I have many hot takes about college mascots.
For example, your live animals are lame (yes, I am speaking directly to my brother — a University of Tennessee student whose mascot Smokey is a common house pet). They can’t scale a goalpost. They can’t engage in acts of taunting. They can’t do push ups. If I wanted to watch a dog walk around a field, I’d sit in my backyard.
But perhaps my hottest take (and I’m so sorry for it) is that the love of my life and fan favorite Brutus Buckeye is simply not serving up enough chaos. We are living in the age of Gritty, and it’s high time we embrace it.
For those of you who either don’t follow hockey or live under a rock, Gritty is the mascot of the Philadelphia Flyers. This googly-eyed, lovably deranged, and delightfully unhinged orange thing has raised the bar for our costumed friends everywhere, and in doing so, he’s gained quite a following for himself.
Let’s get one thing straight — there can only be one Gritty. In the past few months, that amorphous ball of fur has played a tiny piano, painted himself like one of his French girls (and then auctioned off said painting for charity), jumped in a ball pit, raced a zebra, and taken his clothes off more times than I can count. A few weeks ago, I watched him throw a sheet cake at a Flyers fan just because. He talks trash to opposing teams and Flyers fans alike. He is singular, the king of chaos. The best any of us can hope for is to be a duke or duchess of disorder, maybe a prince or princess of pandemonium on our best day.
But even knowing we’ll never out-Gritty the Grit, I feel strongly that all college mascots - ESPECIALLY my beloved Brutus - should be taking notes and letting chaos reign. College mascots, I implore you to ask yourselves: WWGD? (What would Gritty do?)
It’s awesome that Brutus can do a million pushups! But we’ve seen it before, and I’m yawning thinking about it. He has a poisonous nut for a head, for God’s sake. Ohio State should be leaning into the insanity of that and letting him run amuck. It’s time to step up his game.
Here’s the thing — Buckeye fans LOVE Brutus for the cute and lovable being that he is. And he could continue that persona in certain settings. But on game day? We’re not here to play nice. Gritty has raised the bar, and Brutus, my man, I believe you have what it takes to meet it. If I have to see you pound on your head one more time, I’m going to lose it.
We need you to unleash some mayhem. Every time the Buckeyes score, I want you holding up a sign that says “DEEZ NUTS.” Put a kiddie pool courtside at the Schott and relax in a bubble bath for absolutely no good reason. Act like this is normal behavior — no explanation is needed. Throw handfuls of Buckeyes at the visitors section when OSU wins (ok, this one might result in lawsuits so maybe don’t do that).
Get creative. The campus is your oyster. The Shoe is your playground. Use social media to crowdsource ideas for your antics. Think of all the free marketing opportunities the school could gain every time you go viral. You have the opportunity to make OSU a destination for sports fans and practical jokers alike simply by keeping everyone on their toes and building a persona that’s larger than that head of yours.
And to be clear, OSU is not the only school whose mascot needs to step it up. In my humble opinion, only the Oregon Duck and the Stanford Tree are doing it right. But I also don’t care about other schools, so if they want to have boring mascots, that’s their problem.
Brutus, however, is MY giant nut. And as such, I would really like to see him begin acting like one.