Thursday, September 23, 2010

TMI Thursday: I Tried Out To Be a Cheerleader

When I was a high school junior, I auditioned to be part of my school’s cheerleading team. This was particularly difficult since the cheerleading squad consisted entirely of girls. Never backing down from a challenge, I thought I would break barriers by becoming the only male on the team. That last sentence sounds impressive but is totally false. I auditioned for the one spot on the squad where gender was not an issue: the mascot.

For the audition, my competitors and I had to perform a brief individual routine in costume in front of the cheerleading coach, several of the team members and each other. Routine may have been a stretch, but I had the perfect plan. I would show my enthusiasm and athletic ability by performing summersaults and cartwheels. This sounded like a wonderful idea except for the fact that I cannot and could not perform a cartwheel. During my first and only cartwheel, the mascot’s head fell off. This got huge laughs from everyone (including me) except for the coach who berated me. She thought I broke the mascot head, which apparently was fairly expensive. I didn’t get the mascot position. My friend (let’s call him Dave) earned the role of the Wolverine, although his audition was pretty weak. I guess not damaging the costume was more important than creativity. (If Dave happens to read this, he’ll probably disagree with my assessment of his audition but will admit that my cartwheel was funny.)

So why am I bringing this up? Well, perhaps you saw the video of the Ohio University Bobcat attacking Brutus Buckeye, The Ohio State University’s mascot, on Saturday. If not, here are two different views of the unprovoked attack.

I have mixed emotions on this. On one hand, a mascot fight is funny. I also appreciate the fact that Brandon Hanning, the OU mascot Rufus, became the mascot solely to tackle Brutus. That takes dedication and patience to wait an entire year before conducting the attack.

However, there’s always a chance that someone can get hurt. Ohio State fans calling for revenge against the Bobcat have short memories. Angela Anderson, who served as Herky the Hawk (the University of Iowa mascot), was "struck violently in the back of the head by an inflatable or hard foam object" while dressed as the Hawkeye mascot during the Oct. 30, 1999 football game at OSU.” (The quote is from The Lantern.) She complained of back injuries and eventually was awarded $25,000 in a court case against Ohio State for “severe personal injuries, pain and suffering.” As a brief tangent, the case docket information from this case is fascinating. Just look at the exhibit list from the pretrial statement.

I guess the moral of the story is that I’m glad that I didn't become the mascot. It would have been a shame if I injured the Gateway Gator.


Unknown said...

1) I am just honored to be mentioned in TMI Thursday

2) I remember the head falling off on you, but I have no clue what I did.

3) I remember fighting the McKeesport Tiger. We talked about before hand, and she was cute so I am thinking I let her win

Sean said...

David - I'm glad that you posted a comment. You truly deserved to be the mascot over me. I feel like you just jumped around and did Arsenio Hall-type hand motions for audition, but I could be totally off. I also admire the fact that you let the McKeesport Tiger beat you. I just hope that it was at McKeesport and not the Wolverina.