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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

GROVER: Real eagle would liven up school spirit

EricGroverThe lights go out at the Bradley Center and a sold out crowd starts cheering. A spotlight hits center court and there it is: a magnificent golden eagle perched on the arm of a handler. The eagle takes off, soars around the rafters and dive-bombs back to the trainer in a beautiful, effortless display. Everyone goes crazy.

What has just been described to you is an awesome theoretical situation of how a live golden eagle mascot would accent Marquette basketball games. The keyword here is theoretical, because in case you haven’t noticed, our school doesn’t have an eagle.

Live animal mascots can be found on campuses across the country. One glaring question comes to mind: Why don’t we have one? These animal mascots are an embodied symbol of school spirit and bring a level of excitement that no costume can reproduce.

Arguably the most iconic of these live mascots is the University of Georgia Bulldog, “Uga.” The bulldogs have been owned and bred by the Seiler family of Savannah, Ga., since 1956, when the familiar all-white English first graced the sidelines. Handler Charles Seiler has been Uga’s on-field guardian since 1974.

“The beautiful thing about our situation is that our mascot is approachable,” Seiler said. “You can actually touch him and roll around with him and have your picture made. Whenever I walk him across the field, the crowd always gives him a huge roar.”

Interestingly, the University of Georgia is the only school that actually buries its mascots within the confines of its stadium. I would be remiss in this story without mentioning that Uga VII, the current Bulldog, passed away Thursday morning from heart trouble, just hours after my interview with Seiler. He was only four years old and had served as mascot for less than two seasons. I don’t know what to say except: Rest in peace, Uga.

Auburn University is known as the Tigers, but it is also known for its “War Eagle.” The myth goes that in the first Georgia-Auburn game in 1892, an old Civil War veteran brought his pet eagle (found on the battlefield) with him into the stands. Auburn was losing when the eagle flew off his shoulder and soared around the stadium. Auburn immediately scored a touchdown and went on to win the game, with the students shouting “War Eagle.”

Today, Auburn’s Southeastern Raptor Center is the permanent home of 25 birds of prey, including the War Eagle, and a rehabilitation facility for over 200 more on a yearly basis.

Think there’s not enough room for a golden eagle on campus? Well, the War Eagle, a golden eagle himself, stays in an enclosure measuring just 40 by 20 feet.

“Our War Eagle is really an ambassador of the university and gets people excited,” said Marianne Hudson, a six-year trainer of the War Eagle. “He does have a side job getting people excited for football games, but his first goal is to be an instrument of learning.”

Look at the benefits: school spirit, ambassador, educational, a symbol of the University. It makes a lot of sense for Marquette to add a feathered friend to campus.

So where would the Marquette golden eagle stay? I propose they keep it in the old law building. The soon-to-be-vacant building will serve no purpose and would be a great place to keep it. They wouldn’t even need to cage the bird. Just let it roam free in the hollowed-out building, like the owls in the Harry Potter books. Yeah, good idea.

Better yet, let the golden eagle move into the new law building. No work would even have to be done. The eagle would have a state-of-the-art habitat, and they wouldn’t have to transport all those 150-year-old books that nobody reads.

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  • T

    tom thomasDec 1, 2009 at 9:41 am

    I don’t think it’d be very ethical to keep a real warrior in such caged conditions either

  • J

    john smithNov 30, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    Maybe we should get a real warrior instead.

  • A

    Alex MalinchocNov 30, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    Really? You think the ideal place for a golden eagle would be inside a bright, raucous, Bradley center? You think it would be a good idea to take one of nature’s most magnificent predators out of its natural habitat of sky and open spaces and subject it to the chaos that defines Marquette basketball games? To coop up a bird that in the wild maintains territories as large as 60 square miles in an “enclosure measuring just 20 to 40 feet”? Usually I’m not one to support PETA’s hypocritical drivel but this idea strikes me as awful and fairly depressing. Is this what modern entertainment has come to? That we exploit the glory of nature as a means for our once a week cheap thrills? America adopted the bald eagle as a symbol because it represents some of our nation’s greatest maxims: power, strength, and most of all, liberty. And you want to cage the Bald Eagle’s closest cousin, the Golden Eagle, and bring it out only so “a sold out crowd starts cheering,”? Really. In my eyes this would be a grave injustice, both to the ethos of Marquette University and to the embodiment of the Golden Eagle.

  • B

    BrosephNov 25, 2009 at 11:38 am

  • B

    Bob LittelmannNov 24, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    Wow. This is such a great idea. Maybe it could lead to a similar bird rehab center as Auburn’s. I understand we do not have a veterinary school. Does Wisconsin? I hope you pursue this. It would bring back the spirit of the Warriors. I would feel much better about the name Golden Eagles. They are magnificent birds, larger than the Bald Eagle.