This first appeared in my college’s newspaper in 2011. In honor of my senior year, which starts on Monday, I’m posting it on the internet for the first time. It’s about our mascot, so it’s particularly relevant to those from my school, Geneva College. Still, I think a general audience will appreciate it, as long as they know that our mascot looks like this:
What does the word “mascot” bring to mind? Perhaps you think of the Old Spice Man or that one bunny who never gets his breakfast cereal. Maybe you just think of a bed used for Roman Catholic liturgy. But here at Geneva, our hearts have been captured by one anthropomorphic atmospheric event : Turbo the Golden Tornado.
Turbo hasn’t always been at Geneva, however. His life is as turbulent as he is, though perhaps a bit less twisted.
The twister grew up on a small farm in rural Pennsylvania. “I knew I wanted to work in Public Relations ever since I was a mere dustdevil,” Turbo said in an interview, “My parents originally wanted me to go into the family business of destroying trailer parks, but they’ve been very supportive of my decision.”
Turbo’s golden tint is natural, a point on which he is mildly defensive. “I’ve always been an albino tornado,” he concedes, “But at least gold is a classy color. If I were red, I’d probably be working as a ketchup company’s mascot right now.”
Turbo’s employment history is undeniably colorful. Subsequent to a short stint at a twisty-tie company (Motto: “Twisters love twisting our ties!”), Turbo worked a minimum-wage job as a wind farm inspector. Upon hearing of Geneva’s mascot position, newly opened after Geneva’s decision to remove the previous team name, the “Geneva Covenanters,” he headed to his audition. It consisted of walking around, waving at crowds, and swaying on occasion.
Despite tough competition from rivals Stinky the Stinkbug, Nutty the Crazed Squirrel, and Smiley the Metaphysical Christian Worldview, Turbo pushed ahead in the finals through his sheer energetic friendliness. He got the job, partially facilitated by the coincidental historical fact that Old Main’s gold-colored roof was torn off in 1916.
Turbo has been Geneva’s mascot for decades, and is proud of his niche in the mascot community. The number of weather-based mascots is small, and only one of them, Willy the water drop, of El Paso Water Utility fame, was available for comment. He was quoted to say, “Yeah, he’s an okay guy, I guess.”
Non-weather-based mascots declined an interview, aside from one tiger who praised Turbo as being “grrreat” [sic].
In his years as the College mascot, Turbo has endured criticism from students. “He really looks like a big upside-down golden poop,” one randomly-interviewed student, who declined to be named, commented. Another compared him to a chunk of cheese.
Turbo accepts these insults with a Zen-like air of peace. As the screaming crowds at Geneva’s football games make clear, the large majority of the college community is just fine with a destructive natural phenomenon as a mascot.