Our team’s mascot is a lightning bug — ThunderBug. Seriously? A bug?Don’t get me wrong. I like ThunderBug — the affable, ardent Tampa Bay Lightning advocate who likes to throw his weight (and plenty of it) around while pounding the glass at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. But, a bug? C’mon.
I remember attending a Lightning – Predators game in Nashville one year when Gnash, the Predators sabre-tooth cat mascot, skated onto the ice during the pre-game show with a replica of ThunderBug, and proceeded to beat the living daylights out of him, much to the delight of the hyped-up fans.Then, between periods, Gnash did some fast rappels, zip lines, and a pendulum swing that took him under the scoreboard and just inches off the ice. We’d need the paramedics on hand if ThunderBug tried anything remotely close to that.
Please, don’t leave me a nasty note and tell me to move to Nashville. ThunderBug is great for birthday parties, community events, high-fiving your four-year old, and amusing people with Silly String in a place where he won’t get fired for using it. But as far as generating any level of passion or excitement during the game — not so much.
Now I don’t think Jeff Vinik should zap ThunderBug. What I do believe, though, is that after two decades, maybe our mascot could be relegated to community and charity events while a new, more imaginative creation bolts us into the team’s third decade.
Please take the survey below and give me something to send along to the Lightning brass about how you feel about our — bug.