Thursday, October 1, 2009

Mascot Wars Round 4: Stanford Tree - "???"

I apologize to the avid RJS readership out there that I missed round 3 on the Kansas State Wildcats. However, you can look forward to my post on the University of Arizona which conveniently has the same mascot. Without further ado - The Stanford Cardinal/Tree/huh?

Most real schools have a mascot which is clearly defined and usually serves as the school's nickname and symbol. Sometimes they draw on a local or national symbol of pride (Cal Bears) or based on the attitude, values, and general makeup of the campus population (UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs). But in the case of the wannabe Ivy League member Stanford, no such mascot exists. But wait, what about the Cardinal you ask? The Cardinal is the school's official nickname but has nothing to do with a the bird the cardinal. What about the Tree? According to Stanford's official athletic website:

The Mascot: There is no official mascot at Stanford University. The "Tree," which is a member of the Stanford Band, is representative of El Palo Alto, the Redwood tree which is the logo of the city of Palo Alto. Since Stanford University and Palo Alto are almost inextricably intertwined in interests and location, it is a natural outgrowth of this relationship. The tree still exists and stands by the railroad bridge beside San Francisquito Creek – it is the site where early explorers first camped when settling the area.

Riiiiiiiiiiiiight then. So you're telling me you have no mascot, yet you let a dancing Sequoiadendron giganteum prance about on national television and allow it to be the public face of your University, yet you don't want to claim it as your official mascot. Your reasoning is that it's just a member of the Stanford band and that it doesn't officially represent your school. Hmm. Why's that? Could it be the soiled past you've had with your Tree?

Admittedly, that soiled past is kind of funny in a dark, sadistic, and immature way. Let's look at a few of the highlights of this illustrious Tree and band:

September 30, 2009: A Cal Senior, a Cal alumni, and some other Bay area whack all dressed up as lumbermen assaulted the Stanford tree after a Cal - Stanford women's volleyball game. Apparently these guys ran up to the tree, stole some leaves, tripped a cop, and ran off drunkenly into the night. They were booked on battery, resisting arrest, and for possession of a locking knife blade longer than 2.5 inches (wtf?) UCPD tackled some students and allegedly beat them with nightsticks. The Tree himself had this to say: "All of the sudden I got a big nudge." Full story .

September 14th, 2006: The Stanford Marching band was slated to get a new band room. During that time, a temporary band room was built nicknamed 'The Band Shak.' The Stanford band, much like drunk frat boys who like breaking shit, took spraypaint, a sledgehammer, food, and other decorations to their room and leveled it. Total Damage - $50,000. University decree - indefinite suspension. Full story.

Notre Dame 1991 and 1997: 1991: Stanford band members dressed up in nun costumes in front of 75,000 Irish fans and proceeded to conduct the band with a crucifix instead of of a conductors baton. Also, crucifixes apparently worked well as drumsticks. 1997: Stanford Band Members parodied the Irish potato famine - an epidemic which claimed the lives of over a million Irish. Way to represent, 'Cards.

The Tree has also been known for its continual war with Oski the Bear, one of my longtime favorite mascots :-D These wars are better seen than explained in type. I present the following for your enjoyment.

Hahahahaha. Thanks Cal for illustrating exactly how we're going to take down Toby Gerhart this weekend: go for for the legs and takem down

Model mascot for a model institution. I'm not clinical psychiatrist, but I am a man with a microphone who makes connections, and usually such spontaneous aggressive behavior is often seen exhibited in people who have insecurity issues. Also, seen in drunks. Also not mutually exclusive categories either, and I believe the Tree is case in point. My diagnosis? Ivy Envy. Stanford just wants so badly to be an Ivy League. But its not, and it can't be.

Observe the Ivy Envy:

Ambiguous Mascot: The Cardinal. Harvard's mascot? The Crimson (also red)
Retard Marching Band: Most traditional or wannabe traditional schools have their band march high step. It's pretty pretentious, as are the schools that employ it (California, Notre Dame, U$C). It also looks retarded. But when a school really wants to embarass itself, it does the scatter drill. No forms, nothing to look at other than assholes running around aimlessly without a semblance of order. Harvard and Yale's band also do these
Highly ranked private school: According to most polls, Harvard and Yale are the interchangeable 1 and 2. Stanford is lowly number three. (cue muted trumpet "wah wah wah wahhhhh")
Proprensity for douchbagginess: Self explanatory. Have you met someone from Harvard and also someone from Stanford? I'm not saying they're all douchebags and some of them are actually quite nice and friendly. But a lot of these private school kids have a little uppity attitude about them. It probably comes from the fact that they can all rest easy knowing their trust fund will always be there...

Despite all its success and wantings, Stanford will never be the Ivy League it wishes it was. It will also fall before our mighty school and its noble mascot, who is never ambiguous, has never been arrested, who represents our University with pride, and who beats a lot of ass and will show up the Cardinal/Tree/whatever on TV this weekend. Go Bruins!

P.S. Fuck you Stanford for that rejection letter...
P.S.S. Actually, I was kidding. I'll stick with glorious Southern California with its beautiful beaches, women, and culture, and you can keep to your Prius-happy community.

1 comment:

  1. You know, some UCLA fans live up here and as schools, bands and mascots go, Stanford is pretty OK.

    As much as they may have wanted to be an Ivy League school in the past, it seems like they are happy just being head and shoulders above CAL these days.

    A lot of times I wish I was down in LA, especially during the winter but living here is not that bad.