In my opinion, the wrong Colorado Rapids mascot made it through. Cozmo of the LA Galaxy beat Rapidman by just a few votes, but Edson Eagle beat the Portland Timbers' lumberjacking mascot Timber Joey. (I'm a diehard Rapids fan, ladies and gentlemen, but I did not see that coming.)
What is a Mascot Exactly?
Part of our jobs at Burgundy Wave is not just to agitate and infuriate (at times), but also to educate. The role of a mascot is a person, animal, or object adopted by a group as a symbolic figure especially to bring them good luck." The word 'mascot' comes from a French word meaning talisman or charm, or in some derivatives, sorceress. So, originally mascots existed not merely to represent an organization but to channel the spirit world in order to bring luck and success, or to cast a spell on the opposition to bring, yes, bad luck.
The word came into English use when a French opera was translated into English in the late 19th century called, yes, "The Mascot."
Yet, I seriously doubt that this is what many fans believe is the function of a mascot. At least this fan doesn't
Where did Edson the Eagle come from?
The Rapids kicked off the new tradition in their mascot department on July 4, 2007 with their newest mascot being the symbol of the USA, the American bald eagle! Adding to the importance of honoring this sacred bird is the fact that the week Edson was introduced, the bald eagle had been taken off the endangered species list for the first time in 40 years!
The Rapids chose Edson because he symbolizes courage, freedom, spirit, and the pursuit of excellence. His official birthdate is July 4, and he was released in front of the Rapids' faithful after being delivered to the stadium in an official van straight from the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge. (Via Colorado Rapids website.)
See, now that's a great story! Sometimes we see Edson running around that think, "Yeah, fun smile, and the kids love him--but what's this all about?" This is a great backstory to share with your kids and with others. It's American, environmentally-friendly, celebrates our national bird no longer endangered--and what an entry!
Do we see other soccer clubs around the world use a mascot? The Premier League uses them (here are some top entries), with my obvious favorite being Arsenal's Gunnersaurus Rex (not kidding). Some are poor, some are creative. But if you're going to have a mascot, have one that seeks not only to embody the present but isn't goofy helping take the club into the future.
See, I believe the choosing of a mascot does reflect on the creativity of a team. Again, back to Timber Joey--that's creative and robust. Cozmo? How on earth did the beast Rapidman lose to Cartoon Cosmo? The Minutemen of the New England Revolution work great.
But maybe that's where you're at. You may think that mascots aren't simply there for fun and to rile up the crowd. You may think mascots are so much more.
What do you think of the role of mascots? Fun, bizarre, extraneous, bringers of good luck?