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On the Topics of Mascots, and What is a Hoosier, Anyway?

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For the last 37 years, the Indiana Hoosiers have taken the field without a mascot. And for some reason, this particular fact has caused much consternation, occasionally among fans, often among visitors, and of course, many, many internet forums. There has even been at least one scholarly journal published talking about the history of IU mascots and their failures. (As an aside, Michigan also doesn’t have a mascot roaming the sidelines for them, but almost no one seems to care about that. Besides, their attempts have also been lackluster at best.) There have been multiple attempts over the years to have a mascot for the university, some better than others, but all have fallen by the wayside eventually. Among the attempts were a goat, a collie, a bull, a bulldog, a bison, and some horrifying thing called “Mr. Hoosier Pride” which almost makes Purdue Pete look normal.

Since 1979, no official mascot has been tried by the administration, and while some students occasionally try and stir up support for a new one every few years or so, none have made it past the “hey, wouldn’t it be cool if” stage. Of course, now that no less an authority than the United States government has finally come around to the fact that the people of the state of Indiana are not “Indianans”, someone will probably try and stir up yet another attempt to more clearly define a Hoosier, and propose a mascot of the same to the IU Athletic Department. And really, the answer to “What is a Hoosier?” is much simpler than people think, it just doesn’t really lead you to a mascot. And you know what? That’s perfectly fine.

Because to truly understand what a Hoosier is, you have to have been to Indiana University. You have to have experienced campus the same way everyone else who has walked, ridden, and driven through it has. You have to find that place, that moment in time where you first felt that this was where you belonged here. To truly be a Hoosier, you have to have lived like a Hoosier, you have to have eaten like a Hoosier, you have to have laughed, cheered, breathed, seen, cried, and maybe even bled like a Hoosier. A Hoosier is not just someone who has been at Indiana University; a Hoosier is someone who has been of Indiana University. That’s why no mascot has truly been able to represent IU for all of these years; to be a Hoosier is not some thing that you can concisely craft into a costume, it is a state of mind, a state of being. You either are or you aren’t.

I’m Candystripes for Breakfast, and I’m a Hoosier.

B1G 2017: Indiana Week

Monday I Season Preview

Tuesday I Big Man on Campus

Wednesday I Visiting Bloomington

Thursday I What is a Hoosier (You Are Here)

Friday I Haters Gonna Hate, Hate, Hate