As the team ran out onto the field of Memorial Stadium, four year-old Alex Rorie wasn’t paying attention to the numbers on the black and gold jerseys. His eyes were fixed on the tiger spraying the crowd with water as it rode by in a fire truck. As the game began, Rorie pulled his parents through the crowded stands so he could get his picture taken with that tiger—Truman, the MU mascot.
Rorie and his family continued going to Missouri football games. Through the years, Rorie was inspired by how Truman brought the whole stadium together.
“[Truman] gets everyone really excited and really pumped about the game,” Rorie said. “He’s got the emotion of the whole team, the whole stands—he’s exuding that.”
Now a junior, Rorie saw the familiar tiger at the College Clinic. Mascots don’t speak but Rorie had a question for Truman. So instead he asked the woman there representing MU what it would take to follow in his childhood idol’s footsteps. She told Rorie that being a high school mascot would put him a step above the competition to be Truman.
Now Rorie had a plan—become the East mascot.
Being a mascot isn’t new to Rorie. When he was in the fifth grade at Corinth Elementary, Papa John’s gave the school a discount on pizza for the carnival. Papa John’s needed a mascot at the school on carnival night, so Rorie volunteered to be ‘the pizza guy.’
Looking through the big black mesh eyes of his pizza slice costume, Rorie danced from game to game at the carnival. At the cake walk he hokey-pokeyed his way around the circle. He comically missed every toss by a mile at the ring toss. He scurried after the kids who stole his white Mickey Mouse gloves.
Rorie liked using his energy to get people excited so much that he reprised his role as the pizza guy in the sixth grade. He liked entertaining the school—but it was then Rorie realized what he really wanted was a bigger venue. A venue 100 yards long.
This October, Rorie started his efforts towards becoming the Lancer mascot by talking to Principal Karl Krawitz. Rorie told Dr. Krawitz that he was interested in bringing a mascot to East and explained his feeling that a mascot would increase school spirit.
Krawitz said he was interested in the idea of having a mascot. It had never occurred to him that we didn’t have one and he had never questioned not seeing one at events.
“It would be a visual symbol of who we are,” Krawitz said. “ It would be a good thing to have and I would hope it would be embraced by the student body.”
Krawitz said that the mascot’s support should be at all types of school events—from fundraising events to games to cheerleading camps. After talking with Rorie about the idea of a mascot, Krawitz sent him to athletic director Jim Ricker to continue the process.
Rorie and Ricker discussed the need for a mascot and worked to find a costume supplier. Ricker called Shawnee Mission South and asked where they had gotten the Raider costume for their mascot. From South, Ricker found out about Scollon Productions, a leading mascot manufacturing company.
After finding the company name, Ricker discussed costume possibilities with Rorie. The two options would be a full suit of armor or simply a Lancer head.
Ricker then passed the project onto Pep Club sponsor Nick Paris. Since the mascot’s purpose would be to bring spirit and pep to East, Pep Club seemed like a fitting organization to take it on.
So far Pep Club has seen one design from Scollon but with the price in the thousands, Paris said they will have to do substantial fundraising before making a decision. Paris expects organizations such as the PTA to chip in towards the mascot costume.
Pep Club has never had mascot try-outs before but depending on the level of interest they may this year.
Although he is helping to bring the role of mascot to East, Rorie hopes for the tradition to continue after he has left.
“To have a tangible mascot can strengthen the image of the school,” Rorie said. “Like a sports team can strengthen the image of the school by doing well, the mascot will become something you think of when you think of the school.”
After leaving East, Rorie hopes he’ll have a different view of MU games. He doesn’t want to be in the stands, waiting for the sound of a firetruck’s engine. He hopes to be the symbol with all eyes on him—silently cheering on the players.