From the Basement: Keep your mascot on the leash

John Tanet, Contributing Writer

Steak and football what could be a more American combination? Now, most people assume that steak would be grilled, but as a proud Texan I can tell you that isn’t always the case. You would be amazed by how much cow and football goes hand in hand. Fifteen cows to be precise.

Enter Bevo XV, the latest in a long line of University of Texas mascots. For that mad bunch of cowboys, no man in a mask would do. We demanded the best. We demanded a real longhorn.

In case you cannot tell, I love the idea even if just for how funny it is. Even though the animals have been treated well, however, this arrangement isn’t without its share of problems.

Take Bevo V, the majestic steer who in a year that UT refuses to specify slipped his handlers and charged the Baylor Marching Band. New Year’s Day 2019 saw Bevo XV break free and attack the University of Georgia’s dog, Uga.

You would think our history with bull riding would tell us exactly how difficult huge angry cattle are controlled. Funny how that works. At least it is not like Baylor, whose first live mascot was a wild bear who was kidnapped by the 107th Army Troop of Engineers.

And then we get to my favorite incident, one that occurred between our very own beautiful university and our rivals a few miles away.

Back when Tulane and LSU’s football teams still played each other, a few of our own concocted a wonderful plan. Days before the big game …  we up and stole the damn tiger! Mike was, fortunately, recovered a few days later. But not without a fresh coat of Tulane green paint.

For as wild of a time as the 1950s were, we have to remember that these are living creatures caught up in our shenanigans. A live mascot can bring a sense of joy, pride and community to a school. Maybe for the sake of bands, dogs and dark green tigers, we should stop bringing critters to the games.

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