I hate being tardy for the party, but before publicly voicing my opinions on the mascot search, I really wanted to think things through and give the Mascot Selection Task Force a chance to end what seemed to be a terribly long April Fool’s joke.
I wouldn’t have cared if the mascot suggestions were more reasonable than the goofy flying squirrel, the ridiculous lake beast and the completely unrelated phoenix. But if they don’t scream Bomber, what’s the point of even having a mascot?
While I understand Ithaca College’s attempt at creating more school spirit and unity across the campus, I think they went about it all wrong. No one bothered to formally ask the entire student population if we even want a mascot. That’s mistake No. 1. From what I can tell, there seems to be a large population — if not the majority — that opposes the idea of any mascot other than Bomberman (the unofficial mascot for about 20 years) or some true representation of the Bomber.
The Bomber has become a tradition at the college, and it’s tradition that gives people school spirit. Trying to force keeping the name Bomber by giving it to a Rocky look-alike is even more disheartening. At that point we might as well just be the Flying Squirrels and completely erase our history.
A group of alumni have started a group on Facebook called “Save the Bomber.” There are currently more than 1,800 people in the group, all of whom are passionate about maintaining the integrity of the Bomber name. But the alumni, the ones who started our tradition years ago, are hardly even having their opinions weighed. They’re revolting strongly, but I don’t see anyone petitioning for any of the three choices the Mascot Selection Task Force posed.
The New York Yankees, one of the most historic professional sports teams of all time, share the nickname Bombers with us. And guess what? They don’t have a mascot either. But you know what they do have? Twenty-seven world championships and arguably some of the most devoted fans around.
So maybe we don’t get all 6,000-plus students out to every home football game — but is a mascot really going to help with our fan base?
The fans that do attend sporting events on a regular basis are devoted to the teams they follow, and they’re devoted to the Bombers. It’s “Bomber Nation.” I really hope that upon graduating it’s not “Lake Beast Nation.”