High School Sports

Mississippi's 'strangest' mascot hails from the Coast

MSN/Scout.com recently proclaimed what we all already know -- South Mississippi is home to the state's strangest mascot.

The website posted a listicle Wednesday, awarding a "strangest mascot" for all 50 states. Mississippi's is ... (drum roll) ...  the "Rockachaws" of St. Stanislaus.

According to SSC's website, the "small but fierce" mascot comes from an old Choctaw word meaning "devil grass" and refers to the pesky sand burrs. Here's how the mascot name came to be: 

“In 1916 the newly organized St. Stanislaus varsity football team became known as the Rock-A-Chaws. Credit for coining the title belongs to Br. Macarius Pierce, St. Stanislaus principal, who organized a Rooters Club in 1916 to cheer for the team. Within a few years, the name Rock-A-Chaws was used for all St. Stanislaus athletes, and the Rock-A-Chaw became the school mascot.

For years, College students conscientiously removed the cockleburs from their playing fields where the prolific prickly weeds sprung up naturally in the sandy soil that was ideal for them. Sometimes St. Stanislaus students dragged woolen blankets across the fields before a game to pick up the Rock-A-Chaws that stuck with their small sharp spikes.”

 And now you know the rest of the Rockachaws' story. But there's more! Below is a poem, penned by Pierce in 1916, called "Ode to the Rock-A-Chaws":

“There’s a favored spot with a golden shore

Where the waves splash music forevermore.

The creeping grass enamels with green

The banks of that shore with its brightest sheen.

The breezes that blow from the Southern clime

Waft through the oaks with a softened rime.

The tempting cool green invites you to pause

But alas, you will feel the sharp Rock-A-Chaws.

What are they? ‘Tis my task to tell—

They’ve got the meanness of the devils from hell.

They’re the most consistent, persistent pest,

That puts a man’s patience to the test.

They lie in wait with a fiendish glee

For the innocent hand or foot or knee.

And they stick with an affection denying all laws,

The rancorous, cantankerous Rock-A-Chaws.

In this favored spot stands a College grand

Famed for its athletes throughout the land.

Its football squad is a husky bunch

With brawn and brains–I have a hunch.

And casting around for a name to present

The qualities which to their enemies meant.

Confusion, disaster, and horrid death’s jaws,

They hit on a name of “The Rock-A-Chaws.”

So, what are some of the stranger mascots from other states?