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Anger, denial and acceptance: the story of Sparky the Sun Devil

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Sparky has been re-imagined with the help of Disney, and the reactions have been polarizing.

Sparky the Sun Devil first appeared in 1952 and has undergone many facelifts over the years. The latest redesign comes from a partnership between ASU and Disney. ASU hopes this new Sparky will help engage a younger audience. This new Sparky will appear on merchandise, children’s books, comic books, animation and more. The classic Sparky logo, however, will still remain the official university logo of Sparky the Sun Devil.

The new Sparky looks a little like a bumblebee, Buzz Lightyear, the Duke Blue Devil and a super hero. Most of the ASU community isn’t too thrilled, as Twitter and Facebook have erupted with contempt over the new design.

When I first saw the new Sparky I was less than thrilled, and I also took to social media to voice my opinion. It just didn’t seem right! Sparky should be a menacing, tough mascot. This redesign just didn’t feel like Sparky. I was mad that ASU struck out so badly with this concept, and being a Disney fan, it angered me that Disney could screw this up. The redesign looks more like an evil member of Lotso’s clan in Toy Story than a college mascot.

The more research I did on the topic, and the more concept art I saw, my anger turned to denial. Sparky can’t look like this. Sparky can’t be smiling at his competitors. I was in denial that Sparky was beginning to look like a comic book character. And not a cool comic book character like Batman, but an odd one, like arm fall off boy. Yeah there was a comic book character named arm fall off boy. I was in denial that Sparky had weird armbands that make him look like a space cadet. I was in denial that Sparky now has huge boots. I was in denial that his eyes are so big they take up 98% of his face.

I slept on this anger and denial only to awake with an accepting feeling toward the whole situation.

This is Sparky now, love it or hate it. This is Sparky. Being the loyal ASU fan that I am, I have to accept this new change and cheer for him as he does push ups and continue to chant A-S-U with him at sporting events. Sure, he might look weird. Sure, he might scare you and give you nightmares. But this is Sparky now. This is ASU’s mascot.

Anger, denial and acceptance – those are the emotions that ASU has caused me to feel over the past 24 hours. I don’t want to be angry at Sparky. I want to love Sparky and stand behind him as we go to battle. If I have to do so with my eyes closed to hide myself from the ugly truth then so be it. But I still support you Sparky even with your big, scary eyes, your odd armbands, your big boots and your unnerving smile. I support you because you are ASU.

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