Mascots are enjoyable and entertaining to behold, whether you are child or an adult. They give a sort of relief from a high-tension game or just from the busy bustles of life. These anthropomorphic stuffed animals or objects have been part of the entertainment and advertising portion of sports leagues, professional and school games, and they also represent the identities of the respective school and professional sports teams, military units, societies and brand names. In the sports world, mascots also serve as merchandising representatives. Mascots take on many appearances and forms, depending on the organization they are representing. Sports team mascots may take the form of a logo, person, an animal, an object or a costumed character; we often see them on team matches, and other sports-related events.
Mascots have gone a long way since their inception in the late 1960s. Sporting organizations originally thought of the concept of having a mascot for their teams to bring entertainment and excitement for their spectators. The early mascots were not the fictional icons or people in suits that we know today. They were mostly live animals brought into the games to represent the teams, as psychological tools against rival teams and to entertain the spectators. Things developed well for mascots especially near the end of the 1960s, when the Muppets became known to the public. By donning on three-dimensional suits, the mascots added physical interaction to the entertainment they provide to spectators. Market and advertisements specialists were quick to grasp the great potential of three-dimensional suited mascots and thus introduced mascots to business and other organizations aside from the sports industry.
We might probably think that the people behind the mascot suits are comfortable and taking it easy inside the suits. On the outside, we see hilarity, agility, grace and ease of movement from the mascots. We see some of them do cartwheels, trampolines and dance numbers like they do not have the suits on. In reality, these feats took days or weeks of preparation and hard training. The stunts, skits and other outrageous antics done by the mascots are the result of those preparations, practice and training. For people who make a living behind the suit their professions, the years and years of dedication and back-breaking trainings and practice are what made them the well-loved and appreciated mascots that they are now.
The conditions inside the suit can be more challenging than we think. Not only does the wearer contend with carrying an extra 10 to 30 pounds of suit material for the whole duration of the event, the temperature inside the suit can be 15 to 30 degrees hotter than air temperatures outside the suit. The suit can offer great insulation during the colder months, but they become terrible substitutes for a sauna in the temperate months. And not to mention, there is the problem of how the suit smells no matter how many dry cleaning it went through. If you are not able-bodied and physically fit, being inside the suit can be a very challenging job for you. And even if you are in tip-top shape, there are still situations that can push the limits of your endurance and stamina, like bending over very minute or two to entertain kids trying who hug you, goof off with or get pictures taken with you, or doing hours of autograph signings and holding a pen while in costume.
Different organizations also do their share in taking care of their mascots. Some are finding new ways to clean and freshen the suit to address the smell issue. Other suits are equipped with built-in fans and coolers to help manage temperatures within the suit.
Being a mascot also has rewarding and beneficial sides to it. For one, mascots take home a decent paycheck for all their efforts. Depending on different factors, the base pay for a professional mascot can be somewhere between the upper five-figure and lower six-figure paycheck. Not only that, but one of the more rewarding sides to this job is the sheer enjoyment of being part of the game and its entertaining part. Seeing the faces of children light up when they see can be one of those moments you can share with your loved ones when you get home. Also, you get to be part of special announcements like marriage proposals or pregnancy announcements in the stands. These things and more are what make up the life behind the mascot: challenging yet rewarding.