Friday, November 18, 2011

Playin’ Favorites

This week we celebrate National Food and Football Overindulgence Day. Oh I know some people, the traditional ones call it Thanksgiving, but we know what it’s really all about, football, football on twenty channels with just a short break, preferably at halftime for dinner!

It’s been that way since shortly after the first guy decided that pig skin was good for something besides gloves and upholstery.

Sure there are ladies who love the game, love the way the uniform stretches across a tight end or wide receiver, which isn’t at all wide. They may claim it isn’t that way but come-on face facts you don’t really watch the Cowboy cheerleaders cause they do great things for charity.

And with all of the traditional games crowding the schedule at Thanksgiving why not, you like the pros? Green Bay and the Lions in the Black and Blue division, or the Cowboys and the Dolphins or maybe even the 49’ers and the Ravens, it’s all good. And what about college, there’s our Ducks taking on Arizona, the Beves at Stanford, USC and Notre Dame and oh yes, there’s that little game down in Texas, the shaggy Aggies against the Horns of the University of Texas.

Most of the year, say from New Year’s day after eleven o’clock till Valentines I can keep a lid on my zeal, but come February the 14th, I start to twitch, I foam at the mouth and I bleed orange, it’s Longhorn football season again.

Now, I can’t help it, I grew up in Dallas. Oh Dallas has a football university of its own, SMU, but it also has the largest Texas Ex assn. in the world, the biggest Texas game in the world, the annual blood-letting on Texas OU weekend and the Cotton Bowl game, a Texas bowl with whatever other team didn’t get to go to the Orange Bowl, (See even the guys in Florida know what a real bowl game has to have) or the Sugar Bowl.

And it happens that Saint Darrell Royal was the head coach and athletic director at UT while I was cutting my gridiron teeth. With Darrell at the helm we could be down forty points in the last minute of the game and there was still hope we could pull it out. Never a chance we could lose.

And then one day, there on the field, the fullback moved up right behind the quarterback and the halfbacks took two steps deeper in the backfield and made the whole formation look like a Y.  They said it was a Wishbone T and with wishbone mechanics like Jim Street and Eddie Phillips it tore up the turf for thirty games.

That folks is Orange Power.

Oh I know you Quacker-backers think anything that doesn’t travel by air is strictly passé, but when a wishbone is clicking it is a thing to behold.

But enough Orangeaphilia, the real reason I brought it up is to ask why you haven’t made the Ducks and the Beves your art project for November?

Why is it that schools always pick the worst images for their mascots? Yes, the regents do put their sticky little fingers in the pie, but they don’t have to shoulder all of the blame. No, school mascots are usually the most ordinary art you can find.

Take a look.

Now I love the Horns with a Sunset passion, but that isn’t an image I can hang my hat on.

Yeah, that one is even worse.

The best of the Horns was done by Bill McClanahan; much lamented former editorial and sports cartoonist of the Dallas Morning News. Bill, you should have lived forever.

Why the University never licensed that image from the McClanahan family is beyond me. But fortunately, being a fan of both The University and Mr. McClanahan I can rectify that error.

So why with artists crawling from every rock and cliff and over-turned tree in Oregon do the Ducks and the Beves languish under mascots that are artistically challenged?

I have only been here six years and haven’t really adjusted to air mail football, but I can see that there needs to be some artfully alterations to the mascots of both institutions.

Take a look at what the Anaheim Mighty Ducks of the National Hockey League have done to their own quackery image. Now there’s a duck to be reckoned with.

And what about their terrifying war cry? That’s right, the furious quack, quack, quack, (I’m pretty sure they stole this one from Burgess Meredith’s Penguin) that echoes round the arena and fills their opponents with blood-curdling panic.

I don’t have a Beaverzilla example to offer; maybe all beavers are just hard-working, blue-collar rodents who want nothing more than to be left alone to carry on their eco-friendly construction projects without naturalists or loggers to interfere.

But just because the prototype isn’t a might warrior doesn’t mean you can't come up with a bellicose Mars-worthy, Ajax and Achilles image. My Junior High mascot was the Golden Bears and my high School mascot was the Gophers and you try to get a fighting gopher or a chopsocky bear for a  mascot!

So since I have all of you artists lurking there just waiting for the football games to start and the bird to be ready, why not start sketching some new ideas for our schools. Come-on guys, you can’t do any worse and you can do better and with our Ducks on their way to the title don’t you think they deserve better?

And before I go, I just have one more thing to say "Hook'em Ducks!" 

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