Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Mascot Chronicles

The Washington Capitals are seeking a Mascot Handler whose duties include ensuring that the mascot stays on schedule during games and events, assisting the mascot with interaction with the fans, and being the mascot's "eyes and ears." The individual must be outgoing, friendly and comfortable interacting with groups of fans. You may think that I am making light of the job, but the mascot handler is an extremely important position. I say this as a former mascot.

As a high school junior, I auditioned to be the school’s mascot. The audition consisted of me unsuccessfully attempting a summersault and cartwheel while dressed in full mascot attire. During the cartwheel, the mascot’s head fell off and while everyone laughed uncontrollably (including myself), the coach berated me because apparently the head was fairly expensive. Fortunately, I did not get the job.

Fast-forward about ten years, a friend of mine recruited me to be CHIP at a Northern Virginia festival that I have mentioned numerous times on this blog. You see, mascots, including CHIP, are not allowed to talk. In addition, it is difficult to see out of the giant mascot head. Therefore, you need a good handler to explain what CHIP is (CHIP is not a robot or an alien; CHIP is the festival mascot), make sure kids aren’t scared of CHIP and to be there for moral support (“Take a step up CHIP or you’ll trip on the curb.”). It was amazing how many kids loved CHIP, but conversely, CHIP made several kids cry. The handler must be able to steer the mascot near the kids who want to say hello but also away from the kids who are screaming. It’s a tough job. Of course, if you’re the mascot/mascot handler at the Capitals game, you don’t have to worry about drunk fans who want you to get out of the way! The Caps fans want you to block their view of Alexander Ovechkin on a breakaway. So to the potential Capitals’ mascot handler out there, good luck and be the best you can be!

P.S. In case you were wondering, CHIP has been retired. I wish that I had a picture of CHIP, but all that I have is a sketch in a TIF file, which Blogger does not allow me to add as a picture. If you know how to do add a TIF, please let me know, because you haven't seen CHIP until you've seen CHIP.

P.P.S. (or is it P.S.S.) A sketch of CHIP has been posted here.


Mystery Man said...

How much does it pay and does it provide benefits?

Sean said...

I'm guessing that it does not provide benefits as in health insurance and a 401K, but you would probably have the "benefit" of meeting Ted Leonsis!