A few weeks ago, the University of Mississippi Associated Student Body gave a crushing blow to any return of the school's old mascot, Colonel Reb, who was first banned from the sporting event sidelines in 2003. This blow came in the form of a student body poll asking whether:
Yes, I do support a student-led effort to develop and propose a NEW “on-field” mascot to represent the OLE MISS REBELS.
No, I do not support a student-led effort to develop and propose a NEW “on-field” mascot to represent the OLE MISS REBELS.
The key scare tactic used in this "push" poll was that if students voted NO, then they would not be involved and the university may still continue in the creation of a mascot without student input. Whether the method in which this poll was applied is ethical still remains in question; however, the end result was a 75% vote for YES, including my own.
But six days prior to the vote, a comedic revolution began. To make a serious situation more light-hearted, a group of four Ole Miss students began a website, facebook group, and twitter promoting Admiral Ackbar, a squid-like character from George Lucas' "Return of the Jedi," as the forefront candidate of choice and reason why students should vote yes. This parody, based on the Ole Miss Rebel connection to the Star Wars Rebel Alliance, eventually led to national media attention as well as one of Google's top 10 searches of the week.
The day after the vote on February 23, I knew that it was time to call the one man who could weigh-in on such a candidate possiblility and pop-culture effect as Ackbar. Before the day had ended, a call was placed to the personal publicist of Star Wars creator, George Lucas.
His publicist, Laura Muhlhammer, although thrown-off by such an odd topic of request, was very open to the idea of doing a short Q and A with Mr. Lucas. Letting me know she would have to check his availability, she collected my contact information and told me she would call me the following day.
When she called back I was informed that unfortunately Mr. Lucas would not be available for an interview until some time in June due to his schedule. As this would sadly lose its timeliness by then, Laura at least offered me this statement on behalf of Lucasfilm and herself which she also emailed me:
"We are flattered that our Star Wars fans at the University of Mississippi are considering electing Admiral Ackbar as their mascot. The last time we checked in with Admiral Ackbar he was leading the Rebel Alliance Fleet on a critical mission so it will be difficult for him to show up for the games!"
Considering the level of contact I had gotten in touch with, the closeness to a actual interview, and the end result, I would have to say this was not only an epic fail, but a GALACTIC FAIL worth bragging about! In this situation, I worked as a professional and was treated as such. Though I did not achieve what I had hoped, I still have the satisfaction of knowing I pushed my limits of possibility. If I had the option to do it all over again with the same chances, I would.
This situation is a reminder that we are fueled just as much by our failures as we are by our successes. What we do with them makes us who we are.