Everyone at BGSU knows of Freddie and Frieda Falcon. The pair can be seen together all around campus dancing, cheering at sporting events, participating in the latest fads and pantomiming with students. However, not everyone knows the exact nature of their relationship.
When interviewing first year students, most seemed to be unsure of how Freddie and Frieda were connected and scared of getting the question wrong. Even faculty members such as professors and librarians were skeptical about their knowledge of the Falcons upon being asked.
A majority of students, such as Suzanne Tomak, thought Freddie and Frieda were brother and sister. Others speculated they had a romantic relationship, and none thought they were simply best friends. Only two of the first year students surveyed, Sydney Sobieralski and Maya Brooks, knew the full story. In short, the correct answer is all of the above.
Freddie Falcon was created in 1950 by the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity as a singular mascot. Despite costume changes, he has stayed relatively the same throughout the decades. His feathered partner is a different story.
In 1966, a Mrs. Freddie Falcon appeared unofficially on Feb. 25 portrayed by a male cheerleader. This was the first appearance of a female counterpart for Freddie, but was short-lived since Mrs. Falcon would disappear within the year.
After that, there were multiple informal reincarnations of a female Falcon. One of them appeared during the 1970-1971 school year at home women’s basketball games. She served as a substitute for Freddie, who often did not attend women’s sports. The other variation emerged in 1974 beside Freddie at the Ohio University-BGSU homecoming football celebrations. Besides a brief reference in a news article in the BGSU archives, there is no other evidence of her.
Finally, in 1980, the official version of Freida was released, this time painted as Freddie’s sidekick sister with Sue Sheard originally donning the mask. This version would become the definitive Frieda.
The college has detailed a portion of this history online but doesn’t dwell on the female mascot’s role as Freddie’s “Mrs.” in the ‘60s. When asked if Freddie or Frieda ever had a love interest, Tyler Strom, head coach of the Spirit Program, responded with a flat “no.”
“I think they (students) assume this because the(y) portray a ‘male’ and ‘female’ character. Not realizing they could be siblings,” said Strom in response to why people assume the Falcons are romantically involved.
Another possible explanation of the misconception is fear. People are simply too afraid to ask who Freddie and Frieda are because it is expected they know without being told.
There are some students — such as Sobieralski and Brooks — that seek out information on the topic; however, lack of communication and miscommunication are much more common causes of the misconception.
Addressing the question of the Falcons’ relation, Freddie has had a wife, a friend and a sister mascot, but those mascots are not formally recognized as Frieda. In the end, as with most relationships, it's both complicated and simple.