A quick Google search of the word ‘mascot’ brings up how baseball might’ve been the first sport to officiate a mascot back in the 1880s. The actual lineage of the mascot is most likely riddled with rich factoids and tidbits throughout the 20th Century to make the mascot represent what it is today–what’s a sporting event without one? But, we’re not going to talk about that. No, let’s talk about the fictional story of the mascot… the one that never, ever happened. Here’s the untold, extremely untrue story of the team mascot and how mascots have evolved into the celebrity-like status they are today.

When our ancestors sailed across the Atlantic to colonize this great United States of America, they knew that a new era was literally on the horizon. An unknown land with unlimited possibilities laid ahead, one to be established in the name of liberty and the pursuit of happiness! The founding fathers knew there had to be a symbol to represent this newfound freedom for all, choosing the turkey originally as the first proverbial ‘mascot’ of the United States. That quickly got vetoed for the bald eagle (this is actually the true part of the story, fun fact). Word spread of the bald eagle’s majesty, and the whole country soon caught mascot fever. What is this bold allegiance we feel when we associate animals with symbols? Soon, every business, every state, and even everyday citizens claimed a mascot to associate with. Advertising was never the same.

This mascot mania quickly spiraled out of control. It got to the point where a person couldn’t walk down the street without at least one mascot waving a store coupon in their face. Mayors started cracking down on mascot-ing across the country, placing a moratorium on all mascot-related marketing for the sake of everyone’s sanity and the country at large. Around this time, organized sporting events began to emerge, with an emphasis on athleticism, patriotism, and community involvement. Ticket sales were booming until moving pictures came along, and Hollywood stole the hearts of the American public. Sporting events suddenly seemed so passé. What could possibly bring back the good ‘ol days of sports entertainment? Cue, the team mascot. As if overnight, sporting events were more popular than ever, packed to capacity, with spectators scaling the stands to get a glimpse of what the zany new team mascots were going to do next. Soon, mascots filtered down into the American school system, starting at universities and trickling down further to grade schools far and wide. It was established: if there is a team, there is an accompanying mascot.

The glory of the mascot grew exponentially ever since, dazzling crowds with flips, cheers, and chants at baseball games, football games, basketball games and even the most mundane city-planning events! Mascots and cheerleaders, both working crowds at the same angle, realized that they should work together rather than against each other, resulting in an official signed partnership back in ’77. The days of the mascot are far from over, with unique mascots gaining steam in modern day society more and more. Who knows? Maybe one day the mascot will have its own modern art museum, celebratory day on the calendar, and the ability to run for president. Time will only tell.

What’s your favorite mascot? Tell us in the comments!