For every home game, and then some, Temple has two extra team members present. One sits on the field and watches from the sidelines, while the other stands tall watching from the top row of the bleachers at Geasey Field.
These two members are owl statues. They are both symbols of tradition, good luck charms and mascots for Temple Owls’ field hockey.
“It is a good symbol of the tradition of Temple Field Hockey,” coach Amanda Janney said. “Over the course of the years we have had some great players here, some great families.”
“The little mascots started showing up and they became good luck,” Janney said.
The statue that sits along the sidelines was carved out of wood by the grandfather of former 2008 Temple All-American Alli Lokey.
“He brought it to every game,” Janet Young said, the mother of Lokey’s former teammate Charise Young.
Sadly, Young said that Lokey’s grandfather died in a car accident prior to her senior season. However, Lokey’s parents continued to bring the owl to games in memorial of him.
“When she graduated, [Lokey’s parents] passed it down to another family, and then they would bring it to every game,” Young said. “It has kind of been the mascot for a lot of years.”
Players traditionally go up and touch the owl before every game.
Young also said that some parents even bring the owl to away games.
To go along with Lokey’s Owl, there is Russell, who sits atop a white pole decorated in Temple University stickers.
Russell is the responsibility of a player’s family until she graduates, then Russell is handed off to his new keepers, who are usually the family of a freshman player.
For every game, the pole Russell stands on is tied to the top row of the bleachers, with him facing towards the center of the field.
The family of sophomore forward Amber Youtz are the current holders of Russell.
“Last year at the banquet one of the senior’s parents handed it to us,” said Kennedy Youtz, Amanda Youtz’s father. He said that Russell has to be at every game, be it home or away.
For the most part, being Russell’s keeper is an easy task, except for one part.
“The worst part is bringing it in the car, it doesn’t fit so well in the car,” Youtz said. “ [It] doesn’t fit in the trunk, so somebody always has to have it on their lap. But, I am glad to do it.”
“It is a tradition,” Youtz added, who scored a goal and an assist in Friday’s game against Delaware. “They pass it off to a new family that keeps it all the way through.”
The Youtz family had Russell passed down to them by Kaylee Keener’s family. Keener was a senior midfielder who graduated last year.
Although both owls serve as good luck charms, Temple is 0-5 at home after losing 3-4 against Delaware on Friday afternoon.
Janney however, has an idea for why the luck has not kicked in yet.
“Sometimes they like to wait for A-10’s [Atlantic-10 Conference Games],” Janney said. “I think this is a typical year for us.”
“Unfortunately, not a good typical, but typical in the way that we have played pretty well against our conference, and we do not put it all together until it is conference play and it means a little bit more,” Janney added.
The Owls finished 9-13 overall in 2011, but went 4-2 against A-10 teams.
Their first conference matchup of the season will be until Oct. 5th, when they will play Virginia Commonwealth University at home.