The mascot of death!

It was the summer of 1991.  My tenure at Lake Tapps Elementary School had finally come to an end.  I felt that I was becoming a man.  I mean come on, I was 11 years old!  Heading to middle school, thank you very much.  And why was this so significant you ask?  Because in middle school… you could play SPORTS!!!  That’s right, organized team sports for your school.  I knew that my destiny awaited.  I was going to be the hero of Dieringer Middle School, I just knew it.  I was a solid 4’6" tall weighing in at a massive 71 pounds, without a doubt the smallest kid in school.  But you couldn’t tell me that, I had a heart the size of a lion’s, and was ready to attack the preteen sports scene.
I showed up for sixth-grade orientation at the school, beaming with excitement.  Rounding a corner in a hallway, I found myself face-to-face with a mural of my soon-to-be mascot.  I had expected some sort of menacing warrior, or rabid animal.  Something I could be equal parts proud of, and scared of at the same time.  But there I stood, staring at a ten foot picture of the symbol I would be representing for the next three years.  Arching over the top of the monstrosity, in bright green letters, was its name… "The Fighting Shamrocks."  I was staring at an enormous picture of a four leaf clover.  Needless to say, I was mortified.
Was I seeing things?  Had I eaten too many Cheez-Its that afternoon, and was now hallucinating?  A shamrock, really?  This must be some sort of sick joke.  I was to become a proud piece of foliage?  How exactly does a shamrock fight? And what does it fight for?  Sunlight?  Space on my lawn with the rest of the annoying weeds? My mind frantically searched for an explanation.  This cannot be happening to me!  I’m supposed to be a wildcat, a pirate, anything besides a marshmallow out of Lucky Charms!!!
Suddenly my brain jumped to another appalling realization, the uniforms.  Just how were we supposed to strike fear into the heart of an opponent with a glorified piece of parsley emblazoned on our chests? You might as well put a large scarlet letter "A" on us, for crying out loud.  How in God’s name could we be expected to compete for our school with pride, when our mascot was an inanimate object?  What genius came up with this monumental embarrassment?  And how does one cheer on a shamrock?  Have cheerleaders hold up signs spelling out photosynthesis?  Chlorophyll, maybe?
Little did I know, every team that donned the green and gold of The Fighting Shamrocks dominated their respective sports.  It made sense, really.  The disdain for the school’s moniker incited an intensity in the heart of every athlete that was immeasurable.  Apparently, the leprechaun luck charm brought with it a spark of tenacity that rivaled little man syndrome and ‘roid rage combined.  You going to make fun of our mascot?  Well, now you get to go home and explain to your friends that you got your ass handed to you by the Shamrocks!  I don’t think we lost a single soccer or baseball game that year.
Unfortunately, Dieringer Middle School was condemned after my sixth-grade year, and a new school was built.  I lobbied to keep the same mascot, but the powers that be decided that North Tapps Middle School would be the Bulldogs instead.  How boring.  Granted, the athletic domination continued, but that little chip on the shoulder began to fade.  Lucky for me, it would come right back as we entered high school… Auburn Riverside Ravens?  An oversized crow, that will do just fine…

21 Comments Add yours

  1. Krissy says:

    Hey at least an oversized crow isn\’t as bad as a mascot better known as a condom (former Auburn High Trojan)

  2. ken says:

    ugh. Our teams were named… The Pelicans. The Pelham frikin Pelicans.How sad.

  3. Sarah says:

    My school was the lions but we played against the Robinson Maroons. The MAROONS? REALLY? What exactly is a maroons other than a certain crayon color?

  4. juliee says:

    how about this? the goodrich olympians. yep, our symbol (not mascot) was the 5 olympic rings. supposed to be inspirational i guess, but not when you are competing against cougers and lions and such…

  5. Lena says:

    Our mascot at the local community college was….the ARTICHOKE! It\’s a vegetable, for cryin\’ out loud!!! Not only is it inanimate, but you EAT it! How awful is that???

  6. Lisa says:

    At my high school it was the "War Eagles", except some parents got in an uproar (before I was a student, so of course this is all folklore) and insisted that the "War" part was "too violent", so we became the Eagles. I have to say, much better than the Artichokes (they couldn\’t even pick a vegetable that tastes good?) or the Shamrocks (at least it\’s lucky!)Seriously, though, I found your blog today on a site I read regularly and you write very well. Good luck with everything in your life. I send good thoughts your way.

  7. Unknown says:

    Bless your heart..Your childhood stories remind me of my son.. He was a premie, he is still one of the smallest boys in school, most of the girls have been bigger than him since , well EVER, and now he is in FOOTbal for the first time, at the ripe age of 13, he is again the smallest kid in the league, the wated him in one league down but he did not make the wieght by ONE POUND, mommy is scared her little boy is gonna get slaughtered by these BIG GIANTS, but He says he can do it.. with a heart and determination like his, what mother cant\’ have faith in her child..He gave up Baseball because the Little league MOTHER"SGrrrr.. were literally so cruel they would talk outloud in front of the children about me like I did not exist saying I was Drunk or on drugs, because I am so small, and when I use my Walker, HELLO,, big huge clue People, disabled peole do not use walker for the HECK of it.. and Drunks and druggies do not use them EVER…but their words screamed over the cheers for the boys.. so my son quit to protect his mom from thier hurtful words.. 😦 and chose football this year..He is near 4\’9" now and a whole 105 lbs, but at 13 his age makes him a diff age group regardless of his weight.. You are insipiring.. and I have new faith that My boy will over come everything he sets his mind too..It was bad enough in 4th grade he was the new kid, and the smallest in school, in 5th grade he was the runt with glasses.. three years in a row, he got beat up Daily.. Three years in a row, the teachers and even the prinicple would WATCH up to four kids at a time beat on my childand then after he began to see RED, and fight back to where these children DID NOT GET UP.. everything I do not agree with, fighting..they would pull these kids into the office, they would call me, say he was fighting again.. and make Him pickup trash at recess.. and the other kids would get suspened..Well, to a kid in elementary.. there is NOTHING in the woprld worse than missing recess because he had to miss out on playig with his friend or the noon sports teams…but the principle was a man of short stature himself, so me thinks he was really getting a kick out of watching my son tear up these bullies..Now in Middle school, it started again last year.. so MY SON now has a LABEL, of an ANGRY PROBLEM Child..again, the system is BROKEN… but they just do not want to hear it..Blessings to you..Keep up the Great work.. You are so Inspiring..{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}}}}}}}}Callie

  8. Rachel says:

    I so totally sympathize with the Shamrocks. The high school across the park from my house has a football team called – ready? – the *Bunnies*!! Yep, the Benson Bunnies! Their slogan? Get the Rabbit Habit! Be a Bunny Booster!And they wonder why they have the highest rate of teen pregnancy in town …

  9. Kandyce says:

    Dude, seriously…that was the funniest shit I\’ve ever read online…..I\’m still laughing my ass off.

  10. linda says:

    And here I was thinking I was going to have them all beat by our team in middle school, The Purple Pups, I kid you not. It\’s a good thing I wasn\’t into sports, but I was embarassed anyway. The psychological thing didn\’t work with us, though, I don\’t recall us winning many games.Artichokes and Bunnies? Yeah, I\’m not sure which one is worse.Kandyce was right, though, that was hilarious.Oh, and by the by, I like artichokes. It makes the Macaroni Grill\’s chicken scallopine (did spell that right…?)

  11. Angélica Katherine says:

    purple pups,bunnies,artichokes!!! jajaja…

  12. Rose says:

    I have a friend here at work who was in the submarine service during Vietnam. The name of his mighty sub? The Halibut. Rose

  13. Greg says:


  14. Kathi says:

    I happen to LOVE shamrocks – my daughter was born on St. Patrick\’s Day! Last year, she became a proud Alva (Oklahoma) Goldbug. What is a goldbug, you ask? Nothing…the name came from the Edgar Allen Poe poem, referring to the desire to head west in the Gold Rush! At least we\’re not SOONERS!!

  15. Unknown says:

    I graduated from NYU in 2001. When I was first asked to join the diving team, it came to my attention that NYU\’s teams were The Violets! I had visions of a flower mascot running along the sidelines of games and Barney-purple uniforms! Which ironically seemed fitting considering the location and student body of NYU. I was later relieved to discover that our mascot was a Bobcat. But soon wished that there was a giant violet at the games…Funny how something you dread seems amiss after a while.Erica P.S. I\’m in love with your blog. Just as the sentiments before me, you are a wonderful writer. Keep it up, please!

  16. Unknown says:

    the comment hits on your page are amazing! U R a wonderful person I am caught in your blog web!!!

  17. Unknown says:

    Yeah, my mascot was a man in a skirt. The Highlanders! The gym had a huge mural of a man with his kilt flapping in the breeze with an expression that looked closer to being constipated than having the "fighting spirit". We always debated on whether or not he was wearing plaid "fighting" boxers.Have a good one!

  18. Unknown says:

    Yeah, my mascot was a man in a skirt. The Highlanders! The gym had a huge mural of a man with his kilt flapping in the breeze with an expression that looked closer to being constipated than having the "fighting spirit". We always debated on whether or not he was wearing plaid "fighting" boxers.Have a good one!

  19. viaja says:

    Hope all is good..  I\’m glad I came today to re-read..  Couldn\’t stop smiling this whole blog + all the comments!!  thank you.. from a half bred tenacious shamrock fighting for some space on your lawn 🙂 and for the Sun too~Love it!!

  20. Fucking hilarious. You are good, and this coming from a keyboard addicted, Thesaurus-fondling, English degree. Write a book immediatamente.

    Our high school was the Little Cyclones, the low rent off-shoot of a university town’s lack of imagination. Not only were we the pathetic little brother of the Cyclones–who had their own separate animal mascot, by the way–but we were relegated the most obscene colors to wear for the homecoming game around Halloween: orange and black.

    On the other hand, this could explain why our guys played like a bunch of jack-o-lanterns. (sigh)

  21. Missy N says:

    I remember being a Dieringer shamrock, and turning into a NTMS Bulldog. “Woof woof woof woof! Bulldog Pride!” And you know what? That silly condemned building is still standing, 25 years later.

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