We will not go away quietly
Posted: Wednesday August 11, 1999 10:18 AM
It's that time of year again -- time for college football.
Just the thought of it brings a tear of joy down my fiberglass cheek.
Football Saturdays are a time when the worries of the week are set aside to engage in a friendly battle of bragging rights -- and few take this more seriously than we, the mascots.
Many people forget that mascots are students, too. But don't feel bad if you can't remember seeing a walking animal or giant "thing" with its size-44 shoes up propped up on the desk in the back your freshman Lit. class. We tend to keep a low profile off the field.
Like any student, we graduate and go on to do other things. As a fan, you may not notice this changing of the guard, because fortunately an exact replica always manages to matriculate the following fall, ensuring a seamless transition from year to year.
After leaving Purdue in the mid-'90s, I furthered my education (we can get masters, too) and ended up going to work for CNNSI.com. I admit, I get some weird looks once in a while as I walk around CNN Center. It seems some onlookers find a live Boilermaker sighting on par with spotting Ted Turner. Plus, my football pants and jersey are technically outside the Turner dress code. Oh, and getting my sledgehammer by security is darn near impossible.
Those problems aside, I enjoy it here at CNNSI.com. And after several months of shoving photographs from my glory days in West Lafayette down my co-workers' throats, my boss decided I was ready for my first special assignment. Each week I will interview a different mascot involved in one of the country's biggest games that Saturday.
As it's commonly known, most mascots don't actually talk; we're a quiet but energetic group. However, mascots have a secret communication system that can only be understood by our colleagues. Again, that's why CNNSI.com is sending me into the field for these exclusive interviews. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time a major news organization has attempted to uncover the behind-the-scenes stories of these revered yet misunderstood American institutions.
You, our loyal readers, should be the first to know what truly goes on "under the mask." What does the Stanford Tree really think of the Cal Bear? Has Bucky the Badger fully recovered from that disorderly conduct arrest a few years back?
Maybe, if we're lucky, they'll give us some of their "after hours" stories.
In the Sports Illustrated tradition, we will also bring you photos and video of these spirited characters in action. To start things off, here is a photo gallery of me when I was Purdue's "head" man from a few years ago. Also check out some video highlights located near the bottom of the page.
I hope you'll enjoy this section as you cruise CNNSI.com for all your college football news. Be sure to check back each week for a new interview with college football's craziest characters.
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