Great American Mascot Hunt: Illinois
In an effort to educate and enlighten our readership and kill some time during this torturous pre-spring-practices offseason, The House Rock Built is loading up the Winnebago and going on a coast-to-coast mascot-hunting expedition. With each pit stop, we'll scour the cityscapes and desolate farmland for the most amusingly-bemonikered football teams and hopefully blow past the border before the cops get us. The rules are pretty simple: any organized football team is eligible, provided they have a zany, off-beat, or (preferably) dirty nickname. The schools can come from the college ranks, the high school level, or even any of the numerous semi-pro and big-league squads.
If any of you readers happen to hail from any of the towns mentioned or, better yet, are a proud alumnus, please shoot an e-mail to HRB and share any stories or wisdom about the mascot, and feel free to drop a line in the comments as well. Also, if you have suggestions for schools to add to the national tour, send them on over.
Today we salute Illinois, a proud and genteel state situated in America's Heartland. Illinois is a land of great diversity: a jaunt across this state could start in The House Rock Built's chief editorial suite in the Wrigleyville neighborhood of Chicago, where the constant flow of alcohol into yuppies and tourists is periodically interrupted by the deafening ruminations of prostitutes assailing their respective pimps and the overpowering stench of a seemingly endless river of bum urine. But take the Wagon Queen Family Truckster an hour or two down the interstate and you'll find sprawling corn fields dotted with whitebread, shotgun-wielding rednecks and their overdeveloped jailbait farmgirl daughters.
A state of such diversity has an appropriately diverse catalog of obscure football mascots, although many of them seem to revolve around Illinoisians' contentious relationship with livestock and produce. Our first stop is in the sleepy hamlet of Hoopeston, located conveniently between nowhere and butt-lovin' Egypt.
Well, you've been good to us, Illinois. But those sirens in the rear-view are telling us it's high time to find a new state to spread our madness. Tips and suggestions are welcome for our next stop. Who knows, it could be your home town! And if it is, we might need to crash on your couch until the heat dies down.