Last year I volunteered to be Hillsdale’s mascot, Charlie the Charger. I was all amped up as I climbed into the giant horse costume and walked out to the women’s basketball game.
I forgot it was “Kid’s Day.”
A couple hundred screaming kids filled the arena. They wanted just one thing: Charlie.
As I made my way up the bleachers, a group of kids grabbed my legs and tried to push me backwards. One reached for my head, trying to rip off my costume. Others ran in front of me where I couldn’t see. As I recovered my balance, a teacher told her students to “hug Charlie!”
I tumbled down the stairs.
Being my school’s mascot was on my bucket list, but I should have known better because of the experience I had when I was a kid. It is my experience with mascots that has led me to this conclusion: Mascots need to be eliminated from all sporting events.
Spike terrified me, but as a seven-year-old I had the job of bringing out the game ball to the umpire at the minor league baseball park, and that meant stepping onto the field alongside the team’s mascot, a giant red cardinal with a menacing yellow beak.
All went well on the walk to home plate, but on the walk back, out of nowhere, I felt a giant force slam me into the grass of the on-deck circle.
Spike, while throwing out t‑shirts to the fans, had tackled me.
Mascots contribute nothing to sports today. Fans aren’t at sporting events for the mascot, but the mascots sure act like it. They dance on the sidelines trying to attract attention away from the game. They walk through the stands of the stadium like they own the place.
The word mascot, according to the American Heritage Dictionary, comes from the French word “moscato” which means witchcraft. But it doesn’t stop there. The origins of the word can be traced back even further coming from the Latin word “mascra” which means witch. This proves just one thing: Mascots are evil.
Think about it. There is not one mascot that isn’t creepy. The Stanford Tree has to be up there as one of the worst mascots of all time. A pine tree with giant eyes and a crooked mouth does not get the crowd pumped.
Or Vanderbilt’s mascot, Mr. Commodore, a seven-foot man with empty eyes that scare anyone around him. Who enjoys that?
A mascot at a game is like the annoying friend in middle school who just won’t leave you alone. They always seem to roll around in a giant truck shooting out t‑shirts at the worst time. Not only does the mascot delay the game, but it takes away from the intensity. The t‑shirt toss and other activities cause children (and adults) to sprint around and scream, getting in the way of the action or even knocking popcorn out of a spectator’s hand.
Mascots draw attention to themselves in the dumbest ways possible. Who cares if a playoff game is on the line? It is time to prank the players and sing the “YMCA” with the Phillie Phanatic. And no one cares about mascots anyways — fans are much more focused on getting on the kiss cam then paying attention to the mascot.
Even more so, as I learned last year, mascots are often the target of frustrated fans. I never realized how traumatic it was actually to be the mascot. And I only served the role for one game. Some people have to be the mascot every game. They have to entertain the fans inside a big, uncomfortable costume for hours on end.
In 2017, Mr. Met, the mascot for the New York Mets, was caught on video giving the middle finger to a fan. That fan did something to entice Mr. Met’s actions. No one deserves to be the subject of anyone’s frustration.
Even kids don’t enjoy mascots. Many are fearful of the mascots and it takes much coaxing to get them to warm up to the big monsters. Why should we continue to torture humanity with these creepy things?
Let’s improve sports and better the world. Let’s abolish mascots.
Reagan Gensiejewski is a junior studying rhetoric and public address. She is an assistant editor for the Collegian.