University of Pennsylvania alumnus Matt Robinson has long had a “thing” for mascots.
“I will never forget going to the Brown-Harvard football games as a kid with my father,” Robinson recalls. “The game was never all that great, but I was captivated by the bear!”
For many years, Robinson dreamed of following his father to Brown and becoming the Ivy League university’s mascot.
“I just loved how he or she just ran around and acted crazy, hidden inside the giant bear head so nobody knew who he or she was,” Robinson explains.
After graduating high school, Robinson ended up following another path, but the love of the Brown Bear and other mascots stuck with him- so much so that when it came time for the 20-year journalist to write his first book, the choice of topic was easy.
“I had seen books in which one of the BIG 10, PAC-12 or SEC mascots take you on tours of their campuses,” said Robinson. “But I had never seen anything like that for the Ivy League. As I went to Penn, my wife to Dartmouth, my dad to Brown, etc. I already had familiarity with many of these schools, so I decided to write the book that I could not find.”
The result is “Lions, Tigers, and … Bulldogs? An unofficial guide to the legend and lore of the Ivy League.” In this book, Robinson presents stories and legends about the Ivy League, including how the schools were selected, how the name came to be, and more. There is also a special section dedicated to Ivy League athletics. The book then visits each of the “Ancient Eight” campuses and offers select facts about their people, places, and traditions.
Robinson explains that although the idea had been in his mind for many years, he had always put it aside when a new writing assignment came across the transom. When his father was diagnosed with dementia in 2015, Robinson made a vow to the man who introduced him to the Ivy League in the first place.
“I promised my dad that the book would see the light of day, even if it meant turning down other work,” he said.
In preparation for what would have been his late father’s 80th birthday on Aug. 21, Robinson plans to release the book in early Aug. through his website lionstigersbulldogs.com. As an added bonus, those who order before August 21 can get the book for just $8 (“one dollar for each Ivy League school,” Robinson explains).
In addition to ordering the book, visitors to the website can try to win a copy by answering trivia questions.