Stereotypes Are Okay?

In the United States, society teaches us from a young age that it’s bad to stereotype; that stereotypes are wrong.  Stereotypes are mean, incorrect, de-individualizing assumptions.  This is especially true when paired with race/nationality – NEVER stereotype about a those!  Which is why it is mind blowing to even consider that Mexico did this back in 1986:

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As the host country for the World Cup, Mexico was given the task of creating a mascot for the biggest sporting event in the world.  Their decision making method?  Putting together every single stereotype of Mexico, and shoving it into character form.  So Pique, a picante pepper, grew out his mustache, put on his airy, brightly coloured v-neck, woven shoes, and sombrero and cheered with the best of ’em.
Yes, there was a physical mascot too, but unfortunately not a costumed one.

Pique, the official mascot for the 1986 Mexico World Cup.

Some nations were not very happy with the stereotype approach, and refused to endorse the event if this was the image.  So the official image was this:
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Even though this idea would have been much better (though less informative):
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Unlimited Talk & Text

In all of the Japan posts, I’ve discussed how they use mascots for pretty much everything – schools, corporate, ideas, public service- absolutely everything.

But why not  combine some of those things together to have a super mascot?
That’s precisely the what this Phillipine Basketball Association team is all about. Currently the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters, this team changes names as often as the company invents phone plans.  Starting out as a company representation in 1996, they were the Mobiline Cellulars.  But in 1997, those ‘pick your friends and they don’t count toward your minutes,’ plans started, so they became the ‘Mobiline Phone Pals.’
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In 2001, texting became big, so they wanted to promote that you can talk AND text the friends you chose, and it won’t count toward your limit. Hence, they were the ‘Talk ‘N Text Tropang Phone Pals’.
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This lasted until 2008, when minutes and data pretty much became unlimited for everything, giving them their current name.
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They also have costumed mascots, called Ka-Tropas, who are unfortunately not giant cell phones.  There is nothing in English about them, so we’ll assume they’re just two random cheer squad dudes. Why does the one on the right have hair from the ’80s?
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The team was actually founded in 1990 by Pepsi, when they were the Pepsi Hotshots.  Pepsi went with the same marketing technique, and changed their name to 7-Up Uncolas in 1992, and Pepsi Mega Bottlers in 1993.  Sadly, I cannot find any photos of this- I really want to see what the Uncolas looked like!

I <3 Canada

It’s been slow here at work today, and I’ve been filling the time with reading the news, which I rarely do.  There’s now so many questions circling my head like vultures amidst injured prey.  It’s as though our lives are based on hatred.  Why did a policeman hate the disrespect of texting in class so much that he flipped the desk?  Why are we disgusted enough by our faces and bodies to create videos about how to ‘look like your favourite celebrity.’  Why does Urban Meyer detest losing so much he would keep Jameis Winston on his team, even after the theft, rant, and alleged rape?  Why does Russia dislike Syria so much that they fired 118 targets in 1 day?

That’s what makes mascots so wonderful- they’re just meant for happiness. They’re there to cheer you on, to make you smile, to get you essited.  And I think the world is starting to see this- sometimes you do need positive reinforcement, not negative remarks.
Canada learned this precise lesson by making a mascot for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.  They created Komak, who is quite the looker:

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This moose was introduced two months before the olympics, in St. Lawrence Catholic Elementary School, where he was quickly loved. Teachers saw how fast kids adored him, and decided to incorporate him into their lessons.

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For two months before going to Sochi, Komak traveled all over Canada, befriending kids of the nation.  What they realized is that mascots are really popular, really wonderful, and really bring out the best in [most] people.  So they have kept Komak around to bring happiness to all sorts of events around the country, and have said he will definitely be back for the next olympics.  Good call, allies to the north!

www.winstonchow.ca

Citrus Trio

When this is your team photo, how can you not be great?

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This is Ehime FC, the soccer team for Matsuyama, Japan, where evidently they don’t believe in kneeling.  In all of their pictures, they’re doing this awkward, butt-out, need to be shorter than the person behind me but still standing pose.
Founded in 1970, this team has been successful enough to get to the later rounds of the Emperor’s Cup, and has absorbed some of the smaller, less successful soccer teams.  What does this mean to me?  Absolutely nothing.
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I chose this mascot because they have three hilarious oranges that crack me up.  The main is tough and mean looking, and can probably put up a pretty good soccer fight- but then you remember, he’s an anthropomorphized orange.  He’s a piece of fruit!  You can just peel and eat, and gain some good vitamin C!
They each represent one necessary part of a sports team.  You need the rough, the fun, the exciting, the battler.  The one on the left is the angry, we’re a tough team mascot.  Cool.  The one in the middle is the nice, sweet, I’m good with kids mascot.  Also cool.  The one on the right, though?  What is that?  He’s just weird.  What sports emotion does that represent?  Maybe the words underneath say what he is, but we will never know.  Someone, translate!
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Mascots Can’t Solve Everything

The college sports world mini-essploded this weekend as Miami, and the poor lil ibis, suffered its worst loss in team history.  Clemson dominated all four quarters to a 58-0 kill, and while Sebastian and Co. are back at the gym thinking about their next game, head coach Al Golden has been fired.

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But there was an equally awful loss over in the NEC, where BYU trumped Wagner 70-6.  For the entire first half, this Staten Island school of 2500 couldn’t answer any of the 49 points from BYU.  The third quarter looked slightly brighter, with Wagner posting the one and only TD, only to have the point after blocked.
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This no-name seahawk leads the team in an 0-7 season, proving that even a smiling, happy, adorable mascot cannot fix all problems.  Can he lead them to victory next week against Duquesne?  We’ll find out at noon on Saturday, when the annual showdown takes place.  Wagner triumphed by 10 last year, but also managed to finish the season over 500- things aren’t what they used to be.
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Is he signaling that there’s a touchdown?  Are they going to get another touchdown next week?  Watch it and see- probably on a bootleg streaming site, because no channel is going to cover this less than average FCS team.

The Saddest Mascot Story Ever

What sport does the USA love more than any other?  Football!!!!… Unless it’s arena football, and then we don’t seem to care. But really, why do we not care? It’s pretty much the same sport, just inside, on a field half the size, with higher scores, weaker defenses, and no punting.  Plus, they have mascot stories that are much more detailed than anything I’ve ever seen.

Chum is the mascot for the Jacksonville Sharks, but is not a shark himself.  He is a… well, whatever you think this is:
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Chum was born in New York, where he worked with his father on fishing boats.  Working under the hot sun in the boat made Chum very warm, and he would often going swimming to cool off.  That’s where he noticed that he can communicate with the sea life, and became good friends with a shark named Bruce.  Most fishermen didn’t like Bruce because he would scare people on the beach and wreck fishing boats, so they came up with a plan to kill him.  One day, Chum slept in too late, and did not go out with his father on the boat.  Unfortunately, that was the one day that the boat never made it back, and legend has it that his father was killed protecting Bruce from the other fishermen.
Chum was heartbroken about it, and decided he needed to start his life over somewhere else, so he made his way down the coast, but Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina did not feel like home.  Then he got to Jacksonville, Florida, and found sharks to cheer for, and immediately knew it was the home for him.  He has been there ever since, cheering for the Jacksonville Sharks AFL team.
That is the longest, saddest, most intense mascot story I’ve ever seen.  And I’m not making this up… it’s all right here: http://www.jaxsharks.com/fanzone/chum/
It looks like he has plenty of happiness in his life again, thankfully, filled with friends and fans, sharks of course, and even getting buff.
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I’m glad he has found where he belongs, even if it is with people who are this good at looking angry.
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Myrtle- Rated G

When people not from the southeast United States think of South Carolina, what first pops into their head?  Myrtle Beach.  And thanks to the Girls Gone Wild franchise, Myrtle Beach forever has the connotation of wild spring break partiers clad in less than a normal bikini while drinking too much alcohol and overall having lower inhibitions and poor decision making skills.  Thanks for that, Joe Francis.

But let’s not forget that Myrtle also has other wonderful things- like appropriately clothed beaches, mini golf for days, and pelicans!   The Eastern Brown Pelican is the only non-white pelican species alive today, and exists on the United States coastline from Virginia to Florida, often in sanctuaries due to their constant state of being only marginally off the endangered species list.
The Pelican is also the mascot of the A-League baseball team for Myrtle Beach.
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Splash the Pelican became a mascot when the team moved from Durham to his home of the Grand Strand in Myrtle.  He has been loved ever since, even though he often flies over the seats and steals fans’ food when they’re not looking.  Splash loves the game, but often gets carried away, and has actually been ejected twice.  He also has a bff, born in 2008, named Rally Shark.  Rally Shark is only around for late innings when they need a run, and spends the rest of his time practicing his song-and-dance routines in case “Jaws” ever decides to go Broadway.
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The next time you think of going to South Carolina for spring break, maybe consider Splash as a day of entertainment instead of the normal spring break antics.  Or just choose one of the better cities in South Carolina.
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