School spirit: an abstract American concept that can best be translated as a sense of belonging between the students of a school or university. School spirit is huge in college sports in the United States. The feeling of connection is difficult to describe in words. It is something you feel best when you are a student at an American university. Most college mascots like the UCLA Bruins and Florida Gators play a huge part in shaping that sense of brotherhood and belonging. But that’s not all they are good for. Mascots are also used to terrify opponents. However, that does not always work. Some mascots are not scary at all. The mascots below are nothing short of bizarre:

1. The Boll Weevil – University of Arkansas

A cotton weevil… Well. There are plenty of boys and girls who don’t voluntarily pick up a cotton weevil with their hands. But as a mascot, it doesn’t seem as scary to us as a bulldog or an eagle. Not very threatening, but original.

2. The Purple Cow – Williams College

A purple cow reminds us of Milka chocolate, but in America it is really a college mascot. Williams College in the state of Massachusetts chose this mascot in the year 1906. They called the cow Ephelia. On the field they don’t shout “Let’s go purple cows,” but “Let’s go Ephs.” That sounds a bit better.

3. Sammy the Banana Slug – University of California

We don’t know how the University of California, Santa Cruz, came up with this. On the college logo, Sammy is wearing glasses and reading a book by Plato, which is generally not considered cool or terrifying. But everyone loves him, and the UCSC sports teams are getting good results.

4. Saint Louis Billiken – University of Saint Louis

50 percent fairy and 50 percent bat. 100 percent bizarre. This Saint Louis University mascot can be seen on and along the university’s sports fields. Nobody knows exactly when the Billiken was officially chosen as a mascot, but they do know what the creature stands for: good luck.

5. Artie the fighting Artichoke – Scottsdale Community College

Round, green and big cartoon eyes. What can it be? Of course, Artie the Fighting Artichoke. The ‘fighting artichoke’ has not just been named as the mascot of Scottsdale Community College. In the 1970s, Scottsdale students were dissatisfied with the university administration. They felt that the board awarded too many sports grants instead of academic grants. To give the board a shake, the students chose Artie as their mascot. Yet 50 years later, Artie is still the mascot, and he is certainly loved!

6. Speedy the Geoduck – Evergreen State College 

I see I see what you don’t see, and it looks like an alien, a Pokémon, and a shellfish all combined. It’s the Geoduck, Evergreen State College’s mascot. Nobody knows exactly what it is. It is not clear whether it scares opponents, it rather makes them uncomfortable. Regardless of the purpose of the mascot’s design, the university has managed to stand out!

7. Herbie Husker – University of Nebraska

Herby Husker, together with his little mascot brother ‘Lil’ Red ‘, represents the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. With his red work shirt, cowboy hat and jeans, Herby represents not only the university sports teams but also the farmers of the state of Nebraska, where agriculture is the largest source of income. With his big eyes, chubby cheeks and sweet smile, Herby looks more like a Disney character than a normal college mascot.

8. WuShock – Wichita State University

“WuShock is a big, bad, muscle-bound bundle of wheat (wheat). He’s been WSU’s mascot since 1948, a friend to every Shocker fan and the No. 1 supporter of all things Wichita and Wichita State. ” This is how the university describes their mascot itself. Do we need to tell you more? We don’t think so. We don’t really have words for it either.

9. Izzy the Islander – Texas A&M University

At Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi, it’s not just the cheerleaders dancing in the stadiums. Also the mascot Izzy the Islander in his Hawaiian robe, can do something. He certainly creates a good atmosphere, and that is of course what mascots are for. Read here how Izzy the Islander was chosen as the mascot of the Texas A&M Islanders.

10. The Troll – Trinity Christian University

And last but not least: The Troll from Christian Trinity College. The figure looks like a mix of Shrek, Obelix and Hulk, but really should bring the students of the university together and scare the opponents. It is by no means the prettiest, but the students at Christian Trinity proudly represent ‘Troll Nation.’