In defense of the defender

Sam Landstra—Staff Writer

Photo Credit: Dordt University Marketing and Communication Department

Oh, shut up.

I’ve seen a lot of things from my front porch. I’ve heard every square inch of criticism levied at this university. I’ve even called the college out myself, too.

The buck stops here, though. This is malarkey. It’s beyond it, actually, and you’ve provoked these bones to rise from their rocking chair and scream nonsense at you darn kids.

The criticism of Dash the Defender has got to be the lowest form of criticism of all time. I mean, really. It’s a conductor at Julliard assessing the trumpet solo of a fourth grader. The brat picked up the instrument five days ago, and you’re penalizing the kid for an overly rushed crescendo. It’s discounting Peppa Pig for the show’s failure to comment on race relations. That is, it’s not the point.

I’ve heard it all.

“We don’t need a mascot, it’s idol worship.”

“Those size twenty-eight stompers make me insecure about my bodily proportions.”

“It’s a waste of our tuition dollars.”

“If predestination applied to mascots, Dash the Defender would go straight to hell.”

Listen here, twenty-somethings. Your opinion doesn’t make you special and your criticism isn’t God’s gift to the neighborhood. And, at this point, I’m worried you’ll hurt the little guy’s feelings.

The mascot is for kids. I’ll say it again because I didn’t think you were paying attention. The mascot is for kids. It’s not for you. It’s for children who don’t care if the overly plush knight looks like the Michelin man with a helmet.

This university does not exist for the sole purpose of your agreement with it. It’s alright, take a deep breath. The marketing team does not open and close their meetings with talk about you. They probably don’t even know your name, and that’s going to be okay. 

I’ve been around the block enough times to know how this story goes. The university does something, anything, and the students dislike it. They hate everything about it. Then, the students graduate, the thing or decision in question does not, and the university wins. 

Whether you are a freshman or a senior, your collegiate life expectancy at this institution is capped at four years. At the end of eight semesters, you will die. The object of your criticism will not. That is, Dash the Defender is eternal. His oversized gloves will shake the hands of basketball recruits for the rest of time. The critique of the mascot is no more profitable than Sisyphus’ task of toiling a rock up a hill.

When you complain about Dash, his name, or the general feeling of doom you experience when peering into the black void of his visor, you’re the dad at his two-year-old’s birthday party who tells the kiddies that the magician is a high school dropout who drives a beat-up Jetta with a spoiler plate. It sort of ruins the cake and presents for everyone.

So, shove it. Let the kids eat their cake.

The newest addition to the university’s iconography isn’t for you, and you’ll graduate in seven months. 

I’ve got back pain medication to take.

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