You see them at sporting events. You see them at rallies. You see them at parades. They are silent yet energetic, humble yet cocky, harmless yet terrifying. The life of a mascot is a thankless one. These silent entertainers battle heat, poor vision and unruley children, in pursuit of a good laugh and no recognition.
Well this mascot is breaking his silence.
Last week I briefly joined the ranks of this furry fraternity. It all started with a call from the Mankato MoonDogs. Their usual Muttnik, a large walking dog, couldn't be at the game, and they needed someone to fill in. Stunt promised that one of his interns would do it. As fate would have it, I was that intern. Along with the free brats at the game, Stunt managed to bribe me with free Culver's. I was reluctant at first, but Stunt knew my weak spot (as described here) and before I knew it I was selling my night off for free fast food. I'm still pretty ashamed of myself.
I got to the park at around 5:45 and hung around with our other interns Brianna, Haley and Logan, waiting for someone to give me some sort of direction. Granted its not as if I've never been to a sporting event before, and the job description of minor league baseball mascot sort of speaks for itself, but this was still my first performance. Finally at 6:15, an employee of the MoonDogs came and got me. This is the running diary of my night.
6:15 The MoonDogs employee brings me to the back of the stadium. Underneath, in a little garage like encampment, I am introduced to Muttnik. The costume looks much heavier than I anticipated.
6:16 The costume is still wet. I am reminded that this is the second game of a double header. I am immediately regretting my decision.
6:22 I put my mask on. The chin strap is broken and despite my best efforts throughout the night, would remain useless. I can hardly see out of the mask, no more than a two foot range in any direction. I have no peripheral vision to speak of. Everything around me is dark and mysterious. I wonder if this is what it feels like to be an astronaut.
6:24 The employee helps me put my gloves on, the final piece of my outfit. By this point I have already started sweating.
6:27 I am led out of the garage. I manage to duck low enough to avoid a low hanging door, and blinded by the sun. I no longer have any clue where I am
6:29 The employees voice appears from somewhere to my left, telling me to follow. I manage to do this for about ten paces before walking into a pillar and knocking my head ajar. We have to turn back to the garage and fix my helmet.
6:36 Take two. We leave the garage again. This time I make it all the way around to the front gates, where fans are slowly trickling in. The employee gives me the direction “entertain kids for the next half an hour”, and walks away.
6:38 I make the first little girl I approach cry. As I wave at her, she takes off screaming in the other direction. I take this as an ominous sign.
6:42 A young brother and sister want to give me a hug, which I agree to. Then their mother asks for a picture, so I vaguely turn my head to where I hope the camera is. It isn’t until after the picture is taken that I remember that I do not need to smile.
6:47 It is superhero night at the park. Batman and Superman are gaining much more attraction than me. Two young boys sprint by me, nearly taking out my knee cap in an effort to see their favorite comic book heroes.
6:54 Another young boy comes up to me and starts a conversation. This is very tough to maintain since I am following the mascots strict code of no talking. I am trying to mime that I hot, sweaty and dying of thrust. He laughs, tells me I have nice dance moves, and leaves to find his parents.
6:58 I haven’t seen the MoonDogs employee in sometime. I wonder when I am supposed to be on the field.
6:59 A player on the field yells for Muttnik. I look over my shoulder, forgetting myself. He tells me the high five line is about to start. I panic, and sprint as fast as I can towards the fence in my comically oversized dog feet.
7:03 As the first pitch is about to happen, the employee finally finds me. He tells me when they call my name, run up to the backstop and entertain the crowd. Then get back in line to high five the team.
7:05 My name is called. I run to the back stop, jumping up and down along the way and waving my arms. I point at the crowd. For reasons unexplained, this seems to excite them. I keep pointing at people until I have to return to the players.
7:10 The National Anthem starts. For the next four minutes, I compose myself. I am hot and dripping with sweat, and still half blinded by the afternoon sun. This is the first time since I walked out of the stadium that I haven’t been surround by children at knee height. A single tear mixes into my sweaty face as the song finishes.
7:16 The employee asks me if I would like a break. I nod wearily. I follow him back to the garage. He hands me a water bottle and tells me he’ll come get me in the third inning.
7:18 I can feel my t-shirt sticking to my body. My hair is soaked. I think I’ve lost a pound of sweat already. The water bottle is half empty in minutes.
7:25 Stunt comes back to check on me. He takes one look at me, bursts with laughter, and leaves me alone to my thoughts.
7:29 I meet the Old Country Buffet bee. She did not see me sitting in the corner of the garage, and almost throws her head at me in fear. The two of us joke over our budding social lives.
7:38 The bee finishes her water bottle, puts her mask back on, and returns to the stadium. I still feel dead on the inside, though I have finally stopped sweating. I determine she is tougher than me.
7:45 Two water bottles later and I have been told to go back to work. I assume that a mascot costume is similar to an astronaut’s suit and can just go to the bathroom whenever if needed.
7:50 I am back out in front of the stadium. Two kids are competing in a sack race and I am told to stand at home and call them safe or out. The kids end up colliding into one another at home plate. I finally break my mascot’s code and let out an audible laugh as the detangle from each other.
7:56 I am asked to entertain guests in the realty executives loft for a bit. Stairs prove to be tricky, as I tightly grip the hand rail and walk with the speed of a senior citizen.
7:59 The executives loft starts out badly. A mom loudly complains that I do not make eye contact with her small child. As if I am in control of where the giant plastic dead eyes sewn onto my head are looking.
8:07 A group of moms ask me to take a picture with their children. We have to take three pictures, since I am looking in the wrong direction during the first two.
8:13 Some one accidentally spills a beer on me. It is the third known fluid that has been soaked into the costume.
8:19 I finally am allowed to leave to loft and return to the ground level. I tripped walking down the steps in my haste, and nearly ribcage myself on the handrail.
8:25 A group of children, all between the ages of 3 and 8, have somehow taking me unaware and have me surrounded. They proceed to beat the living crap out of me. One by one, they pull my tail, punch me in the kidney, jump my back, and smack my nose, constantly diving and darting before I can stop them. Meanwhile, their parents take pictures and cheer them on. A single tear rolls down my face when I realize no one will help me. I now officially hate the human race.
8:32 The Moondogs employee finally comes to rescue me, only to inform me I’m needed on the field to lead the crowd with the “YMCA” during the seventh inning strech. Despite the feeling of what I’m sure is internal bleeding, I do my job. It isn’t until afterwards that I am informed that the stuffing of my tail is falling out, and I was making my “C’s” the wrong way.
8:38 The game is nearing and end, so I am tasked with waving good-bye to the guests near the front gates. Two cute girls ask for a hug on the way out. I oblige, holding on a little longer that I probably ought to.
8:41 The group of kids who viciously beat me are now leaving the stadium. I breathe a little easier. On the way out they promise to see me next week. I feel bad for whoever wears the suit that day.
8:43 Stunt leaves. Seriously, the guys who bribed me into doing this gets to leave before me. Life isn’t fair.
8:50 The Moondogs employee finds me one last time. He tells me I have done a great job, and takes me to the back of the stadium where I can finally take of the costume and talk.
8:55 I am now officially out of the costume, but it takes me another 5 minutes to stand up again. I have completely sweated through my t-shirt and shorts. I now realize that I should have brought a change of clothes.
This is how the Hot 96.7 Street Team rolls...
I'm supposed to be writing about things around Radio Mankato that give me, for lack of a better word, problems. Basically anything I find irritating, or annoying I should write about. Here's the thing, I'm not usually irritated around the office. So far my internship has been a lot of fun, with many interesting things to keep my busy.
As you may know, I'm here 5 days a week, 10 am to 2 pm, always with Stunt Monkey. And I mean always with Stunt Monkey. I'm starting to feel like his shadow how many times I follow him around working
Here are some fun facts you may not have known about Stunt Monkey:
1. He regularly sits at his desk barefoot.
2. He will never be a professional foot model.
3. Every time I ride along with him in his truck, my life flashes before my eyes.
4. He makes fun of how young I look after shaving, whether at the office or out in the real world.
5. I've met women with thicker facial hair then him.
6. If he orders a hot sandwhich from Jersey Mike's for lunch, he has had a rough morning. If he gets a cold sandwhich, he is much more laid back.
7. He hates soccer, and has a 4th grade education.
8. Somewhere around the office, he has a hidden stack of Kickstart Mountain Dew, which keeps a closer eye on than Fort Knox.
9. He gets easily distracted by videos of rednecks, Jimmy Fallon, and videos involving wedding proposals gone wrong.
10. He's single...ladies
Truth be told, he's a pretty fun boss to work for. But he asked for me write my complaining blog, so he should have known what to expect.
I woke up this morning in a splendid mood today. Why you ask? Because Stunt Monkey sent out an email last night inviting all the interns to "Intern Pool Day". I was bursting with excitement this morning, and had my towel and trunks packed before I walked out the door. I was so pumped, that It never once even occured to me that the radio station does not actually own a pool of any shape or size.
You may or may not have noticed, but we have recieved a lot of rain in Mankato over the last few days. And by a lot of rain, I mean my house's basement is completely flooded. The trenches outside the station have flooded as well leaving a nice 2 feet deep and 50 foot long body of water right next to the road we drive into the station. So much for a beautfil start to summer.
If you can put two and two together, this trench is what Stunt Monkey is letting us use for "Intern Pool Day". This disgusting shallow pit of brown murkey water is supposed to be a source of relief and relaxation for us interns. There's even a sign that says "Intern Pool Hours: 1:00-1:15 PM". All you have to do is dodge rocks, mud, and the lingering stares of constuction workers, and you could be having the time of your life.
Stunt may think the joke is on us, bringing us all to the office to hang out by the "pool". Well the jokes on him. I'm going to splash and play in that water like the disgusting little boy I once was. And if Stunt isn't careful, I may use the back of his truck to dry off.
I better start applying the suntan lotion now. Wish me luck and remember, no diving in the shallow end.
The interior of Radio Mankato is getting a new paint job, and personally, I'm a fan of the change. Hopefully a little switch in color will brighten up the office and perhaps, even brighten up Stunt from a grumpy man-child into a well-behaved man of high society. Most likely not, I should expect to see that look of self-loathing and despair on his face when I walk into the office every morning. Still, a guy can dream.
What isn't helping Stunt's mood, or mine for that matter, is the glacial pace the station is being painted at. Last Friday we pushed everything away from the walls, giving the painters plenty of room to do there job, meanwhile cramming ourselves into even small work spaces cluttered by random objects. As of noon on Tuesday, we are still waiting to move everything back to its rightful place. On one hand, it is nice having a large set of cabinets between myself and Stunt so he can't check on me constantly. On the other, it is a little annoying when trying to get work done, which has been known to happen on occasion around here.
I'll keep everyone updated again once the paint dries. Untill then, wish us luck. Spending this much time this close to Stunt has been known to be hazardous.
You may or may not have seen the big ol honking 96.7 van driving around this summer. As an intern one of my jobs is to take the van to the events we will be at. For the most part, it has been a pretty simple procedure: show up at the station, grab the keys, and head to the event. However, I drove the van for the first time yesterday. I'm not a very religous person, but I said prayers in five different languages taking that beast out and about.
For starters, the shocks on the van are not the greatest. Even the slightest bump sends all of your equipments flying about the back of the van. And if you haven't noticed, there is quite a bit of construction going on in Mankato this summer. Something simple as driving 5 mph on a dirt road can turn make the van look like the aftermath of a nuclear attack.
Another thing I found out with the van; it is hard to see out the back window. And by hard I mean impossible. I have to stick my entire neck out of the side window to check my blindspots, and the hand crank to the window is no quick process. By the time I do manage to double take over my shoulder, a semi-truck is flying by and I am trying to keep by pulse from exploding.
If you see myself, or anyone else driving the van this summer, feel free to wave and honk at us: just give us a little bit of space. Please don't drive bumper to bumper honking and asking us to blare the radio. My response most likely won't be a pleasant one.