A mascot is an exaggerated rendition of a person, innocent/wild animal, or unusual object believed to bring good luck and prosperity, especially when one is kept as the symbol of an organization, establishment, and/or educational institution.
Examples include, but are not limited to:
The San Diego Chicken
The Philly Phanatic
Duke Blue Devil
Notre Dame Irishman
Blaze the Dragon (UAB)
A person (male or female) is chosen, hired, and/or insanely requests to participate in a public activity, such as a promotion or sporting event. This person is obviously requesting a preview of what the temperature is going to be like when Satan, Diablo, Hitler, and/or (insert hated person of your choice) greets them at the Gates of Hell.
Mascoting is not the piece of proverbial cake that one might believe it is. For a person to mascot for any more than 45 minutes at a time, the person must be in an excellently conditioned state. Do not mistake this for excellent physical shape. Many football players have tried to convert over to Mascoting after an injury, and have ended up in the hospital with extreme dehydration.
An experienced mascot will tell you that preparation is key in order to be able to survive in such an extreme environment as a mascot suit. Most mascots begin to hydrate themselves days before an appearance. This hydration serves a duel purpose, the most obvious of which is to avoid dehydration. Pre-hydration also allows the person to prolong their exposure to the Hell-like environment.
Usually a mascot consists of a ridiculously thick layer of carpet and/or foam rubber, which is known in the mascoting community as fur. The fur is the main object of the mascot suit that retains heat. The fur is usually worn as one would wear jump suit. Most mascots have only fur (feet covers and gloves included) and a head. Some mascots, like Blaze, from UAB (University of Alabama at Birmingham), have wings and/or a tail. Most wings are worn like a backpack which attaches through the fur and straps onto the person like a harness.
A mascot head is an artist’s rendition of the facial region of a mascot. The head is usually obnoxiously large and requires the person wearing it to develop strong neck and shoulder muscles rather quickly. Most mascot head designs require you to look at the general public through something other than the “eyes” that is no bigger than your fist. Veteran mascots will have developed techniques to fix the common problem of greeting small children with the mascot's mouth (where the person looks out from) instead of their eyes.
Unless the person is lucky and is allowed to use sneakers/tennis shoes/stilettos/etc., one is required to wear mascot feet. These feet usually increase the person’s shoe size by 4-6 inches. Tripping is common for new mascots. Veteran mascots enjoy watching new mascots just for that reason.
Each mascot represents an image that should be upheld. Veteran mascots will tell you that this image, or character, is an essential part of mascoting and is held in the highest regard. No two mascots will have the same character. For example, some mascots are loud, obnoxious pricks, like the Notre Dame Irishman. Others are silent participants who inspire team spirit, such as the Louisville Cardinal.
A person can and will sweat (literally) pounds of water, unless that person has a rare disease that does not allow them to sweat. This sweat seeps into the fur and (even with repeated washings) begins to stink. The very strange thing is that this “stink” is almost the exact same “stink” with most all mascots encountered. It is so common that it is sometimes referred to as the “mascot smell”.
Most male mascots wear cups. Some female mascots even wear cups. This is so because little children are evil to mascots (especially in the age range of 5-13). As a mascot, a person is pushed, pulled, beaten, bashed, violated, and otherwise tortured. This is a common fact, no matter how nice the fans seem to be, they have spawned pure evil whose soul purpose in life is to abuse the local mascot.
No “regular” person can ever know the enjoyment, excitement, pleasure, and reward that a mascot does when it steps out in front of its fans. Whether there are 20, 2,000, or 20,000 fans, a mascot can have a crowd entertained in a matter of seconds. There is truly nothing else like it.