Wednesday, August 25, 2010

know your local mascots.

Everyone knows the Lobos. Or, at least, everyone in Albuquerque does. (Maybe everyone in New Mexico?) But after that, it's hard to think of a truly state-wide mascot. Most of the people in both Albuquerque and Las Cruces know that the New Mexico State Aggies ride horses. But does the intra-state rivalry extend up to the northern corners? CNM apparently has Sol the Suncat - very cool-looking, but tremendously underexposed. There are the Western New Mexico Mustangs and the New Mexico Highlands University Cowboys but I didn't know either of those off-hand. (No offense intended, smaller-than-Albuquerque towns; it's not like I'm speaking from a high horse here.) Eastern New Mexico apparently competes in the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference and has two different nicknames for their men's and women's teams: Greyhounds for the fellas and Zias for the ladies.

That's just the big colleges. I've skipped over the smaller colleges, as well as the plethora of high schools that compete at a high level, but we have to talk about the Isotopes! Once the Duke City Dukes, the Isotopes now fully embrace their Simpsons heritage with the new statues in the park.

Both the New Mexico Thunderbirds and the New Mexico Scorpions used to belong exclusively to Albuquerque, but the dismay at playing every home game at Tingley Colleseum drove both teams to seek a new venue and, consequently, a new name. The Thunderbirds now play in the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, but the Scorpions have suspended their operations, as of about a year ago. Recently, the New Mexico Mustangs (no relation to the Western New Mexico university) started playing at the Santa Ana Star Center. Here's to hoping they'll fare better than the Scorpions. It's worth noting that the Mustangs have their own minor-league feeder team in Rio Rancho, as well, with the Renegades playing at Blades Multiplex Arena.

As mentioned earlier, with the major sports leagues in their annual lull, and the school term about to start up again, now's the perfect time to get out and root for some other kind of local team. Show your support for the city, as well as the people who try to represent it.

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