I did it. I found the perfect mascot.
Recently, a lot of local, regional, and even national media outlets have been running stories about the removal of Prospector Pete as Long Beach State’s mascot.
Not because they care about Prospector Pete, have anything original to say, or have a strong stance or solution, but because at its core, the Prospector Pete removal is about political correctness.
Here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter what side you’re on. Stories about “political correctness” get clicks. Hell, that’s the only reason I’m writing this story now.
But, unlike the generic “this is what’s happening…here are some possible alternative mascots we’ve been hearing” articles that really say nothing, I’m going to hit you with a hard stance and propose the only true mascot that makes sense.
Long Beach State’s new mascot is….the Chickens.
**Announcer Voice** And now put your hands together for yooouurrr Long Beach State Chickens!
Right up front, let’s acknowledge that it’s the only mascot that allows us to keep the true treasure of the Long Beach State campus—The (Chicken) Nugget Bar and Grill—”without offending anyone or changing the name. “The Nugget is a play on the whole “gold” theme that may completely go away with the elimination of the Prospector.
The disappearance of The Nugget would be a travesty. There are few traditions at Long Beach State that have continued through generations, like getting a little buzzed at The Nugget before a miserable Wednesday afternoon class. The “Chicken Nugget” has never offended anyone (except maybe The Big Mac). That alone makes it a front-runner. But there’s more.
Hear me out.
For those who oppose the “prospector” image and are truly trying to create a #NoBarriers, “everyone’s accepted” environment, why not give the chicken a shot? It’s certainly unique. It’s not the kind of animal you usually see as a mascot because it’s an underdog. It’s not a predator, it’s the prey. Let’s not just go replace a predatory human image with a predatory animal...let’s celebrate the non-violent!
Chickens are your humble, hardworking, lay-an-egg-a-day grinder that’s never gotten the glory. Chickens play by the rules, work hard, get dirty, and, until now, have never gotten any recognition.
Let’s do it Long Beach State, let’s step up and honor this marginalized animal. What’s more diverse than a chicken at the beach?
And what about those who say this whole Prospector Pete nonsense is a joke? Well, this mascot will make you happy too. Now, when someone asks you, “Why did Long Beach State change its mascot?” You can honestly answer, “Because we’re Chickens.” It’s perfect.
Best of all, we’ve been secretly branding ourselves as Chickens for a long time now.
Why do we schedule Homecoming basketball games against awful, Division 3 schools that my NJB team could beat? Because we’re Chickens!
Why does everyone at the university deflect the reasons for their mascot decisions to a higher power like “The almighty CSU system?” and nobody is taking ownership of the decisions? Because they’re true Chickens. Good school spirit starts from the top down, and our administration has already shown they’re fully on board. Long Beach State is full of Chickens!
We’ve even already started tampering with our logo to be more chicken-friendly by taking out the “A” from “BEACH” and replacing it with an upright chicken beak ^.
You can get mad at this article, or say it’s a joke, but honestly speaking now, embracing who we are is the best advice I could give. The best way to appease the “political correctness is a joke” contingent is to literally make it a joke. Steer into the skid, as they say.
If people are going to call you chickens for caving into a one small, but loud protest, then embrace it. Be the biggest, proudest, loudest chickens in the nation. March around in a circle, flap your wings, yell “bok bok bok,” and peck your way right into the national spotlight. Now that’s some Chicken shit!
Here are a few more solid reasons:
It follows in-line with the CSU system’s decree to not use humans as mascots.
It trounces the other front-running animal the “Long Beach State Sharks” (saying that makes me cringe) because, for starters, sharks are predators that violently kill other species already peacefully inhabiting the ocean (isn’t that the image we’re trying to get away from?)
AND unlike The Sharks, there is no other California sports team already using the mascot “Chickens.” You don’t have to be an avid hockey fan to know that if you live in Southern California you passionately HATE the San Jose Sharks.
The best part is the implementation. The deeper you think, the better this mascot gets. I can’t believe no one else has taken it yet. Let’s talk sponsorships.
On the corporate scene, Chick-Fil-A and KFC are both no-brainers. Even McDonald’s will likely want to offer some sort of six-game ticket package with a six-piece Chicken McNugget before each game. Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken just opened up in Long Beach, so they’re vulnerable to spending some advertising dollars if we make the change quickly.
Locally, chicken plays a big role in our community. Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles is world famous. A Bring-Your-Own-Syrup-Night at the Pyramid sounds awesome. Shenandoah’s Granny’s Fried Chicken is my favorite, and LBSU is seriously lacking in the granny market.
“Bring Your Grandma to a Game” could certainly be popular. Especially because millennials are closer to their grandparents than any other generation before. (Don’t fact check me on that, just nod your head and agree it sounds right.)
When visiting opponents come into the (food) pyramid, enthusiastic, heckling fans can call the opposing player “yogurt” and us educated nutritionists will slyly smile and know that’s a serious jab, seeing as the chicken is higher on the food pyramid than yogurt.
You want our mascot to bring grit to our sports programs? Nothing's grittier than a student section known as the “chicken coop.”
And finally, nearest and dearest to my heart, are the benefits it gives us in the media business. Announcers, writers, reporters…having the Long Beach State Chickens as a mascot is a goldmine (yikes, no correlation to the offensive, on-campus gym) for headlines, exclamations, and overall puns during sports.
**Basketball Announcers Voice** And that’s three in a row from deep for Jordan Griffin! Take this guy out of the oven, because this Chicken is officially hot!
**Track Announcers Voice** Long Beach State track takes home the 4x100 race. These Chickens can fly!
**Beach Volleyball Announcers Voice** Look at the breasts and thighs on this year’s Chickens!!
…okay maybe not that one.
**Soccer Announcers Voice** Two defenders around Ashley Gonzalez make a Chicken sandwich, but she must be gluten-free because she ditches the bread and scores!!! Goal!!!!
**Newspaper headline** Chickens Lay Egg in Loss to Northridge.
The list goes on, and I’m really looking forward to these puns. I don’t want to use them all up before we change the name, but when we do…
So in conclusion, let’s make headlines and honor an often marginalized animal that is a key ingredient to America’s diet, and let’s try to please everyone. That’s the Chicken Way!
Sweet, sour, ranch, barbecue, mayonnaise, mustard, pesto, chicken goes well with everything. It’s even the one meat vegetarians unanimously agree they will sometimes eat. (Don’t fact check me on that just nod your head and agree it sounds right.)
And so, the perfect mascot is out there.
Too scared to make the change Jane Conoley? You’re already proving my point. Don’t fight it. Embrace your inner Long Beach State Chicken.