On Wednesday, despite not having any classes to attend, I spent the entire day at school. After a day full of meetings, I found solace in stuffed mushrooms and coconut chicken at an alumni reception in the Palmer-Kettler Skybox at Bender Arena before AU’s game against Army. From the comfortable lounge, current Kogod students mingled with university alumni while basketball team members warmed up on the gymnasium floor.
Despite having the best seats in the house and a table full of goodies, the most memorable moment was definitely when my friend (and fellow contributor) Julie realized that “Clawed”, the AU eagle had joined us. “Ahhhhh! I love mascots!” My classmate, Vivek and I laughed at her but then quickly realized that mascots have a unique ability to make people smile.
We joked with Clawed about how hot he must get wearing his uniform and how difficult it would be to see out of his plastic eyes. Clawed would have none of that. Clawed was even kind enough to take time from his busy schedule of igniting school spirit to pose for pictures with his adoring fans (and we covered #136).
This interaction got me thinking more about mascots. I went to high school at Staten Island Tech where our mascot was Sammy the Seagull. Legend says that Sammy was added to the ballot as a joke and wound up winning. Truth is that Sammy (or privately known to me as my friend Suzanne) is one of my favorite memories from high school. As a student leader at the time, I helped organize student pep rallies and Sammy was by far the star.
While I am happy with most of the choices I’ve made, I do wish that I had taken the opportunity to don Sammy’s costume that time Suzanne offered in high school (though I’m note sure it would have fit). My new friend Clawed seemed convinced that he was actually an eagle and was unlikely to let me get the crowd fired up.