William and Mary revealed its new mascot to the world April 6 as I was traveling to a game with my teammates on the women’s soccer team. Some of us uploaded the picture of the Griffin on our Blackberries to show the others. Shouts of “Seriously?” and “I thought it was gonna be the Phoenix!” and “Aw man, I wanted the Wren!” buzzed around the bus as I stared at my own Blackberry, reading the blurb from President Reveley. Yeah, I got it, something historical to represent the intelligence and strength of Tribe athletics. I guess a tiny little wren doesn’t symbolize those qualities. For that reason, it made the most sense compared to the others, and I appreciate the inclusion of intelligence in the considerations, as athletes actually do take hard classes and excel in school.
Regardless of the careful selection process, I can’t help but laugh at the playful jabs I’ve come across online. A friend from high school posted a link on my Facebook page that talked about the “pantsless man-bird” that looks like “an upright human in a bear suit.” Jon Stewart (’84) briefly touched on the subject of his alma mater, calling the choice “mythological perversion,” referring to the mascot’s lack of pants. Leave it to William and Mary to devise a complicated connection involving our ties to England and our deep roots in American history. I wouldn’t expect anything less from the College.
However, we do get to have some version of the feathers again. This was probably the most important criterion in my mind for whichever mascot was chosen, so I was glad to hear that a griffin is part eagle. I know my coach was excited too. Our pregame cheer ever since the NCAA banned the old logo has been “TRIBE WITH FEATHERS!” I don’t think our cheer is going to change anytime soon, and I don’t think the Griffin is going to break into the lineup for a few years.
But I could be wrong, and maybe that’s not the point. I’m entering my senior year in the fall, so perhaps I’m guilty of apathy. I don’t see the new mascot really having an impact on my time as a Tribe athlete, other than maybe a new t-shirt with a picture included. However, if the mascot comes to one of my soccer games in the fall and brings a bigger and louder crowd, I might change my mind. Next year will be a test of the mascot’s unifying ability, as most sports are winding down now. Obviously, football in the fall will be its best chance, but I hope it branches out. How about an appearance at a swim meet or a tennis tournament? I think most athletes would agree that we could use some more spirit. If the student body embraces the Griffin, and it makes an effort to attend all sporting events, then as an alumna I might gain a greater appreciation of my new mascot.