PLAYGROUND NOTES: Can’t a blob get some love around here?

Kyle Tucker

OK, so you don’t show up to voice your disapproval of food services. You won’t rally to cry out against the parking travesty. And some days only 6,000 of you show up to support a nationally ranked football team in a stadium that holds 17,000.


But please, stand up and take notice. You’ve got a chance to do something that will impact the nation. You’ve got a chance to affect real change.

Even if Daddy Dennis and Monster Marcus don’t lead the hoop heads to the Sweet 16 this year, you can come together and make sure little guys are noticed. It’s time the underdog, mid-major, whatever you want to call Western, takes down the big boys.

We’ve got a chance to knock off Miami, Penn State, Florida, Alabama, even Air Force. They’re all lined up like bowling pins, and our rolly polly of a mascot, the wide-bodied blob Big Red, is poised to flatten them all.

But you’ve got to give him a little push.

Our plush, lovable representative is a finalist for the Capital One National Mascot of the Year. He’s one of 12. And he’s holding his own at the moment.

Big Red is tied for fourth in the online voting. He has captured two percent of the total tally, same as Georgia Tech’s Buzz the Yellow Jacket. They trail Penn State’s Nittany Lion, who has 40 percent, and The Bird of Air Force with 38 percent. Miami’s Sebastian the Ibis is in third with 13 percent.

This needs to change. No mascot in history has ever been in more ESPN commercials. No other mascot has ever been so clever in maintaining gender ambiguity. Saturday Night Live’s old Pat character wasn’t this good.

Big Red represents us all, male or female.

I know I say “him” when talking about the big guy/gal, but that’s just a man talking. You women should get out there and scream for all those who think Big Red wears a dress when not running around naked at sporting events. A vote for Big Red is a vote for gender equality.

See, real change.

Go to and make a difference. Voting is open until Dec. 20.

I mean, really. What is a Nittany Lion? Lions I get. Nittany? No. And Miami’s Sebastian the Ibis? Huh? Ibis? If you know what that is and don’t go there, you’re a dork. I assume it’s a bird, but how many times have you remarked at a beautiful ibis soaring overhead? Sorry, they can’t win.

And The Bird? Are you going to let Air Force give Western The Bird? No good.

But you can bet those guys at Air Force got an official order to go vote for their generic mascot. And all the other frontrunners have way more folks walking around their campuses. So it’s going to be tough.

All we have is the coolest mascot ever to be thought up just before closing time at a bar – I don’t care what they say, somebody got drunk, started doodling on a cocktail napkin and said, “Hey, let’s just use a fat, sexless creature with no hint of physical prowess or genealogical connection to any other living thing past or present.”

And aren’t you glad they did? Let’s pay tribute to that genius and stand up to be heard.

Go, vote. Tell your friends. Call your parents. Get the siblings and grandparents involved. Cheat. You can only vote once, as the site sends a cookie to your computer to mark that you’ve participated. But just delete those cookies and click on Big Red again.

This is our chance to shine. Parking will continue to suck. Food prices on the Hill may rise. And the football team may never get the support it deserves.

But sitting in your dorm, waiting for the tow truck company to call you back, munching on a $10 hot dog, across from an empty Smith Stadium, you’ll have a share in a national crown – king of the furry guys, er, things.