A New(ish) Gold Standard

By Nate Sanchez

Senior Sports Writer

The opinion expressed in this article are mine and mine alone. They are in no way reflective of The Runner, its staff or any of the editors thereof.

Last week, I pointed out the issues I found in the Roadrunners’ new marketing campaign. This week is for the opposite. Let’s find some solutions!

If for any reason you didn’t read last week’s column, here’s what went down. “The New Gold Standard” is out. “We’re all Runners” is in.

First order of business is to rid ourselves of the hand symbol. I can’t be the only one who thinks it looks like a gang sign, right? Something about a group of young people in coordinating colors “throwing up” the roadrunner just seems off. It looks silly.

The second and most important aspect of my view on this situation is the community’s emotional investment. Interim Athletic Director Kenneth Seigfried stressed this at the unveiling in July. I’m all for that. I’d love to see the stands filled at my soon-to-be alma mater. Here’s  how.

Get the fans involved in the process. Celebrate them. Let one of them design the new basketball court. For pete’s sake, we have a guy in a yellow body suit and a blue wig LOSING HIS MIND when he hears “I’m Sexy and I Know It.”  If you want people who are emotionally invested in CSUB sports, look for more guys like that.

Imagine the feeling of school pride filling the heart of the student-artist who needed one big job to jump into the mainstream. That kid is going to invite everyone he knows to see his work, and they’ll keep coming. The current state of the court is 1) blue and 2) designed by a firm in New Jersey. Let’s get one of our own involved.

While we’re here on the notion of emotions, placing a hashtag saying we’re #allrunners doesn’t immediately claim the hearts of Bakersfield sports fans. I can say #everyonelivinginEnglandlovesreadingNatescolumn, but that doesn’t make it so. Bakersfield College has nearly twice the student population as we do and it has a long-standing football program. People around here like football, and they build tradition around it. We don’t have that… yet.

Just because we’re in Bakersfield doesn’t make us all Roadrunner fans. I don’t love the Los Angeles Dodgers because I’m geographically obligated to do so. It’s because of all the great memories I’ve made with my dad and brother at games. I’ve covered CSUB sports for two years now. I already see that happening at Hardt Field and the Icardo Center. We’ve got the fanbase, it just needs time to grow. We can’t rush or force that.

Sports in Bakersfield are much more than something to do on a Friday night. It’s a culture. If you build it, trust me; they will come.

Finally, the Roadrunners need to go. Just for clarification, I don’t mean that students and faculty should pick up all their belongings and hit the road.  I mean we need a new mascot.

Before you call for me to be burned at the stake for speaking heresy against the great gold bird, hear me out. CSUB is a Division I school in an actual athletic conference. Division I schools have Division I mascots. If we want to be an intimidating force in our newfound conference, we have to look like it.

We’re trying to stand out in a field of standouts. There’s another school with a Roadrunner as a mascot. We’re already behind. Former WAC opponent and current Conference USA member University of Texas, San Antonio also employs a roadrunner named Rowdy as its mascot.

When I think of a roadrunner, I think of a small, defenseless and flightless bird speeding around eating bugs and being a jerk to hungry coyotes. Of all the birds in the Animal Kingdom, we chose the second-worst behind cockatoos.

Let’s be the Condors, if trademarks allow. The Bears. The Heat. The Kit Foxes. Take your pick.

I see Kit Foxes as a good alternative. They’re local, so there’s no betrayal of local nature or whatever. Beside the fact that they’re wild animals, I doubt they’re some sort of über-predator, so they’re safe to bring to games for promotions. They’re adorable, so they won’t scare the children with a hauntingly murderous scowl. They’re also everywhere. CSUB at night is crawling with them. If you ever see a skinny cat with big ears, it’s not a mutant. It should be your school’s mascot.