Otis: An Inside Look at Shorecrest’s Mascot

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Otis: An Inside Look at Shorecrest’s Mascot

Otis hypes up fans at a Shorecrest Football game.

Otis hypes up fans at a Shorecrest Football game.

Otis hypes up fans at a Shorecrest Football game.

Otis hypes up fans at a Shorecrest Football game.

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You’ve seen him stir up the crowd at Friday night football games and dance at Pep Assemblies, but what do you really know about Otis? There’s a lot more to our favorite mascot than just a costume; it takes determination, spirit, and hard work to be a member of Shorecrest’s Otis team. Joining the team is “a great way to hangout and be with people who are super hyphy and share the same excitement about getting people excited,” says Head Otis, the team’s most experienced member. As Head Otis, this senior is responsible for scheduling which events the mascot will attend, running monthly meetings, teaching new cheers, and running tryouts.

Tryouts looked a little different this year than they have in the past, explained Head Otis. Due to heightened interest, membership to the team is going be cut. Increase in appeal can be attributed to better advertising of tryout opportunities and the mascot’s more frequent presence this past year at baseball games, away football games, and non-sporting events. A new segment of tryouts, a self-designed routine by the contestants, will help the judges make some tough decisions. Auditions include an instructional workshop done in feedback model style, where contestants are informed about how they can improve as they tryout. Finally, the competitors end with a surprise freestyle cheer, in which they have to perform a cheer on the spot. Once the final cuts are made, Shorecrest will have a newly assembled team of hyphy mascots. “Our whole team is just great people from different grades,” says Head Otis. Tryouts may be over this year, but there is one spot open next fall for those interested in continuing Otis’s legacy.

Many Shorecrest students wonder about these identities of these spirited students. We aren’t supposed to know, Otis’s many identities are intentionally kept secret from the rest of the student body. “It’s a lot of fun to put on a mask and not be you,” says Head Otis when asked why they remain anonymous, “you don’t need to be afraid for people to laugh at you, it’s a way you can go express your school spirit in a fun way.” But don’t fret, Otis will reveal themselves eventually. In the past, Otis’s have found creative ways to tell Shorecrest who they really are; a picture of themselves putting the costume on placed in the yearbook, or even wearing the jersey to Cain Laida. “You will find out before they graduate who the mascot is,” Head Otis informs the student body, “so just be patient.” Maintaining anonymity is just one of several problems a mascot experiences. Otis explains that it’s often tough finding discreet ways to change before and after games, and fighting off those who use more forceful measures to find out Otis’s identity. “I literally had someone [try] to pull off my head and it’s actually scary,” says Otis. “I wish people would just be okay with having it be a secret.”

Contrary to what many assume, being a mascot isn’t always just a hobby, in fact many Shorecrest Otis’s have gone on to mascot in college; the head mascot who graduated about eight years ago went on to be the Gonzaga Bulldog, and our most recent head mascot continued their work at the University of Las Vegas. Our current Head Otis is no different from their predecessors. “The college that I’m talking with right now has expressed interest in wanting a new mascot,” Head Otis says, and they plan to take on that role. But the main point of being Otis, explains our current mascot, is to make Shorecrest an inspired, spirited, and involved student body who wants to attend sporting games and other events. “If [the mascot] is enjoying it and [they’re] having fun,” says Head Otis, “then the crowd is going to really have fun.”