Golden Pig ran its course, new good luck charm is in order

What weighs 1,100 pounds and could give Mr. T a hernia?

No, not Aunt Fern's Christmas fruitcake.

In the depths of the football stadium, a former comrade of the offensive line sits all alone, locked in the dark in its home that once served as a locker room. Now that the football players have relocated to the new facility, no one can hear his squeals of despair.

The Golden Pig -- cement runs through its veins -- used to be utilized by the football staff as a motivational tool. The pig was specifically for the offensive linemen and quite a reputation could develop upon receiving weekly pig awards, according to Rich Spisak, offensive coordinator who is in his 17th season with the Ball State football team.

"It works," Spisak said. "It helped our guys play better."

Pig awards weren't distributed willy-nilly, but were based upon a weekly and accumulative points system.

For the weekly award, the "Boss Hog of the Week" received a pig magnet painted in gold. Pig trophies made of wood were given and the "Boss Hog of the Year" was awarded to the best lineman at the year-end football banquet.

"We gave out T-shirts and hats, and it became the premiere award," Spisak said. "The winner even got a big plaque. We made it a big deal for them, and they really took to it."

The Golden Pig wasn't originally golden. When the Big Bone Lick restaurant just north of the Muncie Liquors on Riverside, closed, Spisak and friends offered $100 for the cement pig that sat out front.

"We were just looking for something new to help our guys work a little bit harder," Spisak said. "These kind of things usually work better with a big group of people."

Spisak instituted the Golden Pig club about 1996 or 1997, and he said it "ran its course" after about three years.

Now, I've never seen the pig, because it's under lock and key underneath the football stands. There's also a plaque with the pig, listing the parties who contributed to its cost, and I haven't seen it either.

But I assure you it's not a myth. Spisak told me that the pig is "big enough to ride on."

Those who recall the pig at its old home on Wheeling, remember a 6-foot long pig perched on a pedestal and standing about 4 feet tall.

In the absence of the Golden Pig for encouragement, something new should signify good luck for the football Cardinals.

Many schools have their lucky charms on the sideline. For example, Georgia has a bulldog.

Even though the Golden Pig never sat on the sidelines, I think it is time that Ball State football acquire a new good luck animal, besides Charlie Cardinal.

My suggestion: the purple hippopotamus that is in front of McDonald's Pet and Gift Shop on McGalliard.

Not only would the purple hippopotamus a very recognizable icon on the field, the hippopotamus is a valid choice as a symbol of a subservience.

Instead of sweat glands, the hippo has glands that secrete a reddish fluid. The appearance of this red fluid makes it look as if the hippo sweats blood. This fluid helps protect their sensitive skin.

Should Spisak ever have a concrete reason for needing the services of the Golden Pig, it's not leaving its home beneath the bleachers. It sits alone, seemingly entombed, feeling neglected and waiting for its turn to make football golden again.

"I don't think we could even move it over here to the new building, because it is so heavy," Spisak said. "I don't think the administration would like it being over here in the new building."

Write to Melissa at mmlinder@bsu.edu


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