Mascot Memorabilia Mayhem
The bright orange wall and the large, orange Oregon State Beavers jersey (number nine) are what first hit you when you walk into Meridith and Shon Pyle's, for lack of a better description, Beaver Room. But then your eyes glance around the room, and you start to see the black and orange blankets, the Beaver lamps, the black and orange pompoms that peek out from between footballs and baseballs and basketballs.
The Beaver martini shaker, the posters, the pint glasses--it all seems fair game for any big fans of a sports team. But then there are the oddities in the Pyle's collection. A black and orange fuzzy scarf is draped over a mounted deer head in the corner. A Beaver-theme Mr. Potato Head sits on the bar.
The oddest? Oregon State Beaver chapstick.
"Mmmm," Meridith Pyle says as she tries it for the time. "Tastes like Banana Boat."
Chapstick--now that was something we had never seen before. And we've frequented a fair amount of campus bookstores. I wouldn't go so far as to say we've seen it all when it comes to plastering a mascot and a team name on an object and selling it--but seeing a wooden carving of an Air Force falcon, school-fight-song-singing bottle openers, mascot-themed salsas, mascot golf club cover-ers and too many other items to name--kind of makes you want to say that you've seen it all.
There's something about the type of merchandise that carries a mascot or school colors. Each trip to a new college town tests the limits of taste and corniness (an Idaho potato with the Boise State emblem was a little over the top) and just how loyal one is to a team--I love the Wisconsin Badgers, but I'm not sure I want "On Wisconsin" tinkling away as I grab toilet paper.
Certain mascots lend themselves to being slapped on everything from pants to shorts to underwear to shot glasses to calendars (we saw the 'Ladies of UW' calendar at the University of Washington. I think some of the models were wearing T-shirts with the husky on it. Connor was just looking at it for the articles). And certain ones are more marketable than others. I couldn't get enough of Sparky at Arizona State, Connor loved Arizona's red, white and blue colors and the block 'A,' and we both agreed that nothing in the University of Oregon store could satisfy our hunt for the duck.
But we've had to limit ourselves. Me, I'm sticking to shot glasses--despite getting asked every where I go whether I need it wrapped or I plan to use it right away--and Connor to T-shirts (he got too many baseball hats).
Where are the limits for the avid collector?
"Oh, there are some things we won't buy," Meridith Pyle assures us. She never goes into details as to what exactly her and her husband's boundaries are. But there are some, somewhere.