Has anyone else ever noticed that we have at least three mascots and wondered why they don’t duke it out for supremacy? One of the characteristics of the ideal Trojan is “Ambitious,” after all. Since they haven’t yet, I’ve decided to give them a helping hand and hold the first Trojan Mascot-Off! May the best man…mammal, win!
Here’s the breakdown of each of our three competitors, Tommy Trojan, George Tirebiter, and Traveler! Who do you think would come out on top in a battle royale?
Tommy: Sculpted by Roger Noble Burnham (as in, he could honestly say, “Noble is my middle name”), Tommy’s body was modeled on USC football greats. He was going to be called the Spirit of Troy, but then Dr. Bartner’s predecessor, who looked suspiciously like Dr. Bartner, appropriated the name for the band.
Traveler: Richard Saukko was riding his white horse in the 1961 Rose Parade when a USC bureaucrat said “Hey! You! Yes, you with the pale complexion and four legs! Ditch your friend and come work for us! What, a package deal? If you insist…”
Tirebiter: A stray discovered at a now extinct ice cream parlor, George was given extraordinary powers when somebody commented that he looked like a guy named George. Armed with this proud name, George soon earned himself the title “Tirebiter” after his favorite pastime: chasing cars.
Tommy: Has everyone convinced that he’s the official mascot instead of Traveler.
Traveler: Is a key factor in Trojan Spirit at SC football games; fan spirit amplifies team spirit amplifies game-winning; Traveler is one reason our football is awesome!
Tirebiter: Bit the Bruin mascot on the nose at a home football game!
Sandals, check. Awesome helmet, double check. Skirt-armor thing… check.
Naked time! I mean, he’s a horse, but really, birthday suit.
Doggy sweaters and hats.
Tommy wins this one. The statue was built in 1930.
Tirebiter was only active during the 40s and 50s; his statue built in 2006.
Traveler first rallied the football crowds in 1961.
Rather Like My Thighs: Tommy is flexing every muscle in his body at the same time. No normal human can do this, so Tommy must have precise, conscious control over every fiber of his being. What is this power worth, you ask? (Besides being so perfectly muscled as to be automatically disqualified from Mr. Universe out of fairness to the other contestants.) Well I’ll tell you: Tommy can apply precise amounts of force in very precise ways. That means he can set the physical punishment he dishes out from tickle to kill with unmatchable accuracy.
Civilian Identity: In times when he has to go underground, Tommy has the subtle, unrecognizable alter ego of Duct Tape Man-Blob…Thing.
Sequels: Like Jason or Freddy, Traveler keeps coming back to terrorize Bruins everywhere. We’re on Traveler VII so far, and there seems to be no sign of UCLA’s nightmares ending.
Say Hello to My Olive-Drab-Suited Friends: As anyone who has ever tried to ride the Traveler statue knows, that horse has the ability to summon DPS officers at will.
Crunch Time: The plaque with George’s statue tells us that George had the greatest bite “of all the great USC mascots.” Tommy’s human, so for all his physique he’s not hard to beat out, but horse bites are nothing to sneeze at. Considering that Tirebiter probably has sharper teeth, we’re talking a pretty wicked bite.
Reincarnation: Just like Duffman, Tirebiter is only dead until they get some poor puppy to put on the costume. The first George’s battle against the evil cars ended in a final climatic run-in, or rather run-over, in 1950. Even after a full public funeral, however, George reappeared several times, in several different shapes, before fading from popularity in 1957.
To vote for your favorite, “Like” the article and comment below with the name of your favorite mascot and the reason why they are the One True Trojan Energizer Bunny that Fights On and On and On… Get your vote in by 12:00 AM 1/22/12 for it to count!