Valpo’s new mascot

Over the weekend, we at PantherU reveled in the glory of laughing at yet another new and awful mascot into the Horizon League.  On Saturday, Valparaiso University introduced it’s mascot, the new Crusader.  They used a large build-up process, with a big unveiling at the first football night game in Valpo history.

So, using the PantherU ratings scale to put our new Valpo mascot into the system, we found that the new guy fit in very well: in fact, we didn’t even need to bump anyone, as even the Valpo fans could agree with this rating:

Mascot #10: The new Crusader

Name (0): Reading through Valpo’s press release (which is unintentional comedy in and of itself), the first thing I noticed: this guy doesn’t have a name!  How can a mascot not have a name?  It’s a very difficult proposition to get people to embrace the guy when they don’t even know his name.  My worry, of course, is the real reason for this is to not assign the crusader to any one ethnic group.  It’s the same PC garbage that brought Dean Pelton of Greendale CC to this idea, the Human Being.  Of course, the Greendale Human Being is an excellent sitcom’s punch line for America’s joke of an attempt to be politically correct.  I just with the Crusader was an excellent university’s attempt at pulling an April Fool’s joke in September.  No such luck.

In a fight (5): Here is one of the Crusader’s redeeming qualities.  He’s got brown leather armor, which will either scare away enemies because it’s smeared in shit or cause them to go into convulsions of laughter, disarming them.  However, he doesn’t carry a sword (I believe a decent amount of real-life crusaders did), a problem that also plagues Magnus the Viking at CSU.  His armor allows for a good amount of movement, which lets him stay more nimble than other mascots.  He does, however, have the overlarge-head-syndrome that is a hindrance in a fight; he’s gonna need to take that helmet off if he plans to evade any blows or stay balanced.  Of course, doing so would open himself up to some shots to the head.  Maybe that’s not a bad idea; they could use the opportunity to go back to the drawing board. Have at you!

Relevance (6): If you heard Crusaders, and you saw this guy, you’d make the connection.  If you saw this guy, you m’ight guess Knights or something else.  This is a Lutheran university: for crying out loud, it’s OK to put a cross on the guy somewhere to signify who he’s fighting for (of course, that’s been bastardized too).  I hear that Valpo is thinking of distancing itself from its Christian image, like Butler (now non-sectarian).  That may be good in the long run, but this is still a Christian university as far as I know.  Take it from Shakespeare: “To thine own self be true.”

Love-ability (0): Because you don’t see his face, you don’t see his personality.  I mean for the love of god, slap on some eyes so he has a Marvin the Martian vibe going on.  Will kids ever, ever look at this guy as approachable?  Doubtful.  He’s just got too much mystery to him.

Style (2): Due more to his home’s awful colors than his own getup, the Crusader has some difficulty pulling off the threads.  Personally, I was hoping for straight-up chain mail or at least metal armor.  Oh well.  Lucius Fox would say something like “this sucka won’t stop a knife.”  Of course, I was really hoping that Valpo would hire Patrick Stewart to reprise his role as the greatest crusader of all, King Richard the Lionheart:

But no such luck.

Total: 13 (10th in Horizon League)

Some highlights from the press release:

These values include the freedom to inquire, purpose-driven, service-minded, truth seeking, and being humble and compassionate. Oh no, the crusader has the freedom to inquire?  Oh my!  He can ask questions!

“The most exciting thing about our new Crusader is the elements of character that underlie its personality,” said Scott Ochander, Valparaiso University’s vice president for integrated marketing and communications. I like that he talks about the elements of character, and I laughed hard when he didn’t enumerate them.  What is it about this thing that shows his character?

And while the old mascot was clearly male, the new Crusader’s gender is hidden beneath a mask so that anyone can identify with the mascot, regardless of background. Aha!  I knew it!  This PC bullshit is infuriating for Valpo fans, but it’s gotta be awesome for everyone else to laugh at.  I look forward to making fun of this disaster in person.

“I think the new Crusader does a really good balancing of our tradition with what we aspire to be,” Director of Athletics Mark LaBarbera said. The thing that worries me here is that LaBarbera was being serious; that the future of the Crusaders (what they aspire to be) is generic, sterile, unoffensive – in other words, completely lacking in spirit.

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  1. Charles

    September 21, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Great review on many fronts. Horrible mascot – no personality for the fans to embrace.

    I am a VU grad and played football for 4 years. Was looking forward to new mascot and now I jst want the old one back. Only someone who went to VU can understand how this could happen.

    New unis are great.

    With all the firsm ot there that can design these it is hard to figure how you could do so poorly.

  2. Charles

    September 21, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Where did you hear this?

    ” I hear that Valpo is thinking of distancing itself from its Christian image”

    I don’t believe this is true and is one of the defining aspects of Valpo – and distinguishes it from other colleges. The best students come to VU becuase they ARE Lutheran…poor students stay away becuase it IS Lutheran. So I don’t see this changing. But please explain where you did hear this.

    Thank you.

    • Jimmy Lemke

      September 21, 2010 at 3:43 pm

      Just idle chat with Valpo fans when I’m at games in town; every year I’m there for the MKE-Valpo basketball game, and catch the Green Bay-Valpo game on the way back from Butler.

      In any case, put a cross on the Crusader and give him a name.

  3. Dee

    September 21, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    I love the new mascot, and I have to disagree with you when you say that it is a cliche approach at being politically correct. I think this is something that many schools lack and that is the possibility that anybody can be the mascot. Leaving the gender and ethnicity a mystery is an important factor it allows a young person to identify and bond with the new mascot, I think that is way more important than any name could give it. Also, I too have to ask where you heard about the school parting ways with their Christian image, if anything they are clarifying their values. I respect you opinion but I think you should do a bit more research before you make offhand comments.

    • Jimmy Lemke

      September 21, 2010 at 6:42 pm

      I’m glad to find out from now two people connected to Valpo that the rumors of distancing the university from the Christian image

      As for the rest of your comment, you’re just droning on the company line. I would not be surprised to find that you or someone close to you is either employed by the university or closely tied to the new mascot. It’s a poor mascot.

      • Francis

        September 21, 2010 at 9:30 pm

        I’ve been to a lot of home games over the years and I think this mascot is actually better than the old one. I’m really confused as to how you can say its bad I think its awesome and this is coming from a Purdue fan.

  4. Charles

    September 21, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    Yes. The mascot is HORRIBLE. I cannot think of one worse. The true test is if the admins and new pres will listen to the feedback and make sure that thing is nowhere near the HC game on Saturday.


  5. Manny

    September 22, 2010 at 9:14 am

    Maybe it is a joke and the real crusader will be introduced on Saturday at Homecoming. Current one is horrible and VU needs to take action – today.

  6. HA

    September 27, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Let me just say this: the Valpo Crusader used to be a volunteer gig with a line of interest out the door. Now they have to pay students to wear the costume.

  7. Steve R.

    September 27, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    As a grad, I am embarrassed by this crap. Why did we change the frigging crusader??? The old one wasn’t great but at least there was a face – WHY WHY WHY?? And whoever wrote this article got it right, that is “shit” brown, no matter what the media guide tells you.

  8. KC

    September 27, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    I’m a (formerly) proud alumna and I think this is TERRIBLE. Between this and repeatedly demolishing familiar, recognizable buildings on campus, it’s disheartening to know that “Dear Ol’ Valpo” would rather be unrecognizable and soulless. The next time I’m back on campus for a game, I will proudly wear all of my gear with the OLD mascot, and I hope everyone else will do the same.

    • Steve R.

      September 27, 2010 at 7:02 pm

      Exactly KC!

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