THE HISTORY OF THE SPORTS MASCOT

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From the amateur to the professional level, a team’s mascot is a beloved figure thought to bring luck and beckon excitement.  Each with a name and its own quirky personality, mascots generate spirit both in the players and the hearts of the fans. A mascot is a symbol of the organization, from a multi-million dollar franchise to a town’s little league team.

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The term mascot was first coined in the English language in 1881, derived from the French word “mascotte.” The French meaning was associated with terms such as “witchcraft,” “spell” and “charm,” but evolved in American culture to represent a person, place or object believed to bring luck to an organization. Mascots are used by corporations, military units, schools and even society as a whole, but are most commonly linked to sports teams.

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The mascot has certainly evolved over the years. In the early days, many teams brought live animals, and some still use live animals today. For instance, University of Georgia brings its treasured bulldog Uga V to every game, but its first mascot in the 1892 game against Auburn was a goat decked out in a black coat with red U.G. letters on each side. Bevo the Steer is the cherished mascot of University of Texas at Austin, but a pit bulldog named “Pig” used to represent the Longhorns.

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From the charming Mr. Met to Benny the Bull or the Oregon Duck, mascots bring life to the stands. Whether a live mascot rousing inspiration, or a character leading the crowd in an uproaring cheer, the sporting experience would not hold the same thrill without the presence of the mascot.

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