University of Alabama-Birmingham athletic director Mark Ingram didn’t know what a Komodo dragon was.
Well, he kind of did. But not really.
Ingram, who was hired at UAB in 2015 after a stint at Temple, was inspired by a tradition he started with the Owls — where he partnered with the Philadelphia Zoo to bring a live owl to their games.
Now, that’s a fun idea. Temple fans love it, too. So, when he moved to UAB and learned their mascot was the Blazers, he tried to bring a real, live dragon to Legion Field.
It didn’t take long for him to learn how bad and extremely dangerous that idea really was.
“I thought the same thing coming here. How cool would it be to get a Komodo dragon? As luck would have it, within my first couple of weeks, someone from the Birmingham Zoo was here for a meeting. Introduced, and I said, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe you’re here. I’ve got this idea I want to share with you. What do you think having a Komodo dragon?’ And they looked at me like I was crazy.
“They said, ‘You understand this is basically like an alligator?’ I said, ‘No, I didn’t. I thought it was more like a large iguana.’ They said, ‘No, it’s a meat-eating carnivore and it’d be like having an alligator here.’
“I said, ‘Oh, OK, well maybe you could bring it, it could be in a cage? Because LSU and Memphis, there’s a lot of people who have tigers like that.’ They said, ‘Well, what about the spit?’ I said, ‘I don’t understand.’
“They said, ‘They spit at their prey and the spit causes paralysis. So, you know, they can go and eat it.’ I said, ‘So this is a bad idea is what you’re saying?’
“Children getting spit on and paralyzed, and eaten, potentially, by the Komodo dragon. I thought it seemed like a great idea, but apparently it’s not as good of an idea as I once thought.”
Hey, Ingram deserves points for creativity here. After all, no other school would have had a live dragon on campus like that.
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