Cal State Long Beach unveiled Elbee, its new shark mascot, in a video released by the school, Monday.
Have a look:
The school also put out a rich dossier of information about Elbee, pronounced “L-B,” which includes that Elbee answers to they/their/them, hails from Belmont Shore and has a jersey number of 49.
Still, many questions persist about Elbee which is pretty much in keeping with the confusing backstory of the mascot.
For one thing, as Elbee struts about a completely empty CSULB campus in the video, it is clear that for a school mascot, they do not appear to have a lot of school spirit. Yes, there is a relatively small, black “LB” embroidered on the shark’s chest, but there is precious few other Long Beach State designations, or black for that matter, black just so happening to be a primary school color. The other primary school color, gold, is nowhere to be seen. By the looks of Elbee, CSULB’s school colors appear to be gray and white.
Though there was a lot of personal information given about Elbee, one thing that was not answered is exactly who the shark represents? Athletic teams? The school’s athletic department made clear in May of 2019 when the shark mascot was chosen, that all athletic teams would continue to refer to themselves as “Beach” except for the baseball team which would continue to refer to themselves as “Dirtbags.”
If it’s for the rest of the campus, it’s clear students strongly identify with the “Beach” moniker. “Beach” items in the online student bookstore far outnumber shark merch. In fact, while there are eight shark items listed on the site, there are 18 items just showcasing a new “Beach” logo.
Also, since the shark was brought in to replace the ugly history attached to the 49er mascot Prospector Pete—Americans who followed the gold rush of 1849 to California were many times violent toward indigenous peoples—it may strike some as odd they nonetheless harkened back to that tradition with Elbee’s jersey number.
Also, it may strike some as odd that on the website page announcing the new mascot, CSULB went out of its way to say it’s OK for students and alums to call themselves a “49er” saying the mascot has “deep historical connections to the university.”