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What's in a Name? Don't Ask Roary, The Estrella Mountain Lion

Joshua Sand
EMCC Mascot, Roary the Estrella Mountain Lion
EMCC Lions

Since 2009, the official mascot of Estrella Mountain Community College has been the “Estrella Mountain Lion.” The name, though, leaves some ambiguity on whether the mascot is the “Lion of Estrella Mountain” or the “Mountain Lion of Estrella.” Since our mascot is never referred to as the “Estrella Mountain Mountain Lion,” there is some inconsistency as a result.

A small informal poll of 31 people around campus evidenced some of this mascot confusion. When asked “What is our school’s mascot?” a majority of students responded “Mountain Lions,” and close to a quarter responded “Lions.”

None of the students polled responded with the official “Estrella Mountain Lions,” and four gave a different name altogether.

Part of this confusion can be attributed to the emphasis of the word “lions” in the name of some of the school’s associated programs (like the name of this magazine, The Lion’s Perspective) and in some of the school’s promotional images and banners.

While the illustration of the mascot depicts a mountain lion without the flowing mane and other characteristics of “normal” maned lions (like the mascots of the Detroit Lions and several U.S. colleges), the sizing and placement of the words brings “LIONS” to the forefront.

One person polled in the Student Union said our mascot was the “Lions” when asked, and added that he wouldn’t have been able to answer that if a poster of it weren’t on the back wall.

Karen Harbin, Coordinator of Marketing and Public Relations, offered to clear things up:

“The official mascot of EMCC is the Mountain Lion.”

She went on to add, “We are the Estrella Mountain Lions, which is a ‘play’ on words since it would obviously be redundant to be the Estrella Mountain Mountain Lions. Additionally, there are times when the word Lion is used separately for abbreviation and emphasis, depending on the context. The Lion's Perspective is a good example.”

“Collectively, we are the "Mountain Lions," but when referencing a single student or athlete, they would be called a ‘Mountain Lion.’” So there you have it.

The student-voted name of our costumed mascot is “Roary,” like "Roary the Lion," the costumed mascot of the Detroit Lions. 

In the EMCC case, though “Roary” is troublesome and misleading because mountain lions are unable to roar... although, according to the National Park Service,  they are known  to "vocalize a penetrating scream."