If you think your job is difficult, try being a school mascot, and standing around dressed as a cedar tree for a few hours.
Cait Norman, who did exactly that for three years at football and basketball games at Lebanon High School in Pennsylvania, told USA Today that she couldn’t believe “how rough sports fans can be on mascots.”
“They’ll body check you,” she noted, adding that those who inspire such actions are “trying to look cool.
Really, you’re beating up a mascot. What’s so tough about that?”
Cait and other mascots learn “self-preservation techniques at yearly training camps taught by former professionals.” The mascots are routinely provided with spotters, who “protect them from bullies” and “make sure they don’t become overheated in their suits.”
Jevin Fluegel, a senior at Union Endicott High School in Endicott NY, assumes the role of “Ty the Tiger” at football games, and says the three-day training session “helped him keep his cool” when “a fan from an opposing team ran straight for him during a game.”
The sessions are invaluable for teaching animal mascots how to react when kids and/or adults want to pull their tails, and telling them how to stay quiet and “engage a crowd without words.
“Figuring out what you can and can’t do in costume is crucial,” said Fluegel, who “fell during a broomball game, lost his costume’s head while visiting an elementary school and dodged an underwear-clad fan who charged him during a football game.”
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Deborah Lambert writes the Squeaky Chalk column for Accuracy in Academia.