Vikings and tigers and bears, oh my!

Thursday , November 30, 2017 - 10:57 PM

CATHY TAYLOR/Syracuse High School

By LONDON MAYNARD
TX. Correspondent

Sometimes it’s an animal, sometimes a specific type of person, and sometimes the name seems a little odd, but we all know and love our high school mascots. From warriors to tigers, these well-known faces play an important role in a high school’s identity.

What exactly is a mascot? Well, first off, it might help to know where the word itself originates from. This word actually stems from the French term “mascotte,” which means lucky charm.

Mascots stand as good luck animals for various teams, schools and organizations.

The very first mascots were animals chosen to intimidate opposing sports teams. Mascots are no longer just for school sports teams; over time, these animals have evolved into more familiar and friendly faces that help promote and create support for schools overall.

Mascots don’t even have to be animals anymore! In fact, vikings, warriors and knights have become very popular choices. Sometimes schools even choose a mascot that represents their history or location. Both colleges and high schools alike take pride in the mascot that represents their school and its sports.

Beyond school days

Not only are mascots seen representing sports teams, but have you ever considered the familiar faces that we see every morning on our cereal boxes? Believe it or not, those are mascots too! A silly rabbit, a cuckoo bird with a chocolate craving, and an unlucky leprechaun who faces a group of kids constantly trying to steal his charms are all mascots that we associate with a specific type of cereal.

Besides cereal, mascots are also out there representing other foods, popular movies and amusement parks (think of that famous mouse).

Right in our very own state of Utah, we have plenty of great high school mascots to look at. Our high schools share a good mix of animals, human figures, and a couple of oddball mascots as well. Each of the high school mascots in the state creates a specific identity for each member of the high school to hold onto.

There are different reasons that each mascot of each high school is so great. No two mascots should be looked at in the very same light. Some even fall into more than one category of what makes a great symbol. Alliterative names, a special tie to the history or area, fun human figures, creative animals, and unique atypical names are all factors which really help make the mascot.

Alliterative mascot names effortlessly role off the tongue and are easy on the ears. Names like the Layton Lancers or the Weber Warriors use alliteration to create fun and unified sounding names.

These types of names can be great for cheers and publicity. A name like the Viewmont Vikings is super catchy and a great choice for a mascot!

Critter names rule

Schools and mascots such as the Bear River Bears and the Bountiful Braves play on alliteration, but they also tie the high school to its location.

Bear River High’s mascot kind of speaks for itself, but the Braves are a great tie to Utah’s history and the Native Americans who initially inhabited the area. Nothing says school pride like a mascot with some meaning behind it.

The Syracuse Titans, Roy Royals and Ben Lomond Scots are all local high school mascots that use a person instead of other symbols. Or strong warrior names like vikings, knights and trojans are excellent and very intimidating sounding mascots as well.

Powerful animals such as tigers, wildcats and eagles are other popular choices as intimidating high school mascots. Or more creative and unique names like the Fremont Silverwolves and the Box Elder Bees may not be as common, but they are definitely more of a signature mascot.

In general, it seems you can’t go wrong with a good old animal mascot. But every once in awhile, high schools have unique mascots that are a little more difficult to categorize. The Davis Darts are a perfect example of this very thing! A very powerful name, this mascot is one that can’t go unnoticed and definitely turns heads.

Whether you’re a Falcon, a Laker or a Dragon, a mascot creates helps create a sense of school pride — and there’s nothing wrong with that!

London Maynard is a senior at Bear River High School. Email her at londonmaynard.tx@gmail.com.