Written by Aaron-Michael Fox.

Marco the Bison, the beloved mascot for Marshall University, is one of the most popular in college sports (winning the National Mascot Championship in 1992) and is a familiar feature to MU fans at all athletic and community outreach events involving the university.

The American Bison is also the national mammal of the United States. After being hunted to near extinction in the late 1800s, on May 9, 2016, President Barack Obama signed the National Bison Legacy Act into law. This officially made the American Bison the national mammal of the United States and put it among the ranks of the Bald Eagle as an official symbol of these states united.

The American Bison is an incredible mascot for America and Marshall University for reasons ranging from its intelligence to its majestic appearance to its impressive athletic abilities to the fact that it’s the largest animal to roam North America in 20,000 years. They are generally docile but can be very dangerous when provoked. They are adept swimmers, can jump 6-ft fences, and can run faster than most horses.

Recently, bison have risen in popularity as a symbol of resilience in the physical fitness and mental health communities for one very specific reason: unlike cattle and most other animals, bison face incoming storms head-on. It is said they are the only animals known to do so because heading into the storm shortens the length of exposure to the extreme elements.

There is a huge lesson to be learned here.

We all face “storms” in the form of challenges and obstacles every day, both personally and professionally. This might be small and irritating or an earth-shattering gut punch that rocks you to your core. The symbolism of the resplendent bison running face-first into the blizzard teaches us to approach our storms head-on.

Don’t run away from your storms. Don’t avoid them. Don’t hope they will pass you by. Be like Marco and greet them with passion and purpose.

But there is one more lesson for us Sons and Daughters of Marshall: Bison in the wild are rarely seen alone. You will be much more likely to stand your storms if you stick with your “herd” of people who support you.

So go ahead, Marcos and Marshas, run headlong into 2024 and meet your storms horns-first

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