There’s only room for one mascot on campus, and after a long struggle, the Eastern Eagle has hung up his wings to make room for the new and improved mascot: an actual bald eagle.
Eastern Athletics decided to make the switch after they noticed the original mascot was beginning to molt. “It got to the point where players were slipping on his feathers and fouling unintentionally,” said Matt Nadelhoffer, head coach of the men’s basketball team. “We knew he had to go – and fast.”
Fortunately, at the same time, the Philadelphia Zoo was looking to get rid of one of its bald eagles. Nicknamed “Pecky” by the staff, the bald eagle had bitten and/or scratched all of the employees within the first week of its arrival at the zoo.
“We just can’t handle him,” zookeeper Leo Tamer said. “Frankly, he’s a dangerous bird, and I don’t know if he’s fit to live anywhere besides the wild.”
However, when Nadelhoffer first met Pecky, he knew instantly that he would be the perfect mascot for Eastern. “He has a lot of fighting spirit,” Nadelhoffer said. “All of that screeching and clawing is just his way of going for the win, which is exactly how we like to play the game.”
The members of the men’s basketball team also approve of the new mascot. “Pecky is a pretty cool bird,” senior Dave Christenson said. “When he soars over the gym, I just get so pumped, and all I want to do is fly over the Grand Canyon.”
“Our new mascot really encourages the team to play to its utmost,” said Ryan Livingston, associate athletic director and associate head men’s basketball coach. “All he does is sit on his perch in the bleachers and cry, but when those squawks echo in the gym, it just sends shivers up your spine.”
Pecky is still undergoing training for his big debut in winter 2011, but fans are already talking about the new mascot.
“I can’t wait to see him dive-bomb the referee,” first-year Avian Starling said. “He’ll be allowed to do that, right? I mean, if the ref makes a bad call, Pecky should definitely go after him; it will serve him right.”
And what does the former Eastern Eagle have to say about his replacement? “He’s okay,” he said with a shrug. “He smells like fish, though. I never smelled like fish. Just saying.”