Monday, August 16, 2010
Mighty White Man 1962
The date was September of 1962. As an 18 year old freshman at Furman University, I had plenty to fret about. This was my first extended stay away from home, so along with the homesickness, I was also concerned about my studies. There were many "scare" stories about the multitudes who never made it through their freshman year, and I couldn't go home and face my parents after failing out. So, my nose was to the grindstone and my focus was on my studies.
But, I love football, and the Paladins were to play their first game against Presbyterian on Saturday. Naturally, I took a few hours to forget studies and I made the trip to downtown Greenville and Sirrine Stadium to watch Furman play.
Sitting in the freshman section, I noticed a truck wheel into the home end zone. Trailing the truck was a horse trailer. "What's this?" I wondered aloud. "Oh", my friend next to me said, "That's Mighty White Man!"
The handler opened the trailer and out pranced the most beautiful steed I could ever imagine. He was pure white---like the shining paladin he carried into battle. His coat gleamed in the sun. He was large and powerful looking, and when he moved, it was in a prancing trot of extreme self assurance. The sight of the beautiful mascot was so very exciting to all of us freshmen.
When the Purple Paladins scored, the powerful charger would emerge from his home in the end zone, and he would flow like a comet in his royal gait down the Furman sideline, bearing his knight past the stands for the Furman faithful to see. The fans would go wild at this wondrous spectacle of beautiful steed and flowing mane and tail and shining knight.
Of course, even the name "Mighty White Man" would be politically incorrect in these sensitive times. At the time, of course, that name was simply a proper description of that magnificent school mascot.
I have never forgotten the excitement of that first football Saturday afternoon of my freshman year in college, and how a beautiful horse temporarily eased the stress of my first year of college.