Well, me for one. When I think of an animal I want to emulate on the track, the Honey Badger really doesn't readily spring to mind. Of course, I want to be a strong and scary player, but the Honey Badger generally hunts alone and is kind of an antisocial. Actually, the Honey Badger is kind of a dick to other Honey Badgers by nature. I certainly don't want to wall up with a Honey Badger, or take a whip off of one, and to be fair, the Honey Badger probably doesn't want to wall up with me or help me in general. Also, the Honey Badger has a really nasty anal gland that it can spray foes with, which doesn't sound that great to me either. The Honey Badger probably would end up stinking up the locker room something fierce.
Here are some of my suggestions for new derby spirit animals, and some of them are going to sound lame as hell until you see my reasoning.
1. Be a dolphin. What? A dolphin? The clown of the sea? Yeah, be a dolphin! Dolphins are incredibly intelligent and agile; they have great eyesight and hearing and are great communicators. Dolphins are incredibly fast learners, and what they learn and discover, they teach to other dolphins. Dolphins hunt in groups called pods. They travel together, much like wolves, and when they hunt they swim rapidly around their prey, in this instance, fish. All the members of the family gather together and swim circles about the school of fish and blow bubbles out of their blow holes. This confuses the fish into thinking there's a wall there and they end up swimming in a tight circle. This is when a few of the dolphins break from blowing bubbles and swim through the center of the whirlwind of fish, giving them a meal. The dolphins take turns eating until satisfied. Also, if you don't think a dolphin is very tough, then you haven't heard how they beat the crap out of sharks...for fun.
|Dolphins are in control of that pack. Image found here.|
2. Try the Spotted Hyena. Really Q? A Spotted Hyena? Yes, really. Spotted Hyenas are a pack hunting animal that take down medium to large sized ungulates by wearing them down and out-enduring their prey. They're fast and they use confusion to cut their prey away from the rest of the herd, and bonus! Hyena clans are led by an alpha female, and can have as many members as 80! Plus, they just look tough.
|My pack is here! Image found here.|
3. Channel the Cape Buffalo. Ugh! Why would anyone want that to be their derby spirit animal? They're big and ugly and smelly and they look dumb! Au contraire, the Cape Buffalo is the most feared herbivore in Africa; because they've had to deal with lions, hyenas and every other hostile predator on earth, they've learned to defend themselves with their sharp horns and heavy hooves. The Cape Buffalo will absolutely curb stomp the crap out of a predator that tries to attack one of the herd regardless of whether it's a crocodile or a lion. Cape Buffalo will actually build a protective wall around their weaker herd members and aggressively defend them. When Cape Buffalo are in a herd, very few predators have the balls to attack them.
|I wouldn't want to mess with her jammer, would you? Image found here.|
4. Consider the hippo! Once again I can hear the groans, but think about it. Hippos look sluggish and slow, but they are extremely fast swimmers and can run fast on land too. They are territorial and predators and humans avoid them. Hippos kill more human beings a year than other predators in Africa, and they often capsize medium sized river boats if they come into their territories. The hippo seems to me to be the best spirit animal for a blocker, especially one that is holding in the inside line. Oh yeah, did I mention that they can bite a crocodile in half? Yeah. Try doing that, you Honey Badgers.
|Slow looking, but fast and nimble! This is a jammer's nightmare. Image found here.|
5. Finally, my favorite, the humble honey bee. Ok Q, you have lost your ever-lovin' mind! Who wants to be a small bug on the track? Well, get enough honey bees together and they can sting a person to death. Honey bees are like minded and react to threats to the hive as one creature. Honey bees are fantastic at communicating amongst their kind, and the whole hive reacts at the same time. I love to use the word SWARM out on the track, and it warms my heart when I see my teammates respond as one!
|Honey Bees work are communicators and relentless in their teamwork. Image found here.|
I don't really have a problem with the Honey Badger itself, but I like to remind people that derby is a TEAM sport, and Honey Badgers are, well, all about themselves. Derby is moving away from the superstar, and is evolving into the super team. It's all about teamwork, folks. Let's start finding inspiration in those animals who play well with others.