October 18th, 2005

Be nice, mascot tells fans

From San Jose Mercury News, http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/entertainment/12930752.htm

I'm a multitalented guy. I'm a writer, an actor, a comedian and, heck, I'm in AP calculus, but there is one talent that really expresses the inner me. I am Freddy Cougar, Evergreen Valley High's mascot.

Yes, for the second year, I have been running around in the furry and often sweltering cougar suit, trying to rev up the home crowd. My duties include dashing left and right, frantically dancing, taking pictures with little children and frantically dancing some more. Friday is Evergreen's homecoming game, the last one of my high school career. With a big and rowdy crowd, homecoming games tend to be hell for me.

So, on behalf of all kids trapped in ridiculous suits, I'm asking: Be nice to your school's mascot.

The guy who was the mascot before I was was tackled at an away game by some crazy fans. He quit.

I've been laughed at, smacked around and poked. OK, I haven't been violently abused, but still, I get my feelings hurt.

Last year, I had my rear end grabbed at least 15 times. In one instance, a group of four girls passed by me. One yelled, ``Hey, look over there!''

Of course, I looked. Next thing I knew, three girls were grabbing my cougarific butt. I put my paws on my cheeks in horror and ran away like a scared cat. Obviously, they had planned it. Until then, I had never thought my behind was anything special. But if they think otherwise, well then, ahem, sweet!

Once, when I ventured onto the opposing team's side, a little kid hit me. Who could blame him? He wasn't going to let Freddy the cute cougar intimidate him. It did occur to me that I might be able to get away with hitting the 5-year-old back because everyone would think the kitty was merely hugging him. Instead, being a decent guy and mascot, I walked away.

Being the mascot isn't all bad. The cheerleaders and little kids from our side hug the warm cougar when they're cold. Students love to take pictures with me, and I get food from the athletics boosters. Overall, I have a good time making a fool of myself. So when you see the manic mascot, be nice. Under the fur is the man they call J.Lo, trying to show his school spirit. I wouldn't give the job up for the world. Plus, my girlfriend thinks it's sexy.