Big 10 Mascots Take on Personality of their Own
When it comes to leading cheers at college sporting events, many of the cheerleaders take a back seat to the antics of the school’s mascot. These characters with a human hidden inside some of the most uncomfortable costumes ever created, usually take center stage at any event at which school spirit is evident.
Most students wear fan gear to show their school spirit, but the students chosen to wear these costumes have a performing penchant as they must exhibit exciting behavior at each and every activity in which they participate. Even with the weight of the costumes many who have worn them consider their time as the mascot as being some of the best times of their collegiate life. In addition to having the personality to stay in costume and create excitement at events, the mascots of some of the Big 10 colleges also have to meet certain physical requirements in order to be accepted.
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The Michigan State University Spartan mascot, Sparty for example due to the size of the costume, candidates to be the mascot must be at least 5’-10” tall and not over 6’-2”. In addition to be chosen the candidate has to go through personal interviews and tryouts to determine if they can meet the physical and mental demands the character represents.
In addition to performing at their home schools, the mascot also typically travels to events away from their home school. There are also contests for mascots and Sparty has won three national titles in four years in competition sponsored by the Universal Cheer Association held at Walt Disney World in Florida.
Mascots, while considered a part of the cheerleading team, generally do not join with the cheerleaders on the sidelines. Instead they tend to roam around the field’s outer areas impressing the fans. Others, such as Herky of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes, also visits the Iowa City Hospital, along with other team members of various sports, to meet with the younger patients.
All in all, for the Big 10 mascots, it can be a lot of fun donning a character costume and living in a fantasy for a few hours every week, but they also acknowledge the level of responsibility that goes along with parading around as the symbol of their university.
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