There are many sports mascots out there in the world. Some are cute, some are funny, some should probably be in jail. Not all of them are good, however. In fact, very few of them are any good at all.
You may say that I am not qualified to pronounce mascots good or bad. Not only am I too short to play a mascot, but I only really understand how to play approximately four or five sports. Besides, aren’t I likely to be unfairly biased towards the sports mascots of my city, Chicago? The answer to that question is a resounding no. In fact, I dislike many Chicago mascots. The mascot of my favorite sports team, the Chicago Cubs, is a bear named Clark who can best be described as having serial killer eyes. I do not trust him at all. I won’t even get started on Swiper, the mascot of our professional softball team, the Chicago Bandits. Southpaw I dislike on principle. I think the Bears mascot (I could not tell you his name if you paid me) is cool-looking, but he is not good. This is because, as stated above, very few mascots are good.
How many good mascots are there? Three. There are only three good mascots in the world. You may feel yourself compelled to leave a comment arguing that the Philly Phanatic or the Pirates’ parrot who gyrates behind home plate are good mascots, and that’s fine, but I can confidently inform you that you are wrong. There are only three good mascots. There can only be three, because three is a holy number or something. The Holy Trinity, the Three Musketeers, the three little pigs, etc. These three mascots are up there with all of those great trios, and no other sports mascot can ever hope to compare.
Gritty, Philadelphia Flyers
When Gritty was introduced to the world on September 24, 2018, I was horrified. For one, I am always horrified when hockey appears in my Twitter timeline. For another, Gritty’s appearance was shocking, to say the least. Big, orange, googly-eyed, and prone to making innuendos, I found myself more than a little concerned about Philadelphia’s well-being. What was going on over there?
However, it did not take me long to learn the error of my ways. Gritty is a god amongst mere mortals. He can do no wrong. What other mascot can you find who beats up little kids on the ice and spends his quarantine days having slightly satanic meditation rituals? None (I assume), and that is why we can only hope that Gritty takes mercy on our souls and continues to be the most benevolent of gods.
Benny the Bull, Chicago Bulls
As a child growing up in the suburbs of Chicago during the 1990s, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls consumed my life. Benny, who at that time was fat and jolly, was a huge part of that. Did I have a Benny the Bull plushie that others coveted? Yes. Did my parents have Benny the Bull slippers? Yes. I would not be the person I am today without Benny the Bull, and there is a whole generation of Chicagoland Millennials who feel exactly the same way.
In recent years, Benny has had quite the glow up (he’s hot now) and, like Gritty, has become quite Internet savvy to continue to appeal to his devoted Millennial admirers. As a Millennial, I can confirm that it has worked. Nothing brings me joy like watching Benny dress in the hottest fashions and dump huge bags of popcorn all over his house during quarantine. Benny may be hot and have the legacy of the greatest basketball team of all time on his shoulders, but his eyes tell you that none of that has gone to his head. You feel like you could tell Benny all of your darkest secrets, and he would keep them for you. Living in this world, it always helps to have a lifelong touchstone and friend like Benny the Bull.
Herky the Hawk, University of Iowa Hawkeyes
Herky, like Benny, has also recently had a glow up (he’s also hot now). Unlike Benny and Gritty, Herky does not rely on slapstick humor to impress his worshippers. Much like the “too cool but still generally polite because it’s Iowa” frat boys he’s meant to represent, Herky gets by on good looks, charm, and a well-curated social media presence alone. If you happen to see him around campus (this happens way more often than you would think), he is always happy to stop and take a picture. The devoted swoonings of his followers do not phase him — he’ll give you a high five, but he has places to be and plenty of more people he knows are dying to see him. Every time I go back to visit Iowa City and happen to see him around campus (again, this happens relatively frequently, and I am not including the random Herky statues that are everywhere), I am always excited to the point of tears, and Herky could not care less. He appreciates my devotion in a distant sort of way, but he simply has too many admirers to focus on just one. He, much like his namesake Hercules, is accessible yet unreachable. Part human, he walks amongst the Iowa students; but part god, he also floats above them. They can speak to him, but they will never be like him. That kind of aloofness is always attractive, and always leaves Herky’s devoted fanbase wanting more.
There you have it. The only three good mascots in the world. Do you think you know of a fourth good mascot? Well, you don’t. Did you even read this piece? There are only three good mascots in the world. Sheesh.