The mammal, the myth, the legend: the Groundhog.
At the University of Dallas, our “official” mascot is the Crusader. Our “unofficial,” and more widely celebrated, mascot is the one and only Groundhog. But who is the Groundhog, really?
“It’s not easy being me,” said the Groundhog.
Although he was born and raised in Texas, he ironically lived in Pennsylvania, the same state as Punxsutawney Phil, for a brief time. The “other” groundhog, our Groundhog said, has never been a threat.
“We aren’t close, but we know each other,” he said. “I never understood why the whole world loves him so much when I’m right here.”
The Groundhog wasn’t always a mascot. Before coming to UD, he worked at a wood chipping plant and was laid off in the ‘80s. He struggled to find other work afterwards.
“I got rejected from cashiering at Buc-ee’s gas stations,” he said, “which really hurt because he and I were friends.”
Not anymore, apparently.
After coming to UD, which the Groundhog chalks up to fate and the call of the rugby woods, he feels very seen and welcome on campus.
“I didn’t get into UD, my ACT scores were too low,” he said.
When pressed, he admitted he did not score above a 20. When pressed further, he admitted his score was 11. He maintains that his SAT scores were better.
He refused to share his middle name, but said that his first name is Ground, last name Hog.
“Friends sometimes call me Groundie or Ghog for short. But never Mr. Hog, that was my father.”
“The Hog” is acceptable, but only for special occasions such as Groundhog Day.
But the Groundhog enjoys sitting in on UD classes despite not technically being a student.
“Latin and Greek were great discoveries for me. I love Dr. Sweet’s classes and I feel right at home there, among other classic and ageless things. Virgil never goes out of style—neither will I.”
Unfortunately, the Groundhog failed Gen Bio, so he can never pursue the sciences, but if mascotting doesn’t pan out then he hopes to one day be an airplane pilot.
“There’s probably never been a color-blind pilot, but I think I can be the first,” he said.
The Groundhog enjoys company on campus from his other furry friends the Easter Bunny and the Valentine’s Day Squirrel. Since animals don’t use money or drive to grocery stores, he appreciates being fed Caf food — just don’t tell Aramark — and receiving free Cap Bar drinks.
His favorite drink is the secret menu item “Groundhog Grounds,” which is just dirt and chocolate syrup over ice and a splash of Bailey’s, but only on Sundays. When asked for words of wisdom, aside from his weekly Groundhog Guidance column in The University News, the Groundhog said, “Don’t be afraid of your shadow.”
“I spent years being afraid of my own shadow, and then I embraced Jungian philosophy and started doing shadow work. I recommend everyone try it.”