Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Futbol's Furry Friends

Mascots: Football’s Furry Friends by Rick Minter
Weight: 1 lb
Method of Disposal: Donating, unless you want it

I had a childhood dream of being an astronaut or a marine biologist, but as life began to settle in and I started to see the world for what it was I must have lowered my expectations. There came a point when I was still very young when I wanted to be a mascot. A big, masked, anonymous, and furry mascot. I could work at Disney Land.

Many years later, I would work in a small bookstore, and I would end up mascot-ing, if you will. It was for story time. The most memorable moment was being Franklin the Turtle. I strutted around the mall trying to lure kids into the store. Instead, I got a group of annoying teenagers who pushed me until I heard the familiar voice of my best friend, Skye, asking them to stop. She told them who I was and there were some apologies. I was irritated that the only thing that saved me was my friend and not human decency. I then stopped by a local food shop where another friend worked, took off my head, and we made out in the bathroom…just for a minute. I was and am a great role model. I left the second a child walked in.
After that, I worked at Barnes and Noble in the children’s department. I became an assortment of children’s cartoon characters. I was so great as Curious George that parents would later tell me that they wished I hadn’t missed him on my day off. Furry Nut Brown Hare had a messed up name and an unfortunate costume to boot. I couldn’t breathe in there! I am pretty sure I was having an asthma attack when I knocked over that toddler trying to get to the staff room. I couldn’t see anything so, no matter what, it wasn’t my fault.

It was at that job, after one of my more disturbing dress-ups, that I began searching for books on mascots in our system. I was bored—not inspired. This was not my most insignificant search. I will tell you now that there were many times I searched “ahhh,” “I hate work,” “I hate retail,” and “eeeee.” Anything to stay awake. I found a lot of books I never would have heard of otherwise. MASCOTS being one of them. I thought I was getting a book that was really about football’s furry friends. I thought it would tell the stories of these people’s regular lives, the abuses they withstood at work, and the designs of their costumes that allowed them to breath, walk, and/or dance. No such luck. There is a page per mascot with a brief description about why that mascot was chosen for that team and then some ridiculous questions like, “what is your favorite food?” And even more ridiculous answers like, “KitKats, chicken balti pies, and the children who pull my tail.”

Oh, and this is football like futbol if you are interested in making it part of your library. It would be fun for a kid. Just don’t get your hopes too high, like I did, and you won’t be disappointed.

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