Saturday, February 10, 2007


It's "Feral Center," You Goofballs!

I found this pair of columns over at Bear Meat quite enlightening, but I must object to their continued reference to Baylor's basketball arena, the Feral Center, as the "Will Ferrell Center."

I suppose that their misguided "Will Ferrell" joke is for humorous purposes. Humor is all fine and good, until someone gets hurt. In this case, the someone who gets hurt is an important part of our proud Baylor Legacy, the grand story of our traditions that we are so lucky to stand upon.

The name "Feral Center" derives from a particularly challenging period of Baylor History. It was 1920, and President Samuel Palmer Brooks was putting the finishing touches on his plan for the future of the school, a plan that became his amazing "Vision 1930." The University, however, was facing a terrible crisis: The campus had been invaded by twin plagues, as massive numbers of grackles established residence on campus at the same time billions of crickets descended like a black cloud of death, covering every footpath and building.

In the face of these plagues, students began turning away from school, and Baylor was on the verge of financial collapse. Brooks' first plan was to introduce hundreds of live bears to the campus, in the hopes they would scare the grackles and crickets. Sadly, they instead destroyed the Penland Hall cafeteria, set up an encampment near the center of campus, and somehow developed the ability to make and use firearms. Rather than correcting the flight of the student body, the problem was substantially worsened as student fatalities due to bear attacks (both conventional and sniper) skyrocketed. A similar plan in which the Pillsbury Doughboy was retained to wander campus and scare the grackles backfired when the Doughboy focused his efforts almost exclusively on ham-handed efforts to entice Baylor's female students into having drinks with him up in his room.

Desperate, Brooks set up a committee of five faculty members, led by Denise ("Wa-Wa") Walters of the Latin Department. Joined by four faculty members from Baylor's philosophy department and law school, Walters quickly developed a plan of attack. As the philosophers had confirmed, squirrels were known to eat grackles. Were large numbers of squirrels to be introduced into the campus ecosystem, the grackles would become food. This, in turn, would drive the grackles to begin eating the crickets, and everyone knows that crickets eat squirrels. Thus, the philosophers and lawyers concluded, the problem would be solved with all of the nuisance animals consuming one another until their populations disappeared. Contrary views expressed in the local paper by experts in the biological sciences were ignored.

To their dismay, the committee found it impossible to locate a large number of squirrels for purchase, due to the effects of World War I. Instead, they proposed erecting an enormous shrine to squirrels, in the hope that squirrels from other areas would then move to Waco. This, my friends, was to be the Feral Center. Money was immediately appropriated, and construction commenced.

Even the most casual observer of things Baylor knows the rest of the story-- Governor Bill Daniel arrived from Liberty County on a white stallion, and individually shot each of the billions of crickets and grackles with a .38 revolver, pushing the tons of carcasses into the Brazos with an enormous cardboard check. Thus relieved of its original purpose of attracting feral animals, the Feral Center was converted into a home for the playing of basketball, and remains so even today.


I'm pretty sure that plan would have worked. And that doughboy sounds a lot like... Swanburg!!
The doughboy kind of looks like Swanburg, too, and they both like the same outfit (No pants, no shirt, goofy hat, medallian affixed to chest).
Prof. Osler:

We must quibble some with your history - while your tale of crickets, grackels, bears and squirrels is largely accurate, you've left out some rather important details that are central to the story:
1. Governor Pat Neff, sewing his wild oats and living among the Bears
2. The BearPit emerging as the center of most religious activity on campus during this period.
3. The botched exorcism of the ghost "Indian Princess" buried in the Burleson Quadrangle, who then went on to haunt Old Main and has an ongoing body count of 13 Pi Phis.
4. "The Battle Royale" between the nuisance animals, which ended in the three species joining forces and attacking darker-skinned peoples, which in turn set off a wave of race riots that left Waco devastated.

Other than that, your history checks out.

Red Andrews

There wasn't space for everything! Sheesh. And isn't the Bear Pit (which is the site of the original Bear Encampment) still a center of religious activity on campus?
I'm not Red, but I believe the Bear Pit is still a center of worship for the obscure pagan sect known as the "Chamber Bear Committee."

Said pagan sect worships the bears by cleaning out their poo and holding crazy sects' rituals in that fenced-in part where nobody can see inside.

If you hear bears growlin' in the middle of the night...just sayin''s probably Pickle. I hear he quit the sect but stays around for the sects' rituals.
what is a grackle?

Grackles are kind of like crows. They are dark in color, loud, and they eat crickets if provoked into it. For a few weeks a year, 45 gazillion of them descend on Waco for some reason.
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