How About the Ole Miss Kudzus?
In an attempt to pre-defend anything that follows, I will start by saying, "I’m not from here."
The times, they are a-changing.
Colonel Reb, who has served as the mascot for Ole Miss since the 1930s is being booted off the field. Although he will probably be seen through this year’s football season, it is likely he’ll be phased out shortly thereafter.
I’m not sure what will be the biggest contest this season – Eli Manning chasing the Heisman or Colonel Reb staying as mascot. It’s going to be fun being on the sidelines this season.
Whether this be a race issue or just an attempt to look more fierce in the eyes of the opponent, Ole Miss athletic director Pete Boone has announced that the southern gentleman will be replaced by a more up-to-date (whatever that means) image. He says the old man with a cane doesn’t represent anything athletic and is not the image that the athletic department is trying to project.
That might be a good point, but in comparison, what in the world is a "Crimson Tide"? And what does a clumsy gray elephant have to do with a mean image. Even a mouse can scare an elephant. Hey, how about the Ole Miss Mouses?
A huge controversy now looms over the issue. Fans and alumni seem to be split over the issue.
Some say it doesn’t matter. Some say they will leave the school if the mascot stays. Some say it has kept away many non-white students.
The race card has been dealt. That strikes me kind of funny, as I have discovered that a black man by the name of Blind Jim Ivy was the model for the Colonel Reb mascot.
Many argue the mascot has nothing to do with race. It’s about tradition. Heritage.
The world today is hung up on being politically correct. I hate the term and hope never to be caught in that net.
Let’s look at a few of the other fierce (and not-so-fierce) mascots in the SEC, in order of ferocity:
How about the Ole Miss Kudzus.
If the Colonel is going to be replaced, kudzu is the toughest thing I can think of that represents the south. You can’t stop it or kill it. It’s politically correct, too.
(Jim Beaver is publisher of The Panolian and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)