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New Sports Mascot

Colonel Parker to Be Joined by the Eagle

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The new Eagle mascot waves in the Homecoming Rally next to upper school math teacher Vicki Lee.

The new Eagle mascot waves in the Homecoming Rally next to upper school math teacher Vicki Lee.

Photo by Jenna Mansueto

Photo by Jenna Mansueto

The new Eagle mascot waves in the Homecoming Rally next to upper school math teacher Vicki Lee.

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Since 2002, Parker’s athletic teams have been represented by an old, bald man, or at least a costume signifying one–Colonel Parker. But starting this year, the Colonel has been joined by a younger, furrier, and more gender-neutral mascot–the Eagle.

The Eagle made its official debut at a Morning Ex on September 18 titled “History of the Mascot.” After a brief introduction video featuring the Colonel and the Eagle causing mischief around school while chased by Athletic Director Bobby Starks, they together ran on stage to cheers and applause.

With bright yellow legs and beak and a navy blue jacket adorned with medals, the Eagle represents the insignia of a Colonel, a rank held by Francis Parker while fighting in the Civil War. The original Colonel Parker mascot is not being replaced–just added to.

“Part of what I wanted to do with the mascot was a refresh in general of the Colonel’s costume,”  Starks said. “There comes a point when you have to get a new costume, and we’re still looking into that, but we had an opportunity to create more of the Colonel Crew, and we wanted to come up with a new mascot, a more friendly mascot.”

The mascot renewal was prompted by a series of concerns brought up by members of the Parker community last year. According to Starks, some of these concerns were that Colonel Parker was frightening to lower school students, the poor shape of the costume reflected badly on the school, and people were not getting excited enough about the mascot at Parker sports events.

“I had gotten a lot of feedback,” Starks said. “And unfortunately, that current Colonel Parker suit was not inclusive and did not represent the entire community. We wanted to seize upon that and get that fixed.”

This need for inclusiveness was addressed in Starks’s presentation at the MX as well, with a slide that listed “reduce alienation of our audience” in regards to “gender and race (real or implied)” as a reason for choosing the Eagle as a new mascot. Starks also mentioned that the Eagle, as an animal, presented greater behavioral flexibility and would be more dynamic, adding a new level of excitement to sports games at Parker.

Head varsity soccer coach Neil Curran is optimistic that the Eagle will enhance Parker sports but still thinks there is more to be done. “I hope that the mascot increases excitement about Parker sports, and if we could rally behind the Eagle, it would be great,” Curran said, “but the main thing that’s missing in terms of us being a truly great athletic culture is a true formed identity of us as a school and as a unified body.”

Senior and field hockey captain Brianna Boone agrees. “I think it will be interesting to see if it can be integrated into our community after having our normal mascot, Colonel Parker, for so long,” Boone said. “I think it’s always nice to have change, though, and bring something new to our sports.”

Additions to Parker’s mascots might not stop at the Eagle. “We think it’s a great idea to expand our mascot and our brand of the Colonel Crew,” Starks said. “We have some ideas, and we’ll see when we execute upon those. But right now the Eagle has landed, so we’re focusing on that.”

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New Sports Mascot