Have you ever wondered where your favorite NFL superstars went to college? Did they attend a big division 1 school, or maybe they went to a smaller school where they didn’t receive the recognition they deserve? Have you ever thought of what major they attempted? Let’s take a closer look at a few of your favorite NFL stars.
Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers QB
College: University of California
Major: American Studies
Tim Tebow – New York Jets QB
College: University of Florida
Major: Family, Youth, and Communities Sciences
Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers RB
College: Auburn University
Peyton Manning – Denver Broncos QB
College: University of Tennessee
Eli Manning – New York Giants QB
College: Ole Miss
Robert Griffin III – Washington Redskins QB
College: Baylor University
Major: Political Science
Tom Brady – New England Patriots QB
College: University of Michigan
Major: Organization Studies
Reggie Bush – Miami Dolphins RB
College: University of Southern California
Major: Political Science
The life of an immigrant in America is anything but conventional. There are countless things one comes to learn about this nation by way of pure exposure to culture. Having come from Bulgaria, I predicted that the passions of Americans would differ drastically from those most prevalent in the rest of the world. America has always presented itself as being divergent, but also as being a leader. The proverbial “city on a hill” has always set a political and economic example that other, less powerful nations use as a benchmark to evaluate their progress. The question is, can we say as much about America from a cultural perspective?
To evaluate this question, we can look to sports. There is nothing more global than a common passion that almost serves as a universal language. Throughout the world, football, or soccer (admittedly an American fabrication) serves this type of purpose. The majority of the world’s nations cite football as the dominant sport within their culture and some even go as far as comparing it to religion. If you think this claim is an exaggeration, I urge you to visit a nation such as Brazil, where the kick of a ball precedes the first roll of the tongue. The sport is entirely engrained in the culture and a single match has the power to unify or divide an entire nation.
Can this phenomenon be achieved in the United States? Basketball, football, and baseball all serve as national sports, but there are few people who harbor an equal amount of passion for all three. Football season always brings about feverish fanaticism, but it doesn’t ever seem as if the entire nation is unified over a single event, barring the heavily advertised colossus that is the Superbowl. Different regions of the country seem to swarm around distinct sports, so sectionalism is unavoidable.
Until recent times, “soccer” had been relegated to a lowly place on the ranking of sports in America. It was simply seen as a way in which kindergarteners, pre-schoolers, and elementary school students could get their exercise without any serious commitment. Starting in middle school, soccer was abandoned and most likely replaced by sports more in tune with American culture. The passion behind soccer has always seemed rather foreign to the American people. This is one of the first things I noticed when I initially set foot on an American playground as a ten-year-old immigrant. As late as the early 2000s, the majority of participants in soccer programs across the United States were likely to be of foreign descent. This begs the question, how has such a global phenomenon had such difficulty penetrating American culture? The question will likely remain unanswered.
An encouraging move was eventually made in 2007, when a footballing icon in the form of David Beckham made his move from Spanish giants Real Madrid to the Los Angeles Galaxy. America was buzzing. Youngsters were starstruck and, for the first time, felt passion for the beautiful game. Training facilities were expanded, the media increasingly began to integrate soccer into mainstream culture, and the nation’s attention turned to something it had been missing for years. There are bright times ahead for soccer in America and we can only hope its progress remains unimpeded.
Last summer I studied abroad in London. I spent three amazing months there and needless to say, it was hard to come home. I loved everything about it, from roaming the streets pretending to be Kate Middleton, to shopping on Oxford Street, and most of all, taking the tube to and from work every day (In addition to my classes I had a summer internship).
While I was there the city was well underway preparing for the Olympics. You could take tours of the event sites, some which were still under construction, and there was even a digital countdown in Trafalgar Square in anticipation of the summer to come. I was having a blast, but part of me was jealous. I came across the pond a summer to soon it felt like. Instead of living in the moment, London was fast-forwarding my time there and already looking ahead to the next big event.
I managed to get over my small twinge of Olympic jealousy and enjoy the rest of the summer. From copious amounts of tea, to lazy days in Hyde Park, it was a summer to remember. However, as I sit and reminisce of my London days gone by I can’t help but wonder, what would my time there have been like just one year later?
Here are things I would have loved, and some I’m glad I dodged.
For one, this year marked the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. There was a huge celebration—and as I mentioned before, unless you’re living under a rather large rock, I’m sure you heard, saw, or read about it. The energy surrounding the event alone would be enough to make a London summer spectacular—not to mention if you got close enough to see any action! What a way to kick start the Olympic summer season. Anything remotely involving the Royal Family gets the city excited. You can smell the joy and tradition in the air.I would have loved to watch the commotion and join in the cheers.
As the games grow closer, I would have loved to be able to see the preparation for large amount of athletes, spectators, and tourists. When I was living there last summer, one of many preparations, was a huge apartment project under construction specifically to accommodate the large numbers expected to visit over the duration of the games. It was supposedly an “Ikea Village”, meaning everything was designed efficiently and to utilize the least amount of space while still being trendy and modern. The Swedish know how to use their space. These apartments would have been incredible to see—I would have taken note on how to maximize my school townhouse floor plan!
Now despite the energy, the cheering, and the pure thrill of being in any city for the Olympics (which I’m sure nothing can compare to), there’s one thing I’m glad I didn’t have to encounter.
Traffic. London is packed. It’s busy all the time. Add the Olympics into the mix and I’ll let you do the math. The tube, the streets, even the sidewalks are going to be a nightmare. If there weren’t designated sidewalk lanes before, now might be a good time to think about adding some. Travelers be prepared and have your traffic game face on.
Not a day goes by when I don’t secretly wish to be back in London, practicing my British accent and drinking tea, and the preparation and anticipation for all of the summer events, whether they be royal or Olympic in nature, have me wishing just a little bit harder. The Olympics are always fascinating and fun to watch, regardless of where they are taking place, but the fact that they’re in London this year makes it that much more exciting. I’ll be anxiously awaiting—and drinking tea, of course!
You know the amazing moment when you see one of your school’s basketball players in your classroom, walking by you in a building, or on the bus on the way to class? Imagine how much cooler that will feel when they get drafted into the NBA! Well, lots of current players—some among our favorites—went to college just like the rest of us, and some of them had surprising majors.
1. Jeremy Lin
Even if you don’t like the Knicks, you’ve surely heard of a little something called Linsanity! Lin is my personal favorite NBA player, and this 23 year-old just so happens to be a Harvard graduate. The star-on-the-rise graduated with a degree in economics—which should be helpful as his salary goes on the rise like his fame.
2. Steve Nash
The Phoenix Suns’ point guard has played professionally for 15 years. Before he made it to the big time, he earned a scholarship to play at Santa Clara University. Nash earned his degree in sociology. Is that why he’s so likeable?
3. Chris Bosh
Power forward for the Miami Heat, Bosh’s talent didn’t keep him in college for long. He spent one season on the basketball team for Georgia Tech before entering the 2003 NBA draft. But in his short time at school, Bosh was part of an interesting major: graphic design and computer imaging.
4. Andre Iguodala
The #9 forward guard for the Philadelphia 76ers attended the University of Arizona for two years, entering the NBA draft in 2004, though he initially intended to play at the University of Arkansas. While he quickly established himself as a top player in college, he also studied hard with his major of education.
5. Roy Hibbert
Center for the Indiana Pacers, he was elected to his first NBA All-Star game this year. He graduated from Georgetown University in 2008 with a major of governmental studies. His high performance in leading the Hoyas to the Final Four in 2007, however, almost took him out of school; but being a good student, he returned for his senior year to finish what he started.
Though recently retired, Shaq will likely be forever a household name. The basketball player/rapper/movie star attended Louisiana State University where he studied business. Though he left college early, he still continued his education, even attending a broadcast journalism“bootcamp” at Syracuse University’s prestigious S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications in 2009.
7. Kyrie Irving
Point guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Irving is only 20 years old. Making a star debut for Duke University, he was the first overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft. Though he left college and his intended journalism degree early, the NBA star made a pact with his father to finish college in the next five years.
8. Carlos Boozer
The power forward for the Chicago Bulls has seen plenty of basketball success, contributing to an Olympic Gold Medal in 2008 as a member of Team USA. But before the Olympics, he played for Duke University and studied sociology. He helped the team win the 2001 NCAA Championship.
9. Deron Williams
The current point guard for the New Jersey Nets was drafted third in 2005 after playing for the University of Illinois for three years. Fittingly, Williams was majoring in sports management while he rose to college basketball fame, even leading the team to the NCAA championships in his junior year.
10. Tim Duncan
Power forward for the San Antonio Spurs, Duncan began his career playing at Wake Forest University. He graduated in 1997 with a degree in psychology, and was drafted as the first pick that same year. The four-time NBA champion is a true star!
I’m reading Sexuality Now: Embracing Diversity
As the NCAA tournament continues, we are seeing a lot of college mascots cheering on their team. However, there are a slew of mascots all over the country that are a little off-beat. Here are some of the weirdest mascots from around the country.
1. Fighting Pickles
Like many other schools the North Carolina School of the Arts decided to let their students decide when it came to choosing a mascot. Apparently as a joke the Fighting Pickles was suggested and won the contest in 1972. The pickle has remained their mascot till this day and is still one of the most outrageous mascots in college sports.
2. Fighting Artichoke
Similar to the Fighting Pickles, the Scottsdale Community College Fighting Artichokes was chosen through a contest by the students. Selected in the 1970’s the students used the odd choice as protest to the school administration. Many students were furious with them for giving scholarships to out of state athletes that are were meant to be given to Native Americans. I think they made their point.
3. Boll Weevil
University of Arkansas at Monticello tops the list because of how strange and rather gross its mascot is. The Boll Weevil is an insect that is the number one enemy of cotton farmers all over the United States. Even though it is quite unusual, I guess it might be seen as intimidating especially if you are a cotton plant.
4. Banana Slugs
Like the University of Arkansas at Monticello, The University of California-Santa Cruz is on the list because of their choice of a very small creature as their mascot. Banana slugs are bright yellow slugs with no shell that live on forest floors and are not a likely choice to represent a school. The students chose this seemingly harmless mascot to protest the serious athletic competition that other schools promote.
Indiana Purdue University at Fort Wayne secured a spot on this list by choosing an extinct prehistoric animal as their mascot. A mastodon looks like a large elephant with lots of hair and long tusks. The mastodon became their school mascot after the student body president dared the students to be different and choose an unusual mascot.
Webster College Gorlocks makes the list by taking the mythical route with their mascot. A Gorlock is a made up creature that was designed by students at the school and entered into a contest. It is said to have the horns of a buffalo, paws of a cheetah, and the face of a Saint Bernard dog.
7. Purple Aces
Evansville College’s Purple Aces mascot can be credited to the University of Louisville’s basketball coach. During the mid 20’s the coach said after getting beat by Evansville, “you didn’t have four aces up your sleeve, you had five!” The “Aces” nickname stuck and Evansville now has a mascot that closely resembles a pimp in a white and purple suit.
8. Rainbow warriors
The University of Hawai’i Manoa mascot is one that really threw me for a loop. The “warrior” part of the name is strong and common for a mascot; however the “rainbow” part is the complete opposite. The physical mascot however makes up for the name when he appears at the sporting events as a traditional Hawaiian warrior, adorned in tribal wear.
9. Ant Eaters
Although animals are commonly used as mascots, anteaters are not. The University of California-Irvine got their inspiration from a comic strip by Johnny Hart which featured an Anteater during the 1960’s. These days Peter the Anteater is looking pretty tough with his bulging muscles, jersey, and sweat bands.
When you think about what the Stony Brook University Seawolves mascot might look like you may picture a cross between wolf and fish like I did. The Physical mascot Wolfie appears to be all wolf but it turns out that Seawolves are a mythical sea creature. According to legend it can bring you good luck if you see one.
11. Battling Bishops
Ohio Wesleyan adopted their new mascot in 1925 due to the fact that there were quite a few other Methodist Colleges in the area and they wanted to stand out. Originally just “The Red and Black,” they hosted a contest in order to select a new name. The “Battling Bishops” ended up winning and makes the list due to the oxymoron the name seems to be.
Similar to the Battling Bishops the Providence College Friars are included in this list because of their religious nature. Providence is a private Catholic college in Rhode Island, so it makes sense that they are a religious bunch. The physical Friar mascot closely resembles Friar Tuck from Robin Hood sporting a round belly and big smile.
The story behind how Trinity College became the Trolls is one that has many variations. The first is that in 1959 students took the letters in the word “Troll” out of the words “Trinity College.” Another theory is that the president of the time wanted to find a word starting “tr” that flowed perfectly with “Trinity.” Lastly some stories tell of Troll sightings in the area, so who really knows!
14. Little Giants
I think Wabash College was on the right track when it decided on the Giant for their mascot; however what I don’t understand is adding the “little” part. Wabash College is an Indiana school for men that have 11 teams and 23 intramural sports. Some say they might have gotten the idea from the movie Little Giants but no one knows for sure. If so, Rick Moranis should be pretty upset!
Named after the famous poet John Greenleaf Whittier, the Whittier College Poets are not the most fearful of the bunch. Johnny the Poet is the official mascot and represents its 21 sports teams. This peace loving poet is not high on the intimidation factor but makes up for it with his scowling face and large fountain pen.
Northern Arizona’s Lumberjack mascot is not that strange but it doesn’t seem to fit the state. When I think of Arizona I think of a desert climate with tumbleweeds and cactus. After some research I found that it is actually home to quite a few forests that support local logging businesses.
Can’t get enough weird college mascots? Make sure and check out the Mascot Rumble on the eCampus.com Facebook page!
This is a guest post from our PR Intern Chelsea. Many thanks to her!