of large clam. Swear to God. Who picks that as their mascot?


  18. We were the Black Knights. Where exactly does that fall? Am laughing so hard at the Polka Dots!!!

    1. @Rebecca, ohhh it says you’re mysterious–but still totally cool.

      Aside: I used to have a life sized coat of arms in my house, but every time I walked into the living room it scared the CRAP out of me so I had to get rid of it.