"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
Tuesday, May 13, 2003 How's this for a new UMass mascot?
Some might argue it's a pretty fair rendering of AD Ian McCaw, whose move to reconsider the Minuteman symbol has brought the state university in Amherst a good deal of publicity -- mostly bad.
"Marketing, PC endanger UMass mascot," is the headline on the Washington Timesreport, while the AP notes, "Mascot proposal irks some."
Indeed. The idea is ludicrous that the Minuteman symbol -- unique to Massachusetts, proudly evocative of Concord and Lexington and Bunker Hill -- should be dropped at the behest of a slick marketing design firm and a blow-in athletic director because a Minuteman purportedly is "too hard to draw," doesn't lend itself to backward-baseball-cap sales in Newark and Peoria, and too sexist and bellicose, besides.
Meantime, "Mustangs" topped a list of alternative mascots in a poll at UMassHoops.com, while the Gray reportedly has been removed from the Wolves symbol floated by the AD.
Fisher Cats? Ospreys? Night Hawks? For these the sports marketers in Amherst would drop the embattled farmer who fired the shot heard 'round the world?
I was a Mustang in high school, and while it's an alliterative name, the closest thing to a native mustang in Massachusetts would probably be found among the Ice Age equine fossils in the UMass museum collection.
And the gray wolf was extirpated in Massachusetts by 1840, the Massachusetts Bay Colony having placed a bounty on the beasts in 1630.
What wolves are found in Massachusetts today are in captivity, having been imported from British Columbia. (Which makes them BC Wolves, UMass might note.)
If you want to talk targets of Puritanical musketry, the Wampanoags have managed to outlast the wolf in Massachusetts. But I doubt UMass is going to challenge Braintree High for the thoroughly un-PC Wamps moniker.
An online petition has been started by opponents of the proposed name change, but the list of e-mails and numbers listed at this UMass contacts page might prove a more useful starting point.
Worth noting: The NFL Patriots were one of the least popular teams in terms of nationwide apparel sales until a Super Bowl victory put their jerseys in the top 10. The UMass Minuteman could be a big seller, too, if the basketball team were a winner.