Ted has seen it all. He was there when the Golden Valley boys basketball team secured its second-straight Foothill League title in 2010. He was there for Golden Valley football’s CIF-Southern Section Divison 6 championship game in 2017.
He wore a handkerchief for Western-themed games and tie-dye for hippie-themed games. But on Friday night, Ted saw his last-ever Grizzlies football game.
The Golden Valley student section’s mascot, a teddy bear affectionately named “Ted,” vanished from the bleachers after Friday night’s football game against Canyon. Spirit captain Simon Saddy and ASB vice president Alyssa Hiestand were cutting down a banner when Simon realized Ted was gone.
“Alyssa was like, ‘Hey, where’s Ted?’ literally, a minute after I had laid Ted down just like, right on the ground,” Saddy said. “And then I’m like, ‘Oh he’s right…there.’ And then he wasn’t there.”
After realizing what had happened, Golden Valley ASB president Sammy Scaglione reached out to Canyon’s ASB, asking if they had seen Ted. Saddy took to social media, asking for people to tweet any information they had about Ted’s whereabouts.
Word spread quickly. Grizzly sports teams were helping to spread the word on social media, while Canyon ASB was conducting a search of its own.
“We went over to (Canyon’s) side and they were trying to help us like, ‘Okay what do you want us to say so that we can get the word out as quickly as possible,’” Scaglione said. “I think they understood what Ted meant to us … I think it was very much a collective effort on a lot of different fronts.”
The search intensified quickly because to Golden Valley, Ted isn’t just a bear. When the school’s student section, “The Den,” first formed eight years ago, Ted became a physical, unifying icon for the Grizzlies and their identity.
“Ted, he’s our mascot, so it symbolizes like, the just Golden Valley as a whole,” said Derresse Morganfield II, a linebacker on the Grizzlies football team.
“It was a prank, it was a little funny, but not our mascot, please. Something else.”
The Den has decided to honor Ted and usher in a new teddy bear mascot, whose name has not been finalized just yet, at this week’s Homecoming pep rally. There will also be a balloon release in Ted’s honor at Friday’s football game between Hart and Golden Valley.
“I think, for us, it matters not as much what happened but how do we move forward from here and how do we properly go about starting a new tradition and handling it, getting closure on that old one,” Hiestand said.
“It might seem like something really, we’re being dramatic about,” Scaglione said, “but in reality, it’s actually something that means a lot to us.”
While the new mascot might not be able to completely replace Ted, he or she will be able to simultaneously embody everything about Golden Valley’s past as well as the promises for its future.
“I’m kind of excited for that because if it’s something like a new Ted, it’ll be something that a lot of people can participate in,” Scaglione said. “It’s a new thing for all of us in that it’s a collective and uniting thing.”