Two likely reactions from TV viewers who have watched Wichita State’s Cinderella run to the Final Four: “Who is Wichita State?” and “What the heck is that mascot?”
WSU’s nickname is the Shockers, and its mascot is named WuShock — who, to the uninformed, must look like a deformed person along the lines of Sloth from The Goonies. In fact, WuShock is meant to be a human-like shock (i.e. bundle) of wheat; Wichita State’s “Shockers” nickname is shortened from “wheat shockers” and was originally given to the football team a long time ago because they harvested wheat for a summer job.
“I know it is confusing,” the man in WuShock’s costume, David Kemp, told The New York Times. “I’ve had people ask me if the nickname has anything to do with electricity as well. … I can see how [the mascot outfit] could look like a pencil to you — he baffles everyone not familiar with him.”
Reactions from the Twittersphere during and after the Shockers’ 70–66 Elite Eight victory over Ohio State on Sunday certainly bear that out.
I have been informed that Wichita State’s mascot is wheat which is insensitive and offensive to my people. My people = gluten intolerant.
— Alex Nobert (@nobert) March 31, 2013
If you took Wichita State this far in your bracket, you’re either an alumni, or you just really like their mascot.
— Kosh Jelly(@ohmyjosh8) March 31, 2013
— Marlen Garcia (@MarlenGarcia777) March 31, 2013
Did we just lose to Wichita state? Their mascot is a Wheat Thin!!!!
— Nate Florence (@NNNATE_6) March 31, 2013
Wichita State mascot looks like a science experiment that went wrong. Very wrong.
— Todd Jones (@Todd_Jones) March 30, 2013
You better get used to WuShock folks, because he’s now on his way to Atlanta for the Final Four.