As a former high school and G League “athlete,” I still have moments while watching sports in person or on television where I look at the competition and say to myself, “I can take them.”
While other former athletes who are in my position also have this feeling, I differ in one way. They think about the players on the field or court, but I am thinking about those annoying, over-the-top, fan-crazed creatures, known as mascots, specifically Iowa ones.
My thoughts are about whether I can take these maniacs down in an unsanctioned, “Fast & Furious-like” street fight. Here are my competitors:
Herky the Hawkeye
Herky is one of the most intimidating mascots on the college sports landscape, and he is a tough matchup. Like the football team, he will make me earn it throughout the fight. Herky will have a tough defense but with his chicken wing arms, his offense will be limited. Herky can make up for this lack of offensive firepower with his athleticism.
Street fight: Despite using my youthful fandom of Iowa State University as motivation, I would lose this slow and excruciating fight. It is one of those times I enter the fight thinking I have a chance, but by stepping into it, I already had zero chance. The main reason for losing is Herky’s crazed look. The worst part about it is the look never changes! No one can beat a mascot with the look Herky has on his face.
Cy the Cardinal
Thankfully, this is an unsanctioned street fight. Otherwise, the Iowa State fans would complain after the fight about how the “Big 12 refs” were out to get them. Fortunately, Cy has a beautiful smile that gives me zero fear. The bad part is Cy has more muscle in his upper body, normal arms, and a secret weapon which is his tail.
Street fight: If I was fighting old-school Cy, I would have no chance. That Cy might show up with a taser to the street fight. New Cy is a different story. Despite his muscular physique, he is going down. I would use my frustration of not understanding why a cardinal represents a team known as Cyclones as motivation. Cy’s happy look also gives him a disadvantage; I would give him a quick hook to wipe that smirk off his face. I would easily win this fight.
TC the Cat
I scouted TC at football games, basketball games, and campus activities, during my time as a student at the University of Northern Iowa. While he is the most “fur-ocious” mascot of the three public state universities, I know his weak spots. Unlike the two scrawny birds at Hawkeye or Cyclone events, TC is pure muscle. This unsanctioned street fight better take place in the light because if it is dark, I will be at a major disadvantage.
Street fight: It will be tough to fight the mascot of Iowa’s greatest university. At the end of the day, however, it does not matter because I will dominate TC.
Spike the Bulldog
This is where my love of dogs comes haunt me. It will be tough to fight a dog. While bulldogs sound like they never can get a full gasp of air, they, including Spike, pack the muscle. This Drake University mascot has those wild eyes like Herky. Bulldogs are typically short and slow, but Spike is a different breed. Since Spike is from a highly regarded law school, he knows how to skirt the laws to give him advantages in the fight.
Street fight: If it is Griff II, I will lay down my arms and let Giff II reign supreme. He is the cutest. Unfortunately, the fight with Spike would be no different. His vastly bigger size would dominate me in the fight. In addition to his pointy teeth, I must watch out for his 50-pound noggin. He delivers one headbutt, and I will be seeing stars.
While I could end with the four biggest university mascots in Iowa, a true fighter never quits. Here are a couple of Division III mascots I will take on in a street fight:
Buford T. Beaver
This Buena Vista University mascot is the best-named mascot in Iowa. My biggest fear is avoiding his one large tooth which he could use to gnaw on me during the fight. The rest of his body looks scrawny. However, with this unsanctioned street fight taking place on a street, it will provide a significant advantage for me as Buford will be out of his element.
Street fight: Buford does not need to show up. Once he steps foot in the street fight, he will have already lost. This silly, happy-go-lucky beaver stands zero chance in a fight with me. This fight will be a rout.
Thunder the Elephant
Worse than Iowa State University’s transgression of using a Cardinal as a Cyclone mascot, the Simpson College Storm have an elephant as their mascot. Athletic Director Marty Bell tried to explain this preposterous mascot sin to KNIA News by noting elephants are intelligent and have wisdom like their student-athletes. Besides the absurd assertion and elephants’ gentle demeanor, this mascot is the biggest and one of the smartest animals in the animal kingdom. Thunder also has the advantage of being able to use his trunk in separate ways in this unsanctioned street fight.
Street fight: The hardest part of fighting an elephant is its cuteness. This is a major disadvantage. Something feels wrong about fighting one of the kindest animals in the world. This will give Thunder the opening he needs. I stand no chance of overpowering an elephant once Thunder has control. Thunder will win our fight more times than not.
Final Record: I would be 3-3 after these fights. That is a decent record for this former high school and G-League “athlete.” The good news is there are many more Iowa mascots to go. I await your challenges in the streets. See you soon.
by Sean Dengler
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