Who says schools can't be sportsmanlike when it comes to traditional rivalries? In this short film put together by cadets at the , even the school's foes at the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y., get in on the fun.
The movie was put together in advance of the Secretaries' Cup, a football game considered to be the biggest rivalry between the two schools. The tradition dates back to 1949, although the competition was sporadic for awhile until the Secretaries' Cup series was established in 1981. Since then the Mariners have held an edge over the Bears, with the record standing at 20-11 in favor of the Merchant Marine Academy prior to this year's game.
This film starts at the Kings Point campus, where some dastardly Merchant Marine cadets have kidnapped the Coast Guard Academy mascot, Objee. Although briefly imprisoned, Objee escapes on account of being a musclebound bear and gets a lift from the Coast Guard station at Kings Point.
From there, Objee takes a more circuitous route (especially considering that the filming location for his drop-off point is ). He makes his way back home by Shore Line East train, bicycle, and van, stopping at a couple of places to do his mascot duty in rallying support for the Bears. He finally makes it back on campus, despite not having a photo ID, for a joyful reunion with the band, cheerleaders, and football team.
The original Objee may have gone through an even more epic journey. According to the Coast Guard Academy Parents Association, the school's mascot was made a bear after the name of a cutter serving in the Arctic. In 1926, a cadet returned from leave with a live bear cub. He managed to convince the academy's leaders to keep it on campus, although they probably did so with reluctance; the mascot's name is short for "objectionable presence." A total of 27 bears lived and sometimes roamed about the grounds until the end of the tradition in 1984.
Did Objee's triumphant return inspire the team enough for a victory? Sadly, no. The Merchant Marine Academy increased its record to 21 wins on Saturday with a 43-37 victory.