After two years of service to San Diego State, the school’s jaguar mascot, Zuma, is no more. Students have mixed feelings about the decision to make the Aztec Warrior SDSU’s sole mascot once again.
Created to be more appealing to children than the armor-clad Aztec Warrior, Zuma began joining the Aztecs at basketball and football games in 2010. However, some say there is more to a good mascot than being kid-friendly.
“We are the Aztecs, and no kids character is ever going to change that,” SDSU athletic director Jim Sterk was quoted saying in The San Diego Union-Tribune. “A character such as Zuma is simply able to engage kids and perform antics that would be inappropriate for the Aztec Warrior.”
However, the most voiced complaint seemed to pertain to the ambiguity of one school having two mascots. Many are quick to point out the embarrassing error last March when Sports Illustrated listed the 32 mascots of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament teams. Zuma, the “sidekick,” was pictured instead of the Aztec Warrior.
“Most people didn’t understand how he / she came about. I thought (Zuma) was an amateur fan that just started dressing up. I mean I get it … but it’s just plain confusing,” SDSU alumni Chris Richardson said.
Despite criticisms of being childish or unrelated to the school’s Native American roots, other students cherished the faux feline’s freedom to act in ways that would be “absurd” for the Aztec Warrior to do.
“His presence is just plain fun,” SDSU student Aimee Lynn said. “He makes people happy and does all of the things it would be inappropriate for the warrior to do.”