Being the bird: what it’s like to be a mascot

Brooke Jones, Reporter

David Berger
The mascot Lightning stands outside Faiman Field before a football game.

While writing a story on the mascot club for The Thunderbeat, I was invited by math teacher David Butler to be a mascot at the homecoming football game. With this being something on my bucket list, I jumped on the opportunity.

It probably doesn’t seem that intimidating to get into a giant inflatable bird and give people high fives for half an hour, but I still had a few concerns, my biggest being the very real possibility that I could face plant in front of an entire student section.

Everyone in the Mascot Club was nice and open to having a guest mascot for the night. I was especially grateful for the “escorts” that helped guide me around for the first few minutes, ensuring that I didn’t accidentally run someone over.

Mascots switch every quarter of the game because it can get extremely hot inside the costume. Before a game, they make a list of who will be the mascot when. Two people go in for every quarter, one in Thunder and one in Lightning.

I was able to sit in the student section for most of the game. About ten minutes before halftime, I was told to go get adjusted to the costume and practice walking around before going out.  

As I got into the costume, I expected to be overwhelmed by an awful smell, one of sweat and any other adolescent stench. However, the Little Tree Car-Freshener hanging from the top of the bird prevented my sense of smell from being completely disabled.

The former mascots taught me how to walk, how to approach people, and how to avoid getting mauled by hyper kids. Before going out, I had to blow up the costume by pressing a tiny button on the side of a forty pound backpack. By the time it was fully blown up, I could barely make it through the doorway.

Maneuvering inside the costume was quite an adjustment. I had to march around and take huge steps just to get the feet off the ground. From inside the bird, there were several little mechanisms that worked everything from the wings to the beak. I quickly figured out how to move every part of the bird and in no time at all, it was second nature.

Once I got outside, I was swarmed by a group of middle school aged boys demanding that I T-pose and give them high fives. I continued walking back and forth from the concession stand to the student section. With the exception of a few relentless students who were extremely determined to figure out who I was, I was pleasantly surprised with how well it went.

Although being the mascot wasn’t exactly something I had ever planned on doing, I’m happy I did. From getting to know the members of the club to taking pictures with future T-birds, being a mascot was a fun experience, and possibly my new favorite way to watch a football game.