College Mascots: Interesting Facts You Didn't Know
Beloved character to a community of faithful fans, or an obnoxious sideline instigator? Mascots take on different identities depending on what side you root for, but that's nothing compared to the identity of the mascot itself, the strange history, storied tradition and interesting facts that surround the mysterious college figures. Find out what it takes to be a college mascot, learn about the perks, and try to see things through an awkward, oversized head with these interesting facts.
Training And Tutelage
Many college mascots start building their resume in high school or have a background in an area of performing that's relevant to being a mascot. Athletes familiar with dancing, cheerleading and improv usually have a bigger advantage when trying out at the college level, which can be an exhausting, intimidating process. However, mascot training camps are offered across the nation to help prepare mascot hopefuls for the tryout process. In addition, mascot boot camps are offered at the professional level for those hoping to turn their college passion into a full-time job.
Being a mascot isn't all fun and games. It's not as easy as throwing on a homemade Halloween costume. It requires commitment all year to train and attend events. After all, mascots are the face of the university at stadiums across the country and appear on TVs around the world. For payment, many schools with big athletic programs offer scholarships to their mascots. The best can get their entire college tuition paid in full. In addition, being a member of a prominent athletic program has its perks. See the country, eat free, stay in nice hotels and pile up the team apparel.
Perks alone would entice many people to pursue the coveted mascot position, but the university gets what it pays for when it comes to the amount of work mascots have to do. Every game is a performance, and baking in that hot suit isn't anything like strolling on the beach in a tie-dye maxi dress. Mascots have to be moving constantly, always interacting with the crowd, performing with the cheerleaders or band, all while keeping in mind that they're being watched every moment they're in the suit. Mascots who've done the job describe it as grueling, but well worth the effort.
Maintaining a secret identity on campus is a top priority for college mascots. Anonymity is vital to most programs because the mascot itself has its own identity, engrained in the tradition of the institution. From a fan's perspective, anonymity makes watching and interacting with the mascot more fun. In addition, the mystery surrounding the mascot's identity is part of the allure. Many go years without letting their identity slip, revealing themselves upon graduating or when passing the torch to the next generation. It's about the closest most of us can get to being superheroes.
Not So Human
Not all mascots are people. Some of the most famous and cherished mascots are animals, and the majority of them boast an interesting history. Take the beloved Uga, the English bulldog from the University of Georgia. Uga X is the tenth in a long line of bulldogs in his family representing the school. Uga attends home and away games, gets an air-conditioned doghouse on the sideline and is treated like royalty by students and alumni. He even gets respect from rivals, and like the Uga's in his family before him, will receive a special tomb of honor inside the stadium grounds.
Being a college mascot is a lot more work than most people believe, and the position is a lot more coveted than most would expect, but being a mascot at a big school has plenty of benefits. Find gear to support your college team and tailgating essentials for game day with LTD Commodities.