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CCA bids farewell to “Cappy”

School district seeks consistency through branding

OXFORD— Fare thee well, Cappy. And may fair winds and following seas be with ye.
Cappy, the unofficial mascot of the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) high school baseball program has likely sailed his last season with the Clippers. Cappy, a grizzled ship’s Captain, was introduced to CCA in 2013 on a banner attached to the outfield fence, and quickly became something of a controversial figure.
Brent Henry, Head Coach for the program addressed the School Board of Directors in April of 2014 to explain “Cappy” and ask permission for use of the logo on baseball uniforms. “Essentially, it’s just a ship’s captain, and the idea was just furthering the idea of the Clipper ship,” he said at the time and pointed out the baseball tradition of teams developing a mascot when their name doesn’t immediately lend itself to an identifiable character. “Teams further their ‘brand’ by creating a mascot,” Henry said, giving examples such as the Oakland A’s elephant, the New York Mets’ “Mr. Mets,” the Cincinnati Reds’ “baseball guy,” Seattle’s moose and the dinosaur used by the Colorado Rockies. Locally the Cedar Rapids Kernels has “Mr. Shucks.” Henry added Cappy was not an attempt at replacing the traditional “Clipper Ship,” or be an “official logo.”
Cappy was met with some resistance from Board members, but was allowed on the condition he not appear on the team’s on-field, competition uniforms, until new uniforms were acquired.
One point brought up in the 2014 discussion was the lack of an “official” logo for the school district, with several variations of Clipper ships in use, and none particularly well-suited for use on athletic uniforms due to difficulty in embroidering or printing intricate, highly-detailed designs. Lauri Hamann, the district’s Communications Director, is on a mission to rectify the inconsistencies and develop a comprehensive branding effort for CCA, particularly when it comes to the athletic programs.
“There’s no guidelines, whatsoever on what coaches, or anybody at any level can do,” Hamann told the Board at their monthly meeting Monday, Nov. 13 at Clear Creek Elementary in Oxford. “Our (Hamann is working with students on a potential new district-wide logo, and developing branding standards) ultimate goal is a book that shows exactly what colors, PMS (Pantone Matching System, a graphics industry-wide system of identifying colors by standardized numbers), so we don’t have the confusion we have right now. We also want to ultimately get to a logo that works on many applications.”
The ship is, the district’s athletic and activity logo, she said, but asked the Board for guidance if she and the students should stick with some form of simplified ship, or incorporate other elements such as a compass, ship’s wheel or anchor; all following the nautical theme of “Clippers.”
Board consensus leaned toward sticking with a ship and sails, while interest was also expressed in the wheel and compass.
Whatever design is ultimately chosen, “It’s something that you’re going to recognize, it’s going to stand out, but it still has that key signature item of a Clipper ship. We are ‘Clippers,’ we’re not asking you to change that,” Hamann said. “We’re just wanting to get everybody on the same page for consistency, it enhances credibility, and we’re not getting any smaller so having some guidelines in place for anybody new coming through just makes it easier for everybody.”
The current hodge-podge of variations is problematic, she said. “We’re all across the board, and we’re in violation of many trademarks as well.” Cappy, she pointed out, is a blatant rip-off of a college mascot. “All we did was change the colors. So, we have a lot of trademark violations right now.” She reiterated her hope to establish standards for CCA. “I don’t think there was any malice in anything that anybody’s done,” she said, “They just haven’t been able to get the right logos that they want to use.”
Hamann was confident a ship could be drawn up, which would be applicable to the various needs (uniforms, helmets other apparel, etc.), “without walking away from the Clipper ship.” She also talked about having a “district logo,” which could be more detailed than the athletic/activities logo, for use on stationary, business cards and the district’s website. “As an educational institution, it’s a popular thing and many schools are doing it as they grow bigger to have their school identified, and to recognize the educational component of it.” Such a logo would act as a “corporate ID” for the district. “It really represents the business side of what we’re doing,” she said.
This is the perfect time for developing such logos and standards, Hamann said, “before we continue to add new buildings, and growing like we’re growing, it would be nice to have that consistency. It’s also our credibility as an educational institution.”
No timeline was given, however the high school gym floor and football field will both be redone over the summer and it was recommended that any new logo be approved prior to letting bids for the projects so it can be incorporated into the new surfaces.