Timmy the Titan: Where has our mascot been?

Timmy the Titan—a name that was previously known to strike fear into the hearts of Vikings, Eagles, Spartans and any other local rivals t0 Gunn. Nowadays, though, it seems like fewer and fewer students are able to recognize Gunn’s mascot, largely because they have never had the chance to see him. This begs the question: who exactly is Timmy the Titan and where has he been?

I decided to approach the issue by first looking into Timmy’s history. Originally a nameless mascot simply known as Gunn’s Titan, the name “Timmy” was first adopted in the early 2000s. The mascot is a figure of many contradictions, notably relating to his origins in the Greek pantheon; he often wields Olympian god Zeus’ lightning bolt despite being a Titan in name. It is for this reason that the statue of Timmy in the Titan Gym—created by Gunn alumni William Wang, Charlie Yang and Tony Yin—wields a scepter instead of Zeus’s bolt and trades the Spartan helmet for a cape to more accurately depict the Titans of Greek mythology.

I contacted junior Evan Gold, the current Spirit Commissioner, since he would understand best what Timmy means to Gunn students. “Timmy the Titan is tangible, but at the same time he’s like a feeling in the air—he’s like the wind,” Gold said. Evidently, there is no one “Timmy” that exists, but rather many different interpretations that have come and gone over the years. His primary purpose, when all is said and done, is to remain a mascot representing the mighty and spirited Gunn Titans. “Timmy’s just so strong [and that’s] such an attractive thing,” Gold said. “I’m hoping Timmy can provide a sense of hype [to Gunn in the future].”

Indeed, like most school mascots, Timmy has brought hype to sports games and events like the Homecoming Night Rally in past years. In the 2021-2022 school year, however, Timmy’s only appearance has been at the freshman orientation at the beginning of the school year. But why is this the case? How come he hasn’t been out and about with the student body? I decided to speak with Student Activities Director Lisa Hall, Gunn’s expert on all school events and longtime friend of Timmy the Titan.

The primary difficulty Hall described with having Timmy come out to events is that there needs to be someone responsible for bringing him to life. Without dedicated students to don the Titan costume and make regular appearances, the excitement that Timmy brings would be limited. “It’s just a matter of having folks to animate Timmy and make those appearances,” explained Hall. “There’s a time commitment there that’s hard to do at the high school level.”

So far this year, there has been one person who stepped up and took the mantle of Timmy the Titan, appearing at freshman orientation to bring school spirit as well as inspire other students. Hall pointed me in the direction of the  man behind the mask that day—none other than Junior Class Vice President Juno Kim. I sat down with him for a quick talk—titan to titan.

He told me that he enjoyed the time spent animating Timmy and acting out the role of mascot. “It was a bit like I represented Gunn [which] was pretty fun,” he said. Still, there are a number of factors—besides being a heavy time commitment—that limit the Titan’s appearances. For one, other portrayers would have to gauge the safety of sharing the same costume for multiple events. “The problem is COVID-19 right now [and] whether people feel comfortable with that,” Kim said.

Despite these challenges, implementing a system to find dedicated student volunteers can lead to a strong comeback by the Titan. Hall, Gold and Kim all said that the two major determining factors for who can act as Timmy are student interest and a willingness to dedicate significant amounts of time to the position. Gold, who is passing the role of Spirit Commissioner onto junior Nico Ross, wants to see some exciting performances from the students animating Timmy. “I wrote to Nico [and said] that I hope he can fill the role of Timmy with someone like a gymnast,” Gold said. Having a student capable of performances such as tricks, dances and showcases of physical skill would inspire other students to follow suit and bolster a sense of school unity. Depending on student interest, there is a possibility that Timmy will be able to make a splash at more events in the future.

The result of my investigation? I determined that, sooner or later, Timmy will make a triumphant return, as Gunn has shown it can do. Regardless of whoever the person behind the mask in the future may be, Timmy has and will continue to embody the strong school spirit at Gunn. After all was said and done, I was interested in hearing how Kim would describe the concept of Timmy the Titan. He put it succinctly: “Awesome.”