This week, Mascot Mayhem makes its first trip to the great American Southwest. Scottsdale is one of several Phoenix suburbs, and also the host of this week’s crazy mascot. What good timing that we turn our focus towards Arizona, because College Visits will be travelling to Tempe in a few short weeks for the Arizona State-Washington State game on November 17. Until then, let’s focus on a somewhat less known school of higher learning, Scottsdale Community College, and its remarkable mascot, the Fighting Artichoke.
First of all, Scottsdale Community College is not actually in Scottsdale, but instead a small town just outside the city called Salt River. This town is located on the tribal lands of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, and so is the campus of the community college. Also located on tribal land are the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the first MLB Spring training facility to be built on Indian land, and the Spring home of the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks. If you should ever find yourself on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community tribal lands, I doubt there’s anything better to do than see the campus and baseball fields. Oh, unless you like gambling, in which case you can do so at two different Casino Arizonas.
Scottsdale Community College was founded in 1969, and opened doors at its present location a year later with nearly 1000 students. This is a true community college, and today attracts more than 10,000 students for a two year beginning to higher learning. Also attending SCC are nearly 3,000 non credit-earning students who take special interest classes purely for education without working towards a degree. I wish there was something interesting to say about SCC, but I just can’t find anything. Um, the school’s web site has a page that only displays the current on-campus weather? It’s RIVETING.
There is one cool thing about SCC, and that is it’s mascot. The Fighting Artichoke was chosen by the students as a protest to the school’s perceived favoritism to the football team. Apparently, some nerds felt like the school was putting too much money into the athletics programs and not enough into the remedial level academics, so when given the chance to choose a mascot, students chose the Fighting Artichoke to embarrass the school and its athletes. Even after years of athlete-on-nerd abuse, the mascot won out and has since been embraced by SCC students, faculty and alumni.
The SCC Fighting Artichoke is not our first vegetable in the Mascot Mayhem series, having previously featured the Delta State University Fighting Okra (why must all vegetable mascots be fighting?). An artichoke one of the worlds largest species of thistles, and some insane people actually use it for more than just flavor in a spinach and cream cheese dip. The United States ranks eighth in global artichoke production, WAY below Italy where young men pay a bride price of 1000 artichokes to the maiden’s father before the wedding (fact not researched). Almost all of our country’s artichokes are grown in California, 80% in Castroville, which means “The Artichoke Center of the World” in Tagalog. There’s still time to make plans to attend the 2013 Castroville Artichoke Festival on May 18th and 19th. If anyone wants to share a hotel room, please contact me soon as I understand they’re almost all booked.
I know most of my readers come for the vegetable facts, but I wanted to end this story with a few words on SCC athletics. Surprisingly, SCC has football. I believe it’s the first Mascot Mayhem school that’s able to say that. Not surprisingly, they suck, losing games this season to weaklings Snow College, Mesa Community College, and New Mexico Military Institute, and now sits at 4-4. And, as everyone knows, you can’t play .500 ball in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference and expect to make a BCS bowl. Fortunately, SCC and Saturday Night Live alums David Spade and Bill Hader both have a good sense of humor. I assume they need it to cheer on the Scottsdale Community College Fighting Artichokes.