Feb. 19, 2001
When most people think of an athlete they think of someone who plays football, basketball, or baseball. Has anyone ever considered the school mascot to be an athlete? Most people would laugh and say, "yeah right, are you serious?"
For the past 3 years I have been the "Cardinal Bird," which is the mascot for the University of Louisville, and I have to say if anyone wants to tell me that you don't have to be athletic to run around in a 50-pound costume in the most extreme temperatures trying to get your team to win, I challenge anyone to try it.
Cheerleaders and the mascot start at the beginning of Football season and go to the end of basketball season. The best part about my job is that I get to entertain and make people laugh and most of the time people have no idea who is under the costume. I also have practice, GPA requirements, and most importantly community service opportunities, which is the favorite part of the job. Not only do people love to see athletes from a college, but the college mascot always seems to put smiles on people's faces.
One opportunity in particular that I was fortunate to work on was a trip to the School of the Blind in Louisville, KY. The children I got to work with were not completely blind but did have trouble seeing things clearly. Most people assume that when I do a community appearance that I will show up in my mascot suit. Although I normally do, I decided not to this time. I figured some of these children may never get to see the Cardinal Bird up close, so I decided for the first time to let a group of children see me without the suit on. Most people think that this is not a big deal, but most people don't really know who runs around in the crowds at games causing trouble. This was such a big deal to them because they all were familiar with the mascot, but had never seen it up close, and especially no one had ever got to try it on. They put the head and feet on and all tried to walk around, without tripping over the enormous feet.
Yeah there are a lot of perks and opportunities that being the mascot has brought to me, but no other job or experience could give me the satisfaction of helping young children laugh and smile. I think that God gave everyone talents and the ones fortunate enough to have such a vast amount can share theirs with others.
Being a part of the Life Skills program has helped to open many different doors. Not only have I donated my time to help others and make people laugh, but I have met a lot of different and unique people who I may not have met through just normal everyday contact. Making these contacts is a great opportunity because helping others now will always mean that there will be somebody to help me later in life.