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The school newspaper of Oakville High School

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The school newspaper of Oakville High School

myOHSonline

Meaningful Mascot

Sawyer Bess (12) reflects on his time as Oakley the Tiger
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Maddy Geisler
Sawyer Bess (12) waltzes in front of the student section at the first football game of the season wearing a pool floaty and beach towel. “There’s always been a little part of me that kind of wished I got to go to a football game as a junior or senior and kind of see the whole thing…but honestly I love it (being Oakley) too much to ever worry about that,” Bess said. One of the things Bess enjoyed most about the football game was getting to shoot off the robot canon.

For the last three years, Sawyer Bess (12) has been showing up to sports games to rally the crowd as Oakley the Tiger, but with it being Bess’ senior year, Oakville will have to say goodbye to his variation of the beloved mascot and all of the flair he put into it. 

“In my sophomore year, I was given the opportunity to be the mascot because of my mom,” Bess said. “It was just a connection I had…because she works in the district and she knows the school well.”

After finding the position, Bess immediately started attending school events, donning a striped faux fur suit. 

“My first ever game was the alumni football game against Mehlville in my sophomore year,” Bess said. “I only did the one football game. I also did basketball games sophomore year.”

Joining the sports players on the field was not without cause for Bess. 

“I wanted to find a way to express the showmanship that I have and I figured that mascotting would do that—and it does,” Bess said. “I get to perform a lot, I get to do funny stuff with funny people, I get to do some cheers, I get to meet people—I do a lot of things.”

Bess says that doing all of this with the student body is enjoyable because of its drama-based nature. 

“I think I enjoy everything about it because I like acting,” Bess said. 

Bess got involved in acting in middle school and continues to participate during the summer. Being the mascot has allowed Bess to intertwine acting in a different way at school. 

“I had a little experience because before in elementary school and middle school,” Bess said. “I did dress up as a mascot, but that was only for a short term thing.”

This experience as a mascot over the last few years, however, has not always been glamorous. 

“You put on the suit and it’s smelly and hot and it’s awful,” Bess said. “But once you get used to it, it’s kind of like a workout.”

This physical activity is an event in and of itself for Bess, even before he shows up to sweat at the games. 

“On Friday nights, I get pumped up,” Bess said. “I take energy drinks and I eat a lot of food, and it’s pretty much a cardio session where I just sweat it out on the field. I know from previous years that you need to wear a headband because sweat will go into your eyes…”

With his eyes now clear of the sweat, Bess is able to gain more insight into himself. 

“I feel like I’m an open person and I learn very easily,” Bess said. “…But a good challenge is just the little details. Where do you look when you take a picture, where do you look normally when you’re walking and how do you be aware.” 

Being so aware of the others around him is something that Bess values while cheering on the team and student section from the sidelines. 

“[It’s about] having fun and making other people happy,” Bess said. 

Though his time as Oakley will come to a close, Oakley’s mission to spread happiness and tiger pride will not. 

“I’d say the main [challenge] with senior year is me trying to find an apprentice,” Bess said. 

This has been no easy task considering how seriously the responsibility is being taken by everyone involved. 

“It’s mostly me focusing on trying to find somebody who will be enthusiastic, someone who shares the passion,” Bess said, “and someone who is willing to give up Friday nights to be a mascot.”

Despite all of the energy spent trying to make Oakley as impressive as he can be, Bess puts his focus elsewhere when putting on the tiger costume. 

“It’s more just fun. It’s not hard work,” Bess said. “It’s just can I be good and can I make people happy.”

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About the Contributor
Maddy Geisler, Design Editor-In-Chief
Hey there! I'm Maddy, and I'm a senior at Oakville High School. I'm the Design Editor-in-Chief of both the school's Tiger Paw yearbook and The Prowl newspaper. I love to write about the school and showcase the interesting talents, ideas and people within it.

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