I keep a framed photo of James Garner up in my office. He stares at me from beneath a black hat, blue sky over his shoulder, and a look on his face like he might be holding a royal flush. Or pair of deuces. I get asked about it from time to time, and I like to say that I’m lucky to work at a school with James Garner as a mascot.
Parents get it. Teachers, except for the young ones, do too.
My heart goes out to the folks who never saw Garner in the television series “Maverick” …and I want to lock them in a room and show them the whole series. I want them to see, because even though mine’s a silly joke, there’s truth in it. This iconic, and iconoclastic character is, in many ways, La Costa Canyon High School.
Good natured, free spirited, kind to the kind, and a little bit lucky, I like that LCC isn’t afraid to take chances, forge a new path, gamble failure from time to time for the chance at big results.
LCC Mavericks? We’re the ones who sell out Comedy Sportz games every month. We’re the ones with Chem teachers who wear tie-dyed labcoats. We’re the ones with the English teacher who published a novel about skateboarding. Mavericks? We’ve got students who run marathons, give TED talks, and make music that gets thousands of plays on soundcloud in a day. LCC Mavericks? Yes.
That’s not to say that we don’t sometimes misbehave, LCC is a collection of teenagers after all, but confidence isn’t criminal, and malice isn’t part of who we are. Peek past the black hat we sometimes wear and you’ll find true kindness, a genuine smile, and a desire to do right.
The James Garner of 1958 would feel at home sauntering onto campus, so too would the James Garner of 2014, who would find funny, friendly, and big hearted students welcoming to all.
Other schools in our area have mascots that are birds, or horses, or representatives of ancient civilizations, and while we put a horned cow on our jerseys, it’s nice to know that in our hearts, we’re James Garner. We’re Mavericks.