Today I went on a Social Media roller coaster ride. First, the blogger Casual Hoya reported that Georgetown’s beloved mascots were gone and not returning. That is, the dogs Jack the Bulldog, the senior retired regal mascot who has been a stalwart at basketball games and other sporting events over the past decade, and beautiful puppy turning into young adult, Jack Junior aka JJ, who was in the process of assuming Jack Senior’s official mascot duties. Then I read The Hoya’s account, Georgetown’s oldest on campus weekly newspaper, which appeared to confirm this story and the fact that all were surprised at this sudden development.
My first feeling was sadness and a pit in my stomach. For transparency, I’m a double Hoya and a dog lover, so that accounts for part of it, and the fact that I was able to spend some time getting to know JJ, and Jack, this past year. However, I think the “pit in the stomach” feeling runs deeper and goes to the importance of a mascot to a school, to a longstanding and rich tradition at a University that thrives on tradition. I know I’m not the only one because within minutes of learning about this development, there were posts and tweets by fans, students and alumni everywhere, in shock and disbelief, thinking this must be a cruel joke but no.
Then the Official Statement from the University was released, confirming this sudden and unusual development. My first thought was for the health of the dogs, both Jack and JJ. The official statement maintains that after 15 months on campus it has been determined by experts that JJ will do better in a “home environment”. Jack will remain on campus and that the bulldog tradition is important to the University. Clearly, if that is true, we want JJ to do well in the best environment. However, given my good fortune of spending some time with JJ this past year, he seemed like a very well adjusted and happy pup and very much at home on campus. In fact, I can think of few homes that could beat JJ’s now former home.
What does this all say to me? Never underestimate the importance of a live mascot to a University. He or she becomes like a family member to all in the community–faculty, staff, students, alumni, fans. I can only hope that JJ goes to a place that is truly better for him because the alternative is too hard to bear for this alum and fan.
Who fires a Puppy anyway?