April 18, 2007

Mascots by the numbers

I asked mascot expert Jay Rosenstein where the Indian mascot numbers (3,000 originally, less than 1,000 left) come from. His response:I can't be sure, but I believe it is a wild guess. I don't know of anyone who is keeping an exact tally (if that were even possible).

But I could be wrong.

best,

Jay

6 comments:

russell said...

Writerfella here --
Obviously then, if any such total runs shy of the forecast, he'll simply make up some new ones to fill the gaps...
writerfella is old enough to remember this phrase, "Senator, there are 565 Communists in the US State Department!"
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

Rosenstein didn't make up the old numbers, so I doubt he'll make up new ones.

I'm still betting there's a source for the numbers, even if no one knows what it is.

russell said...

Writerfella here --
Hopefully, it won't be a made-up figure but actually will be based on a traceable and verifiable quantity. Else, someone might claim that 'Hokies' is some kind of Native taunt. It means 'miners', and not much else. Did Natives 'mine'?
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

I thought "hokie" was just a cheer like "hurray" that got made into a noun and then a team name.

Yes, I was right:

http://www.vt.edu/about/hokie.php

Here is the answer to that oft-posed question, "What's a Hokie?" and an explanation of other Tech traditions.

What is a Hokie? The origin of the word "Hokie" has nothing to do with a turkey. It was coined by O. M. Stull (class of 1896), who used it in a spirit yell he wrote for a competition.

Here's how that competition came to be held. Virginia Tech was founded in 1872 as a land-grant institution and was named Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College. In 1896, the Virginia General Assembly officially changed the college's name to Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute, a name so long that citizens shortened it in popular usage to VPI. The original college cheer, which made reference to the original name of the institution, was no longer suitable. Thus, a contest was held to select a new spirit yell, and Stull won the $5 top prize for his cheer, now known as Old Hokie:

Hoki, Hoki, Hoki, Hy.
Techs, Techs, V.P.I.
Sola-Rex, Sola-Rah.
Polytechs - Vir-gin-ia.
Rae, Ri, V.P.I.

Later, the phrase "Team! Team! Team!" was added at the end, and an "e" was added to "Hoki."

Stull later said that he made up the word as an attention-grabber. Though he may not have known it, "Hokie" (in its various forms) has been around at least since 1842. According to Johann Norstedt, now a retired Virginia Tech English professor, "[Hokie was] a word that people used to express feeling, approval, excitement, surprise. Hokie, then, is a word like 'hooray,' or 'yeah,' or 'rah.'" Whatever its original meaning, the word in the popular cheer did, as Stull wanted, grab attention and has been a part of Virginia Tech tradition ever since.

russell said...

Writerfella here --
Now, writerfella is in his undergraduate escort's car and he is using this marvelous Dell laptop with a tiny aerial and a connection to the cigarette lighter of the Ford Taurus. Gotta get him one of these! Okay, if the Hokie thing only is a cheer, then why is their mascot always dressed as a miner, complete with pick-axe? Almost like one of the Molly Maguires? Explanations welcome, as Va. Tech played Oklahoma University in football in a non-conference game back in the late 1990s and writerfella attended that game...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

I don't know what you're thinking of, but here's the scoop on Virginia Tech's mascot:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hokie_Bird

The Hokie Bird is the official mascot of Virginia Tech. It is an imaginary, turkey-like bird that more closely resembles a "maroon cardinal with a snood." Contrary to popular misinformation, the term "Hokie" does not refer to a castrated turkey. This false definition was circulated widely by unknown sources long after the original Hokie bird mascot was born.