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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Complaints From An Ex-Mascot

I have just recently undergone the absolute, most lashing insult that one could be exposed to. I was mascot last year. The pride of the school. The unfailing force of spirit that charged the crowd into its pandemonium of oohs, aahs, and unleashed cheers.
For those of you who don't know. Harding's mascot is a large bison named, "Buff". Yes, I glare with pride when I write that I was Buff. -And what a tremendous time I had. I could go on and on with all the stunts I pulled. I wish I had this blog then, last fall, during my mascoting season. I will leave my description at a minimum and say that within the buffalo suit I became the beast I always wanted to act as. Wild, unruly, delightfully goofy and completely irrepressible, I wooed women, ticked-off coaches, high-fived fans, picked fights with the band nerds, poked security guards in the stomach, harassed deans and professors, and more importantly, got down on such a level that all the kids at the game could fully understand. In short, I made mascoting an art form. No mascot could dance better than Buff could when I was in that suit.
Well, this year I decided to officially go about the thing. I decided to get acquainted with the cheerleading coach. Last year, I was informally the mascot. I just sort of heard of their great need for a mascot, so I would show up and do my stuff. I walked into the cheerleading coach's office. She was every thing I expected. A post-cheerleader herself whose silken hair was beginning to slowly grey. Whose once beaming face, now carried a few wrinkles. Who once was socialite queen, was now the bossiest griping tyrant of her household. For some intuitive reason, I didn't reveal that I was last year's mascot. I immediately asked her if they needed a mascot this year. She responded with enthusiasm, that they were desperate for a mascot. The she asked me if I was mascot back in high school. I responded that I was for a year. Which was Goldie the Northview High Cougar.
Then things got prickily. She went on to describe what she envisioned the mascot to be. She did this by stating what the mascot should never be. She used last year's mascot as the only example.
"What I envision for the mascot is...." she began, ".....well.... last year we had this guy," her voice trailed to a disgusted annoyance, "who would mess with the band, the coaches, the players, and would toy with equipment...we certainly do not want a mascot like that. A mascot is supposed to be tough. Not goofy and stupid. The mascot's name is Buff. He's supposed to be macho. 3 years ago in chapel, if you were there, the mascot strutted out on stage very tough-like. Then he did a peace sign to the crowd. He was cool. I guess what I'm trying to say is the mascot should be just like that....very cool."
I felt the blood rushing to my head. Her whole idea of a mascot sounded lame to me. I swallowed what little spit was left from my dry mouth and spoke up very calmly. "That's interesting, in high school I was always told that the mascot was supposed to be the clown and jester of the field."
She retorted. "Yeah, he can be funny. But not rolling, tripping on the ground. There's a balance there. They have mascot schools for this sort of thing. It's an art form, really." This sent my heart racing. Inside, I had so many objections; outside, I had the calmest, coolest expression, acting as if her words meant nothing to me. She went on.
"Maybe in high school its okay to be silly, but at the college level...all the mascots are tough and macho. Look at the Razorback mascot...." She gave other examples that I don't remember. And I can't help but wonder what she thinks about all the good, famous mascots that are nothing but comic relief during the games. But I kept silent.
Next, she in her desk, impersonated how her ideal mascot would strut with her shoulders moving very confidentily and gangster like. Then she impersonated its negative behavior, the way the mascot walked last year, she bobbed her shoulders very clumsily and I could have sworn, I heard a "duh, duh, duh" along with her reenactment. Still she continued to rant, as though after a year's time she was not over how horrible the mascot was last year. I asked her explicitly what the mascot had done, as though curious at her obvious irritation. She said that he would actually tap the back of the football players' helmets when they sat on the bench, and when they'd turn around he would act as though he didn't do it." - I couldn't recall doing anything of the sort, but that doesn't mean that I didn't do it.
"He messed up the kicker's practice net by jumping into it." -That one I remembered.
"He drove the coach's golf cart around." -That one I also remembered. I sat there trying desperately not to grin. With these antics she listed, I would give a bewildered, "really?"
All up to this point was pretty clean and really no offense was taken on my side, but then she preceded to hit me down deep in the heart. She continued.
"I mean this guy last year...I got to the point while I was sitting in the stands watching him, I would wish that he would just sit down." -That was the first ruthless jab. Followed by the next. She spoke thus: "I was embarrassed to be from Harding. That mascot was embarrassing me and the entire school!"
I tried all I could to keep from wincing with these sharp words she was saying. Then I asked as if also annoyed, "Man, who was that guy?"
"Honestly," she said, "no one really knows. He was a mystery. This guy would just show up near the beginning of the game and throw on the Bison suit, and go out and then he would return the suit without anyone ever seeing him." I acted surprised.
Then she talked about how delighted she was that I was interested in being the mascot, seeing how desperate they were. And she asked me if I was, indeed, interested. I told her that I was. All the while I was thinking underneath how I was going to have the last laugh on this one. She said, "Great!"
Then she said that that very afternoon I could meet some of the cheerleaders and try on the suit, if I wanted. I said that I had alot of work that day and that unfortunately I couldn't meet. For I really believe that some of the cheerleaders did see me last year and would give me away.
Finally, she asked for my name. At his point I was ready for I sort of sensed a devious plot had formed in my mind, "Ron Jensen." I responded. She got my number and then she looked me square in the eye and said, "Ron, I want you to be the mascot." I smiled back and said thanks and told her that I'd see her at the game Saturday as I walked out of her office.
My plans were to show up at the game, put on the suit once again and act just as stupid and as idiotic as I'd done before. However, after reflecting on everything that passed, I feel embittered and realize that there's no way I'm sweating in that suit if I get no appreciation. If I can't have my fun without someone whining, then Harding won't have a mascot. They can try to get another dull, totally boring mascot to act cool and strut if they want but somehow I find it next to impossible to try to make a big, furry, cartoon-like, man-cow look anything but silly. This mascot's gone on strike!


Blogger Jovan said...

no way!!! Ron don't let this cheerleading coach tell you how to mascot! you should have shown up as the Buff! There's no other mascot like you! has she ever heard of the San Diego chicken? you give up to easy. since when does Ron Jensen wear his feelings on his sleeves. Do it for Harding Ron... for all the boys who dream of mascoteering everywhere. Do it for those dear freshmen.

9:12 AM  
Blogger Stacey Elizabeth said...

Haha, your friend proves a very valuable point. Who cares what this woman thinks? Obviously she lacks some humor but don't let her ruin it for the rest of us!

12:41 PM  
Blogger папа said...

It is very strange but as I was watching College football this past Saturday (prior to reading your blog) I caught myself thinking about mascots and why certain teams selected the various mascots. This is eerie! Why did Auburn decide they would like to be tigers and Alabama decide to be Elephants? What brought on this African theme in the state of Alabama? Perhaps this same cheerleading lady is the one that departed from the primary mascot and decided to come up with her own secondary mascot...the War Eagle and the Rolling Tide. Perhaps she attended both of these colleges and was irritated that the mascots were silly. After much thought of the serious vs jovial mascot problem,I feel that mascots should very much entertain the crowd. Im with you on this one. PS Ive never really enjoyed being lead in a repetitive cheer with a bunch of ponytailed, bubbly, giggling, bouncy, cheerleaders. I dont mind the girl cheerleaders though.

3:36 PM  
Blogger MomInStands said...

That is HILARIOUS Ron! Knowing Kellee and knowing Harding, it is one of the funnest stories ever! I'm with Jovan.. don't you dare give up on this. The FUNNIEST Bison Mascots were back in the "Bobby Bison" days.. and there were two guys in my mind that were masters... and they WERE OUT THERE!
We looked forward to going to games, to see them, and what they would come up with. Tough and MACHO are not terms that would describe them. You GO BUFF!

8:13 AM  
Blogger Adam Newby said...

Dude, hilarious! C'mon, don't let this dull woman kill the Buff that Brian created. Be revolutionary! Tell her that Ron won't be the mascot. Then that mysterious guy can start showing up again. From your reports, I've got to think that you're the best part of the football game! And no one likes "macho" mascots. They are no fun. Look at Aubie. Everybody loves him, and he's not macho.

2:34 PM  
Blogger Kara Lipsmeyer said...

Buff,...I mean Brian,....ugh... I mean Ron, let the fans speak for themselves. YOU WOOED WOMEN. That speaks volumes. You transformed into the hilarious person everyone else wants to be. The football players act macho. That's their costume. You act silly. That's yours.

And of course you're my friend, sorry you're not in the picture, though. You were probably falling in love with a Titan Cheerleader or bathing in a stream somewhere.

6:17 PM  

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