I Think the King Triton Statue is Lame


Rebranding school spirit with a dope campuswide symbol would seem like a good idea. With Triton being the son of Poseidon, and with our proximity to the ocean, the UCSD mascot has serious potential for ass-kicking cred. But when they revealed the statue, I learned that everything in life is botchable.  

Our King Triton statue is uncertainly held up by three uneven shiny poles. There’s a joke of a fountain below him. Meager spurts of water spray the supporting poles and end up splashing out and sloppily trickling away. It’s sacrilegious that our statue takes a god of the goddamn ocean and puts him on top of a leaky puddle. 

The transition from awkward fish tail to human torso makes poor Triton look like a Frankenstatue. In his left arm, he’s clutching a midget Trident much shorter than what our prison-ripped King Triton mascot carried around athletic events long before 2008. In his outstretched right arm is a conch shell. But instead of looking like a heroic deity calling a sea monster to crush our athletic competition, with his slight backwards tilt, the Triton depicted in the statue looks like a tipsy, bearded merman trying to get the last drop of rum out of a seashell.

I should stop here and say that I unquestionably support Triton spirit. I cheered through every home soccer game this season, campaigned for D-I athletics, and helped stop A.S. Council from further cutting the Triton Tide budget. But when students complain that we don’t have school spirit, we should look at the big picture.  

It’s not that our midterms are too hard — places like Michigan and Stanford wear spirit on their sleeves. It’s not that our mascot is lame — Triton would merk Tommy Trojan if he had to. In a lot of ways, what we lack is robust tradition.  

Sure, as a student body, we loathe professors who schedule midterms on Sun God. But that just means our deepest campuswide tradition is celebrating the yearly occasion on which UCSD hands out more underage drinking citations than any other day. 

I can’t tell you exactly how to build university tradition. But as with King Triton, when we create something with the potential to become a longstanding rallying call for our student body, it should, needless to say, be done right. You can’t compensate for a lame statue by using wide-angle photos to make it look impressive. That doesn’t foster tradition. 

Unfortunately, since bronze has a rather long half-life, it’s unlikely that the King Triton will disappear anytime soon. Really, what we deserve are campuswide traditions more profound than politely putting up with a lame statue.