Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Peter Mannino Writes Letter Supporting Boone

(above) Peter Mannino sent LetsGoDU a letter supporting the Boone mascot and what it means to him to be a DU Pioneer

To all Pioneers,

Throughout my career as a student-athlete at the University of Denver, I had the opportunity to meet a lot of students, alumni and DU fans. I met people from a lot of backgrounds and almost everyone was a big DU sports fan.

After my freshman year and all of the national championship ceremonies with alumni and fans, I also learned how passionate that people are about our proud school history and the mascot Boone. In arenas around the country, you’d see or meet people wearing Boone stuff or holding signs cheering us on. Including many people that I hadn’t met before.

It inspired me to research the history of the University and learn more about Boone, Pioneer Pete and the history of DU mascots. I learned a great deal from the University and alumni.

I learned that the original art came from Walt Disney studios.

I learned that the image doesn’t represent Daniel Boone or, for that matter, have any connection to Daniel Boone. It was a cartoon figure Disney Studios created in 1968 and called “Pioneer” since that was the name of DU’s sports teams.

I saw how it brought so many generations of Pioneers together. Once I learned the great tradition, I proudly wore the cartoon on my game equipment and still wear it today in professional hockey. It’s a character that connects a lot of people together- including me and all of those same people who I had the chance to see cheer on DU around the country.

During my senior season, more and more students began connecting with our history and the story of Boone’s Disney past. I joined with other student-athletes and student leaders to work on a committee that surveyed students and explored bringing Boone back as our official mascot.

We worked hard to be fair, survey everyone and share the data. Our results were overwhelmingly supportive and my fellow seniors were excited for all of the returning student-athletes since it sounded pretty positive that we were going to be able to bring our proud mascot back.

Things have changed and I just heard that the university has said no to the students’ request to bring back Boone as a formal mascot. I also know that so many students and alumni identify with the cartoon the same way Duke fans identify with the Blue Devil or the Oregon fans identify with the Duck.

We’re Pioneers and Boone’s our guy.

It’d be too bad if this impacts our school spirit and student or alumni support. I hope the students can rally together to be heard. It would be great if my teammates could experience the same student passion that I did during my four years at DU. The electricity of the student section at hockey games was always one of my favorite things about game days.

I’m proud to have been a Pioneer and Boone will always remind me of a place and time in my life when I went on my own new journey and learned what it meant to be a true DU Pioneer.

Go Boone!

PM, Class of 2008

Peter Mannino

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