What the heck is a Jayhawk?
I investigated this silly nickname in my quest to present here a comprehensive analysis of Bradley's upcoming game against the University of Kansas.
Mind you, I won't trifle with breakdowns of athletes or game strategy. That's not necessary, as Bradley surely will win.
How do I know this? Bradley always beats Kansas.
Granted, they've played only once, way back in 1950. But that game also was in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Bradley not only won but went on to the championship.
That's what you call a half-century's worth of momentum. BU's on a roll, baby!
With that all settled, let's get back to this Jayhawk nonsense.
The term arose from settlers from Illinois (ironical, ain't it?). Its origin isn't clear, but "jayhawk" came to refer to ruffians with the habit of robbing, looting, and general lawlessness.
Charming, eh? The perfect team logo would feature a whiskey-sodden cattle-rustler swinging from a noose. Then again, such imagery might not engender much in the way of alumni donations.
Instead, the school mascot is a goofy-grinned, color-streaked bird - one that could star in an animated movie, "Heckle and Jeckle Visit Brokeback Mountain."
The school's Web page says the jayhawk is a fearsome combo of two birds: "The blue jay, a noisy, quarrelsome thing known to rob other nests, and the sparrow hawk, a stealthy hunter. The message here: Don't turn your back on this bird."
Scared to death, I checked out these species a little further. The blue jay, indeed, is known for attacking other birds' nests - to nibble eggs. Possible slogan: "Look out for us Jayhawks - we suck eggs!"
- 6Sports video: Jayhawks land in Detroit for NCAA Tourney
- Hurry up and wait
- Bradley feeling little heat
- Keegan: If Rush heats up, look out
- KU merchandise goes on the road
- Fans' good fortune comes at bad time
- Commentary: Apparently, Jayhawks babble and suck
- KU tournament notebook
- Let's Dance: 2006 NCAA Tournament special section
- More about the 2006 NCAA Tournament
Then again, a Cornell University study showed that just one percent of blue jays eat eggs. Instead, they eat bugs. Wow. They can outmuscle a cricket.
As for sparrow hawks, they live in less-than-majestic perches: the tops of telephone poles. As for being "stealthy hunters," they boast the uncanny ability to outwit and snatch the likes of worms. As birds of prey, they're bug-eaters.
If you watch the game Friday, you'll hear the Jayhawk fight song, known as the Rock Chalk chant. I won't bore you with the history of this droning babble, which essentially pays homage to the most exciting thing on campus: a big chunk of limestone (hey, it's Kansas).
The school calls the tune "world famous," but I don't get it. The song sounds like monks either chanting in prayer or moaning from torture. If I had a hound dog that wailed so miserably, I'd shoot it.
Still, KU alumni are rabid about the school, especially its environs of Lawrence. I took a peek at Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, to get a glimpse at the town's heritage.
Apparently, Lawrence's most famous son is Hugh Beaumont, aka Ward Cleaver from "Leave It to Beaver." Impressive, eh?
How much did Hugh Beaumont love Lawrence? As soon as he got out of high school, he blew right out of town and went to a far more cosmopolitan hamlet: Chattanooga, Tenn.
He couldn't be persuaded to go to KU, even with its mystique of the Jayhawk. That's what happens when your school mascot is an egg-
sucking bug-eater that sings like a dying monk.
That's pathetic. In a fight with Bradley's mascot, the Jayhawk would get creamed.
(Note to KU: Bradley has no mascot. That's the point).