Furry Fandom: Otto the Orange

Otto the Orange
Syracuse Orangemen
Source: Sports Illustrated (and my fever dream)
This one hits close to home. Kind of. I grew up a Syracuse fan. The fandom was passed on to me by my parents. I was a fan through the McNabb era and a fan when Gerry and Melo finally helped Boeheim win in 2003.

But I didn't attend Syracuse. So while I still pull for them, it's hard for me to associate myself with their teams. One thing stayed constant though: my brain being insanity pretzeled by Otto the Orange.

That giant ball of orange confused me as a kid and confuses me even more now. Look at him. His nose is the most bulbous thing I've seen until I take into account his body as a whole. SOMEONE GET HIM P90X. Poor Otto has probably never been able to refer to his frame as a 'beach body'.

Otto is also fighting an uphill battle with his ear shoulders. When he's trying to pump up the crowd, miming "Let me hear you!", where does he cup his hand? And then how does he hear you?

The most confusing thing to me is that while Otto is an orange, he's a fuzzy orange. FUZZY. When did this happen? How did this happen? I'm a hairy guy so I feel his pain. But as a man, it's normal. If they start breeding oranges to be furry, that's it. No more Vitamin C for me. I would stock up on the last of the non-fuzzy oranges like it was Y2K all over again. As I huddled in my closet and bit into the last one, I would tearfully sing to myself, "As we gooo on, we rememmmmber, all the timeeesss we, had togethhher." Then I would reluctantly enter into the world of apples.

I know I'm not the only one severely affected by Otto's fur fuzz. There's no telling the confusion this guy would have at a Syracuse game:

This is not me bashing on Otto. This is more of a therapeutic writing session to work through what he is. I actually think Otto is one of the best mascots in the NCAA.

How can I say that after writing this?  We had a dog growing up who was so ugly, it was endearing. She's still kicking around today at age 16. She has an under bite, breath to kill, weighs 12 pounds and is described as "a cute little rat". But she was and is ours. And we love her. I would think this is how Syracuse students and alum feel about Otto. He's confusing, but something to rally around. Plus the merchandising opportunities are adorable.

Orange you glad you read this?


  1. Do not think your sly Vitamin C reference to "Graduation" was lost on your readership.. Well played sir...


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