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Pirate mascots offensive too

Letter to the Editor | Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I would like to voice my opinion on the ongoing debate that has raged amongst different factions at Our Lady’s University regarding the name of our sporting teams. I tend to agree with Paul Richards, Sinead Howley, et. al in the attack on our mascot. This issue is very important to me, for being a sports fan I, too, am under constant assault of an unfortunate depiction of my people’s history. My father, you see, was a “pirate.”

Buccaneering has a long and rich history in the Bochnowski family. The ugly word “pirate,” however, harkens back to days when men with scurvy leaped from boat to boat, pillaging and generally raising a ruckus. While there certainly is swashbuckling involved in the life of a buccaneer, this archaic word is clearly associated with the negative aspects of the occupation.

Let me tell you, every day on the playground was terrible on the psyche of a young boy. “Let’s see your parrot!” some kids would say. “Where’s your eyepatch?” others would sing.

Indeed in this day and age, pirates are forced into the main profession of their ilk – the service industry. Unfortunately, this industry is almost completely reliant on tourists, mostly Americans, who have no idea what real pirates are like. Therefore pirate movies and rides perpetuate an image of the drunken, makeup-wearing, pillaging sort. While there is drinking, there is very limited pillaging. And there is absolutely no makeup.

Myles Brand recently stated that, “The NCAA objects to institutions using racial/ethnic/national origin references in their intercollegiate athletics programs.” If this is true, we must take it one step further. We must get rid of every mascot that can possibly offend anyone.

I personally find Seton Hall’s mascot offensive. But we cannot possibly stop there. My friend Bobby’s father works at a ranch – change Oklahoma State’s mascot! My friend Megan’s second cousin was mauled by a mountain lion – I say for her sake change Penn State’s mascot.

Stop the madness. We wouldn’t want to offend anyone.

Jim BochnowskisophomoreFisher HallMarch 27