New year, new Sparty

Tania Owens
After cheering, dancing and motivating the crowd, Sparty poses with fellow students during the first round of the playoffs at Cordova High School. The White Station Spartans won 28-7 against Bartlett High School.

A packed student section. Friday night lights. Loud, cheerful chants. The only thing missing from a typical football game was the mascot: Sparty. Luckily, Stevion Young (12) took up the mantle and led White Station to the playoffs. 

Young heard about the opportunity to be the mascot–which he likes to call “Big Sparta”– through the school’s Instagram page. Because of his personality and skill sets, he was motivated to try out and become a staple of school spirit. 

“I’m really like an excited person, so I’m really good at getting people pumped up,” Young said.  “And plus I’ve always wanted to do something like that because [entertainment is] kind of my thing.”

He beat out 12 other aspirants by completing a round of challenges that showed off how he could pump up a crowd and match the energy of cheerleaders. Although all competitors brought different talents to the table, Young focused more on his ability to motivate.  

“The competition was kind of hot because all the people there were really funny and good at being acrobatic,” Young said. “…overall I was worried about not being hype enough.”

When the news broke that he was picked, Young became excited about upcoming games and the experiences he would gain but hesitated as he considered his peers’ reactions to him being the mascot. 

“Before my first game, I was worried about people going to think it’s cool,” Young said. “I didn’t know what to expect… because it’s such a diverse school, and people have different opinions.”

Young’s first game became his favorite memory because the night resulted in a victory for the White Station Spartans, and he was able to take photos with other students and dance with the crowd.

“We were basically winning the whole time, so the crowd was really hype,” Young said. “It was a really fun time.”

Taking on Sparty came with responsibilities and physical demands that Young has to manage since his presence is required for certain events.  

“It’s very tiring; I’m tired after every game, and so if I don’t see you [wave or say ‘hi’]–the vision in the mask is kind of hard–it’s not personal,” Young said. “I know with basketball season coming up… it’s getting kind of difficult because they have so many games.”

As the school mascot, Young strives to raise school spirit and make experiences fun so people want to come to school and participate. 

“[School spirit] is something that I feel like is important to keep everybody focused because it’s hard to want to go to school if there is nothing to want [to do] there besides just work,” Young said.

Young’s positive influence has made assuming this role of leadership worthwhile. 

“Seeing the smiles on everybody’s faces and being able to make people laugh and making people happy [are worth it],” Young said. “I’m a people-pleaser.”