Eastern Washington University’s Academic Senate passed a recommendation this week that I become the “official mascot” of the EWU marching band.
I couldn’t be more stunned.
This is the first time the word “academic” has ever been linked to my name without being immediately followed by the word “probation.”
But it’s no joke, according to Allan Scholz, an academic senator.
“This action was taken,” wrote Scholz in an email to me, “because of the warm regard, genuine affection and sincere appreciation that the faculty of your alma mater hold for you.”
This sentiment sure beats the advice a grumpy reader sent me recently.
“Nothing else to write about?” he carped. “Retire.”
Hmm. If I do this band mascot thing, it could fill up some of the days of my dotage.
And I am an unabashed booster of the Eastern band.
A former EWU trumpeter back in the day, I got to relive some of my youthful tooting when the football team made a run through the 2010 playoffs all the way to Frisco, Texas, where the Eagles captured their first national championship.
Looks like we’re traveling that glory road again.
Last Saturday, I accepted an invitation from Patrick Winters, the director of bands, to bring my old cornet to the playoff against South Dakota State.
The weather was freakishly freezing. All the trumpet valves seized up worse than my stiff and creaking knees.
We had to ditch our horns, etc., in the balmy confines of the basketball complex. Then the band – sans instruments – spent the game on the south bleachers of the football field, celebrating home touchdowns by singing and humming the fight song.
I left some brain cells on the scarlet iceberg of Roos Field.
After hurrying home to write, I closed my Sunday column by saying that I wasn’t sure if I’d be “unthawed” in time to make this Saturday’s game against Jacksonville State.
“Dear Doug,” a reader corrected in an email. “Don’t you know by now that there is no such word as ‘unthawed’ ???
“That would be frozen.”
In my defense, however, confusion is one of the telltale signs of hyperthermia. Or is it hypothermia?
Lord, I’m still confused.
Anyway, a salient detail must be worked out before this Academic Senate proposal thing gets out of hand.
And by detail I mean the very word, “mascot.”
It needs to be redefined much the way President Barack Obama is trying to redefine that big whopper he told over and over about health care.
You know, the one about how you can keep your plan and keep your doctor.
Swoop, the comical Eagle who jumps and jives at football games, is the textbook definition of a mascot.
I don’t know who currently lives inside Swoop these days, but dude’s got crazy talent.
He makes his character come alive and in a thoroughly entertaining way. Swoop also break dances like a fiend, which can’t be easy in full costume.
If there’s a mascot Hall of Fame, Swoop has my vote.
Swoop can even be booked for personal appearances as long as you adhere to all of the rules spelled out in his lengthy contract.
Example: “Swoop shall not be permitted to appear at events that may be reasonably constructed as advancing a political agenda, religion, or personal business interests.”
What a diva.
Considering all this, there’s no way my band mascot – Swoop Doug, say – could ever live up to what Swoop has going on.
Take this Saturday’s game, for example.
Swoop will be there with bells on. I’d bet the farm on it.
Swoop Doug’s availability, alas, is already in doubt.
“But Saturday is when we were going to get our Christmas tree,” said my lovely wife, Sherry. “Don’t you remember?”
Um. Uhhh …
“Sure I did, honey. I definitely did remember.”
On the plus side, when I do show up, my mascot contract isn’t very demanding:
“Swoop Doug likes donuts.”