College Crosse is getting into the holiday spirit by making your favorite holiday specials into lacrosse stories! (Until we get the big bucks of Rankin/Bass this is, of course, in theory only.) Today, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer becomes a story about the 2012 Loyola Greyhounds.
[To be fair to our last two entries (which you can read here and here), we've done more "grafting Christmas specials onto Memorial Day" than actual Christmas stuff. So, we can't exactly start this special with newspaper and blog headlines about snowstorms cancelling regular season lacrosse games (SPRING SPORT!).]
A friendly snowman heads our way, starting things off with a slow burn. It's not just any ordinary animated snowman, though -- it's Burl Ives, who through the magic of stop-motion animation can still host this special despite being dead for nearly twenty years. Ol' Burl's sliding across the North Pole, talking about bad snowstorms and how he never knew how we'd get through that one Christmas without Loyola.
"Loyola, you ask?" Well, it looks like Mr. Ives is gonna tell us a story. Then he starts singing:
You know Maryland, and Cornell, and UNC and Hopkins,
'Cuse, and Virginia, and Duke, and Princeton,
But do you recalllll, the most famous college lacrosse mascot of aaaaallllllllll?
[If you answered Western Kentucky's Big Red, you're wrong. Because it's LOYOLA THE GREEN-NOSED GREYHOUND!]
After the title credits, we enter a cave where Maryland Terrapin and his wife are tending to their new son. [Please don't ask how this works out. We need one of the mascot "reindeer" to be the father and we already did a special with Loyola's Charles Street neighbors so bear with us even though we know damn well that turtles don't mate with dogs.] As we soon find out, Loyola Greyhound has something very different about him: He has a nose that lights up green! Santa comes by with a song that pretty much says, "I'm [bleeping]awesome!" as Maryland Terrapin tries his best to keep Loyola's nose covered.
We then go into Santa's workshop to find his elves hard at work making sports equipment for the good little boys and girls. But as most of the elves, who are mascots of other Rocky Mountain area schools, are too busy making stuff for football or basketball, we see Denver Pioneer studying a book about lacrosse equipment. That angers Foreman Elf [let's admit it -- Foreman Elf is totally Bill Cowher and shall henceforth be referred as Bill Cowher], who can't believe Denver would rather take up lacrosse than produce football. Cowher declares that Pio will be fired if he doesn't change his ways. Enter the first "nitwit" song.
Meanwhile, Maryland Terrapin comes up with a solution for Loyola: To block the green nose on his son, Maryland Terrapin has a cap for Loyola to put on. It's not very comfortable for Loyola, but it's to be kept on "to help fit in." Cue the second "nitwit song."
In addition to creating all that football gear, the elves are hard at work practicing their annual musical number for Santa. All those football college mascots perform "We Are Santa's Elves," much to the dismay of Santa himself, who is stuck watching them poke each other in the eye, knock guys out with toys, and destroy musical instruments. At least Mrs. Claus liked it, but Bill Cowher certainly wasn't amused. As it turns out, Denver Pioneer was once again not doing his part. Instead, Pioneer was converting football pads into lacrosse pads. Foreman Elf yells at Denver Pioneer once more, threatening once again to terminate him. Denver Pioneer decides to go out on his terms, though, and heads out to the great unknown with his Davy Crockett hat and not much else.
The scene shifts to Loyola as he gets ready for the Mascot Games. There he meets Hofstra [Pride] Lion, so it looks like Loyola has a new friend! Then they spot a pretty female mascot -- Lady Florida Gator! [She's also up and coming in the women's lacrosse mascot department even though her brother still goes on and on about that Tebow guy.] The young mascots are then called over by Coach Cavalier, Virginia's mascot and one of the mascots on Santa's team. It's time for a flying competition.
While waiting his turn, Loyola goes ahead and talks to Lady Florida Gator. After the distraction, Coach Cavalier screams that it's Loyola's turn. And boy, does Loyola fly so high after he's told he's cute by Lady Gator! He goes on to celebrate with Hofstra Lion, but his awful secret is revealed when the cap on his nose dislodges! After nearly blinding Hofstra Lion with the blight green light emanating from his face, the rest of the mascots laugh and call him names. Coach Cavalier even declares that they won't allow poor Loyola to play in any more Mascot Games. Even Santa chastises Maryland Terrapin about the green nose. [At this point you're getting the idea that Santa's an asshole in this special.] Dejected, Loyola goes over to Lady Gator to get some words of encouragement via song. But even then, Lady Florida Gator's father [Jeremy Foley] tells her to leave Loyola "thiiiiisss instant." Poor Loyola is a misfit all alone in the world with no one to console him.
Thankfully, the all-alone-in-the-world part lasts about three seconds: Denver Pioneer pops out of the snow and meets Loyola! The two talk about being misfits in a world of blue-blood programs and the football-driven sports world. They then agree to go out on their journey together and sing the "What's the matter with misfits?" song. Pretty soon thereafter, they meet Yukon Cornelius, the North Pole's biggest UConn/Cornell/Canisius-combo fan, who's in search of silver and gold. Burl Ives decides it's time to butt in again, sing a song about silver and gold, and practically crap all over your Christmas if you're poor and have no silver or gold decorations on your Christmas tree. [Just imagine what his reaction would've been if he was in that auditorium when Charlie Brown came in with that sad-sack tree.]
But alas, Loyola, Pio, and Yukon have some big trouble: THE ABOMINABLE BASEBALL SNOWMAN! The Abominable Baseball Snowman tries to eat up everything lacrosse related in his sight. He also forces the North Pole Sports Network to air only Yankees, Red Sox, and Cardinals games [and wait a second this is exactly like Fox, ESPN, and TBS anyway]. Our trio manage to barely escape the monster by floating onto an iceberg. As Yukon points out, the Abominable Baseball Snowman is afraid of water, just like most other baseball players are. Loyola, Pio, and Yukon float on in the sea until they crash into a mysterious island that comes out of nowhere in the fog.
As our heroes walk along, they are stopped by a man in colonial clothing. "HALT! WHO GOES THERE?!?" says the man. "We're just a bunch of misfits roaming around," replies Loyola. "Well, in that case, you've come to the right place," the man responds. "I'm Tommy Morris. All the kids want to hang out with Robert Morris; nobody wants to play with a Tommy Morris." Denver Pioneer then asks, "Where are we?" Suddenly, a bunch of mascots come out of a bunch of boxes to sing "WE'RE ON THE ISLAND OF MISFIT MASCOTS."
Among the misfit mascots
- VMI Keydet, who shoots a gun full of jelly.
- Wagner Seahawk that, in addition to being Wagner, swims but can't fly.
- Lafayette Leopard, a mascot with roller skates for feet.
- Keggy the Keg, who's permanently drunk.
THEY'RE ALL MISFITS! [Though we're sure Keggy would be popular anywhere else.] Loyola, Pio, and Yukon all feel that they're a fit to be on the island, but first they must get permission from the king of the island, Jack Emmer. Although the trio asks if they could stay, Emmer, in his sweet, thick Long Island accent, tells them otherwise. "You see heah, this place is faw all these unwanted mascaats. You guise are just visitahs. Besides, you got a talented sqwad, Loyola, and you got Coach Tierney, Mr. Denvah Pioneyah. You can stay the night, and we do wish you would all tell Santa to come by and give aw mascots a nice home." As the the three settle into their quarters, a deal is made that the three will leave together. Loyola, however, decides it's too dangerous to go with the crew as his green nose will surely be seen by the Abominable Baseball Snowman, so he will go it alone to save the other two from danger. In the middle of the night, he sneaks out to head into the great unknown.
After randomly meeting a polar bear and narrowly avoiding getting run over by Jeremy Clarkson and James May doing the Top Gear North Pole special, Loyola realizes that he's growing up and maturing. The only thing he must do is confront his past demons and return to his home. But upon going to his cave, he finds out from Santa that his parents and Lady Florida Gator are all out looking for him. After Loyola goes out to find them, he comes to an awful sight: The Abominable Baseball Snowman is attacking the search party and is about to eat Lady Gator! Loyola tries his best to take out the snowman, but the Abominable knocks him out in what will be sure to cause a firestorm of concussion debate for the next week among established lacrosse news outlets [including this one].
Thankfully, Denver Pioneer and Yukon Cornelius have arrived with a plan to save Loyola. After Pioneer makes some pig oinking noises, Yukon comes in to tackle the monster. After knocking out the Abominable Baseball Snowman's teeth with a few [illegal] stick checks, Pioneer has made the snowman practically harmless to Loyola, Maryland Terrapin, [whatever Loyola's mom is], and Lady Gator. Yukon then decides to take out the Abominable Baseball Snowman once and for all, but his battle ends with the two of them falling off a cliff. [Yukon's dogs also go with him, but only Sarah McLachlan cares about that detail.] The remaining crew is sad by the loss of Yukon. [But it's Christmas Eve so screw mourning, there's stuff to be done!]
But then, suddenly, a huge storm hits! [Or, if you go by The Weather Channel, WINTER STORM PRATT THREATENS TENS OF MILLIONS OF PEOPLE!] The team gets back to Santa's workshop in time, but only after battling through the pea soup-fog and hurricane-force winds. Upon seeing Loyola and Denver Pioneer again, everyone in the workshop's happy that they're around and apologizes for being mean. Santa tells Loyola he's sorry, and that he'll be sure to help the Island of Misfit Mascots the first chance he gets. Even Bill Cowher makes up with Denver Pioneer, agreeing to let him be the North Pole's lacrosse equipment expert. However, Coach Cavalier still doesn't apologize for what happened at the Mascot Games, staying silent the whole time. [What a meanie.]
The awful storm, though, means awful news: Santa announces to everyone that because of the bad weather, Christmas has to be cancelled. Luckily, Loyola's nose lights green in Santa's face, which gave Santa a brilliant idea: "Christmas is not cancelled! Why, that nose! Loyola's nose can help lead my sleigh of championship-winning mascots! Loyola, with your nose so bright, won't you guide by sleigh tonight?" Loyola approves, saying, "It would be an honor." Loyola made that championship sleigh team, by golly, by earning the honors of the 2012 NCAA lacrosse championship and the prime position to fly the team.
Just then, a shocking surprise comes as well: It's Yukon Cornelius! He somehow survived the fall, and with him is a tamed Abominable Baseball Snowman! The Abominable Baseball Snowman has changed his ways, putting a lacrosse star on top of the big Christmas tree. [Yukon explains that Abominable Baseball Snowmen bounced when they hit the ground due to the residue of the steroid era from the late 1990s or something like that.] Everyone then dances to "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas" and Loyola gets a nice smooch from Lady Florida Gator while standing under the mistletoe. After that, the now nine championship mascots are all ready to go for their flight. "Up, up, and away!" Santa exclaims, and just like that they are all off to begin their journey.
It's another sad and dark Christmas Eve on the Island of Misfit Mascots, as the poor misfits are once again looking at the grim prospects of Santa not coming. Alas, Loyola was true to his word, as Santa comes by to pick up the mascots to give them nice homes for all the good little boys and girls. And, as Burl Ives concludes, Loyola goes down in history. There's then a nice montage of all the misfit toys getting sent to their new homes by the elves on Santa's sleigh. [Wait a second, WHY DIDN'T YOU GIVE THE WAGNER SEAHAWK AN UMBRELLA?!?! THE FREAKIN' MASCOT CAN'T FLY.]
Now, we could go on with how Loyola also saved New Year's Day with "Loyola's Shiny New Year" televised directly after this special, but that means that we'd have to acknowledge other sequels. And do we really want to go on about how in "Frosty Returns," Frosty the Snowman becomes some former smoker-environmentalist that wants to crush capitalism? The mere existence of "Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure"? A teenage Ralphie crashing his dad's Oldsmobile in "A Christmas Story 2"? Or even how the Miser Brothers teamed up to save Christmas in [/shudders] "A Miser Brothers Christmas"? No. So we'll leave it at that.
College Crosse would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas, belated Happy Hanukkah, Glorious Life Day, or just an all-around great Holiday Season!