Years ago, if you started a religious high school or Bible college and you wanted a name for the mascot, legally, you only had one choice – the Crusaders. I’m not sure which religious organization enforced this rule, but I promise, it was in place. Ask the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts or Concordia Lutheran High School in Texas or Northwest Nazarene University in Idaho, they are all Crusaders. Granted, you could try to shy away from the law by naming yourselves the Knights, but the effect was the same. Religious schools had religious-sounding mascots.
But recently, I’ve noticed that we’ve stopped giving our schools holy-sounding mascots. Instead, we’ve been infected with “Generic Mascot Syndrome” commonly referred to as “GMS.” My wife’s Christian high school suffered from this and had a mascot named the “stars.” It’s a great school, but naming your mascot “the stars” is about as exciting as calling your mascot, “team.” What tough action verb can possibly be associated with something as plain sounding as “stars?” I envision trying to cheer things like, “Go stars, dazzle the other team” or “We are the Stars, we do twinkle, you are not, so you stinkle.”
It’s awkward, but I don’t blame them. I think it’s hard to name a good mascot. Look what happened with the mascot for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. They were so afraid to come up with one that instead they created the “anti-mascot,” a squiggled blue streak of color named “Izzy.” One website described it as “an amorphous abstract fantasy figure. It carried the name Izzy, derived from ‘What is it?’ because no one seemed to know exactly what Izzy really was.” It was miserable and when you add the need to make the mascot sound holy and spiritual to an already difficult task, it becomes almost impossible to pick one. Until now.
I am ready to share with the world, or at least the people that read this site on Tuesdays, the Holy Sounding Mascot Algorithm. Just follow this simple formula and you’ll have a perfectly pious piece of mascot awesomeness when you are finished:
The Holy Sounding Mascot Algorithm:
1. Start by adding one spiritual-sounding action.
The University of Nevada Las Vegas calls themselves the “Runnin’ Rebels.” A lot of great mascots start with an action of some sort, and so will ours for our new Christian school. Pick something that sounds exciting but also like an action that people in the Bible did regularly. And make sure you end it with “in'” not “ing.” It’s a scientific fact that you will win 91% more athletic competitions if your mascot is the “Fightin’ Raiders ” instead of the “Fighting Raiders.” I’m not sure why, but it’s true.
Try: Worshippin’ or Prayin’ or Singin’
2. Add one Old Testament Hero.
The Old Testament is jam packed with people that were rough, tough and mascot worthy. Granted, a lot of them didn’t finish perfectly, like Samson, but they’re perfect for a mascot name that says, “We might be Christians, but we aren’t wimps.”
Try: Caleb, Joshua or David. Don’t be afraid to go obscure either and bust out a Jephthah or Benaiah.
3. Subtract one temptation to give your mascot a peaceful name.
At some point, someone connected to the school is going to suggest you name yourselves the “lambs” or the “turn the other cheekers.” Subtract this idea from your naming process as quickly as possible. God loves all those things, He does, but in the context of cheering on a football team to victory, I think even He would have a hard time yelling, “go Doves!”
Try to avoid: Peacemakers and Huggers
4. Add one Bible animal.
Don’t let the dove reference above fool you, the right animal can serve as a powerful addition to your mascot name. Besides sounding cool, you’ll be able to eventually get a real version of said animal to prowl, patrol or soar above the sidelines of all your sporting events.
Try: Eagle (of course), the lions (difficult to maintain during the week, but really cool on game day) and those two bears that killed all the teenagers in the Elisha story.
5. Add one reference to the “Jesus got angry” Bible verse.
You know the one I’m talking about. It’s that section where He cleared the temple of all the moneychangers. That’s our favorite verse to bring up whenever we talk about anger. So try to work it in on some level. Call yourselves the “whip makers” because Jesus made one before He went into the temple or something along those lines.
Try: Money Clearers, Table Kickers, Temple Crashers, etc.
6. Multiply the whole thing by a Bible address.
One of the trends right now when it comes to naming a church is to include a numerical reference to a specific Bible verse. Try that with your mascot too. Call yourselves the J-10Tens after John 10:10 or the “3 to the 1 to the 6,” after John 3:16.
Try: The Eleventy 12s, after Matthew 11:12, which talks about advancing the kingdom with force.
Those are the steps, which might sound complicated at first, but when you put them all together it’s pretty simple:
Spiritual Action + OT Hero – Soft Name + Animal + Temple Thunder X Bible Address = Holy Sounding Mascot.
In addition to it being helpful to schools trying to name a mascot, I think it’s a fun game as well. Let’s play “who can make the most holy sounding Christian mascot?”
I’ll go first with mine:
“The Jar Smashin’ Gideon Donkey Commerce Disturbin’ 4:thirteeners.”
In addition to referencing Philippians 4:13, I think that will look fantastic on a t-shirt.
What would your holy sounding mascot be?