No one really knows what Downtown is.
You know, Downtown?
The big, furry blue thing the York Revolution calls its mascot. Is it an alien from a galaxy far, far away? A giant bug? A mutant bird?
I guess at this point it doesn't really matter. It's up to your imagination to draw your own conclusions on the origins of the Revs' mascot.
Well, that's not entirely true. Downtown partly originated from the mind of David Raymond, the original Philly Phanatic who has been running Raymond Entertainment for the last 20 years. In a nutshell, the company develops mascots. And just like it did with the Revolution, the company is near completion of developing the next mascot for York College, which announced two weeks ago it's keeping the Spartan nickname, but retiring its Spartan mascot.
A year in the making: Paul Saikia, the York College assistant dean for athletics and recreation, isn't exactly sure how long the school's current Spartan mascot outfit has been around. He believes it's somewhere around 15 years old.
"Our old costume had become rather worn. It was asked of me and of (York College director of student activities and orientation) Sara Goodwin if we could look into replacing it," Saikia said last week. "At which point we started researching and looking more into mascot uniforms. As we did that, we became more intrigued with the whole thing and started thinking outside the box and looking bigger and maybe looking to more than just buying a new costume."
That led to Raymond, who estimates his company has worked with more than 20 colleges over the last five years to develop mascots, including Millersville, Kutztown and East Stroudsburg.
Raymond and his team has spent the last year meeting with just about everybody at York College, from trustees to faculty members to students, gathering ideas along the way.
"At the end of those meetings we build a plan on paper and we follow it and we start to develop that back-story of the mascot," Raymond said. "That back-story is more important than what the character actually is. When they (fans) hear that back-story of the character, they'll feel like 'OK, it's one of us.'"
Spartan wannabe: Raymond and Saikia declined to discuss the details of what the new mascot will actually be.
"Our thinking is that York College would always be the Spartans but that our mascot wouldn't be a Spartan," Saikia said. "In that regard, he's a Spartan wannabe. We went through a design process and it was really fun. I got word the other day he's complete now."
The school is still working out the details on when the new mascot will be unveiled, but Saikia said it'll be sometime in late October.
"The intent is to have this mascot having a broader reach into the community," Saikia said. "It will provide a lot more exposure and a lot of opportunities."
I don't have much of an opinion on whether York College's old Spartan mascot should go or not. I'm just hoping the school's new mascot doesn't leave us asking the same questions we have about Downtown.
-- Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.