Today is National Mascot Day and it kind of hits home for me. Ever since I developed nightmares of McGruff the Crime Dog after encountering him at a parade, I have always found myself connected to these furry characters. But let’s skip my weird childhood mascot anecdotes and fast forward to adulthood…
When I worked at the University of Montana, one of my duties was to serve as the mascot coordinator. I had the pleasure (and sometimes the headache) of managing Monte, the institution’s beloved costumed grizzly bear and two-time Capital One National Mascot of the Year winner. Although scheduling his 200+ appearances per year, organizing his elaborate football entrances, and answering to the community whenever he did something questionable added some stress to the job, managing the mascot program had its perks. I had the pleasure of accompanying Monte to national competitions, traveling with him to away games, and watching first-hand as he made thousands of Montanans smile.
I didn’t stray too far from my mascot roots when I landed at Coastal Carolina University. Although I was now in the central marketing and communications office, I still had mascot access to Chauncey, a fearless and unique Chanticleer. During this time at CCU, both the athletic department and the marketing/comm office had Chauncey suits. Athletics would of course have its Chauncey perform at sporting contests and external events while our Chauncey would be scheduled for academic engagements. Heck, the “Academic Chauncey” (as we called him) even had a pair of oversized glasses to drive the emphasis home. Needless to say, I was around him a lot.
Bottom line, people who are skilled enough to be mascots work extremely hard. While in the suit it is tough to move, it is hot, and it can be downright hostile. Trust me, kids aren’t the only ones who tug and pull. Also, don’t forget about the immense pressure these students (yes, students) are under to continually push the envelope and please their fan bases.
With that said, I can’t wait to finally meet Butch, the mascot of Washington State University. The quarantine has delayed our introduction.
Well, perhaps I should say it has delayed our “adult introduction.” I promised I wouldn’t resort to childhood mascot memories but #sorrynotsorry. Growing up I was a big WSU fan, and my love for the Crimson and Gray extended to the best mascot on the planet. Seriously, I thought Butch was the absolute greatest. Going to a football game was as much about watching the team play on the field as it was watching Butch roam the sidelines.
Happy National Mascot Day to all those who have put on an awkward and most likely very smelly character suit. You have made the days of millions and deserve to be celebrated. Don’t Blink.