Over the weekend, we at PantherU reveled in the glory of laughing at yet another new and awful mascot into the Horizon League. On Saturday, Valparaiso University introduced it’s mascot, the new Crusader. They used a large build-up process, with a big unveiling at the first football night game in Valpo history.
So, using the PantherU ratings scale to put our new Valpo mascot into the system, we found that the new guy fit in very well: in fact, we didn’t even need to bump anyone, as even the Valpo fans could agree with this rating:
Mascot #10: The new Crusader
Name (0): Reading through Valpo’s press release (which is unintentional comedy in and of itself), the first thing I noticed: this guy doesn’t have a name! How can a mascot not have a name? It’s a very difficult proposition to get people to embrace the guy when they don’t even know his name. My worry, of course, is the real reason for this is to not assign the crusader to any one ethnic group. It’s the same PC garbage that brought Dean Pelton of Greendale CC to this idea, the Human Being. Of course, the Greendale Human Being is an excellent sitcom’s punch line for America’s joke of an attempt to be politically correct. I just with the Crusader was an excellent university’s attempt at pulling an April Fool’s joke in September. No such luck.
In a fight (5): Here is one of the Crusader’s redeeming qualities. He’s got brown leather armor, which will either scare away enemies because it’s smeared in shit or cause them to go into convulsions of laughter, disarming them. However, he doesn’t carry a sword (I believe a decent amount of real-life crusaders did), a problem that also plagues Magnus the Viking at CSU. His armor allows for a good amount of movement, which lets him stay more nimble than other mascots. He does, however, have the overlarge-head-syndrome that is a hindrance in a fight; he’s gonna need to take that helmet off if he plans to evade any blows or stay balanced. Of course, doing so would open himself up to some shots to the head. Maybe that’s not a bad idea; they could use the opportunity to go back to the drawing board. Have at you!
Relevance (6): If you heard Crusaders, and you saw this guy, you’d make the connection. If you saw this guy, you m’ight guess Knights or something else. This is a Lutheran university: for crying out loud, it’s OK to put a cross on the guy somewhere to signify who he’s fighting for (of course, that’s been bastardized too). I hear that Valpo is thinking of distancing itself from its Christian image, like Butler (now non-sectarian). That may be good in the long run, but this is still a Christian university as far as I know. Take it from Shakespeare: “To thine own self be true.”
Love-ability (0): Because you don’t see his face, you don’t see his personality. I mean for the love of god, slap on some eyes so he has a Marvin the Martian vibe going on. Will kids ever, ever look at this guy as approachable? Doubtful. He’s just got too much mystery to him.
Style (2): Due more to his home’s awful colors than his own getup, the Crusader has some difficulty pulling off the threads. Personally, I was hoping for straight-up chain mail or at least metal armor. Oh well. Lucius Fox would say something like “this sucka won’t stop a knife.” Of course, I was really hoping that Valpo would hire Patrick Stewart to reprise his role as the greatest crusader of all, King Richard the Lionheart:
But no such luck.
Total: 13 (10th in Horizon League)
Some highlights from the press release:
– These values include the freedom to inquire, purpose-driven, service-minded, truth seeking, and being humble and compassionate. Oh no, the crusader has the freedom to inquire? Oh my! He can ask questions!
– “The most exciting thing about our new Crusader is the elements of character that underlie its personality,” said Scott Ochander, Valparaiso University’s vice president for integrated marketing and communications. I like that he talks about the elements of character, and I laughed hard when he didn’t enumerate them. What is it about this thing that shows his character?
– And while the old mascot was clearly male, the new Crusader’s gender is hidden beneath a mask so that anyone can identify with the mascot, regardless of background. Aha! I knew it! This PC bullshit is infuriating for Valpo fans, but it’s gotta be awesome for everyone else to laugh at. I look forward to making fun of this disaster in person.
– “I think the new Crusader does a really good balancing of our tradition with what we aspire to be,” Director of Athletics Mark LaBarbera said. The thing that worries me here is that LaBarbera was being serious; that the future of the Crusaders (what they aspire to be) is generic, sterile, unoffensive – in other words, completely lacking in spirit.