Michael Young

Unmasking the Mascot - SEC Mascot in front of 80,000 Screaming Fans

Season  1Episode  1572 MinutesFebruary 21, 2024

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Step into the oversized shoes of a former SEC school mascot with Michael Young as he recounts a world where fierce loyalties and hilarious standoffs were the norm. As Michael peels back the mascot mask, he presents us with a playful yet disciplined side of college sports, one that demands creativity, commitment, and the agility to handle the heat of both the suit and the spotlight.

Have you ever wondered what goes into the making of a college mascot?

Our chat with Michael takes us through the secretive and strenuous selection process, where creativity and resilience are just the entry tickets.

We navigate the game-day maze from the rituals that rally fans to the mischievous antics that define mascot lore. With each anecdote, the curtain is pulled back on the mascot’s mystique, revealing the sweat, strategy, and soul that fuel the frenzied fanfare.

Whether it’s shooting commercials amid earthquakes or traveling the globe without fully understanding why, Michael’s mascot memories offer a quirky yet poignant perspective on college sports’ most colorful characters.


Key takeaways from Michael:

1. Persistence pays off. Sometimes it takes years of dedication and persistence. Perseverance and persistence in the face of obstacles can lead to success.

2. Versatility and adaptability are important in any industry. Learn how to be versatile and be able to handle diverse challenges.

3. Have fun!


 

Tune in to hear more inspiring stories from fascinating individuals.

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Timestamps:

0:00 High School Mascot and Chick-Fil-a Work

9:14 High School Mascot Tryouts and Training

18:50 Mascot Stories and Game Rituals

23:53 College Mascot Appearances and Experiences

35:09 Mascot Experiences and Travel Stories

41:04 Applying for Mascot Position Experience

52:41 Mascot Experiences and Costume Details

57:29 Discussion on Family and Mascot Experiences

1:11:23 Highlighting Extraordinary Stories of Resilience


Transcript:

Speaker 1: 

The SEC was very strict, like you don’t touch another mascot. If that anything went down, you’re out. Like the SEC would come in and kick you out. The only times that where it was like a little iffy was when we were playing people outside the SEC who don’t know the rules, university of South Florida. So they got a bull Right. He walked by and he wanted to get into something and I mean it’s like drilled into you, like do not mess. I mean I’m sure it was awkward because he’s looking at us and he’s like, oh, we’re going to do something. And I’m like, no, we are not. Like don’t you dare touch me. So I think you know he didn’t do like a bull rush or something, but he was going to get into it and you just basically had to put your hands up and back away. But also like make it a joke, because you have 80 to 90,000 people in the stadium looking at you.

Speaker 2: 

Folks welcome to another episode of Interesting Humans. And boy do I have one sitting right here with me. Get ready for this one, guys. Sec school mascot Literally 45 and a half years it took me to ever meet one. Oh, my goodness, I never. Well, how many are there? First of all, you don’t know if you’ve met him Right. Oh yeah, that’s right.

Speaker 1: 

We’re going to find out today.

Speaker 2: 

They’re secretive. Oh, I can’t wait for this story. All right, folks sitting me, sitting here with me today I have Michael Young. Michael, thank you so much for making the time to be here. We’re happy to be here.

Speaker 1: 

We’re grateful for that.

Speaker 2: 

And you’re currently employed. Tell us a little bit about that. Yeah.

Speaker 1: 

So I started a job with Chick-fil-A at what we call the support center. Some people would say that maybe the corporate office and I get to work in restaurant development, really in the existing restaurant side. But we deal with updating people’s drive-thrus A little bit on the inside of the building, a lot of parking lot work and I love it it couldn’t be better.

Speaker 2: 

All right, so I know so many people want to know this. What is it like inside of that, like when you pull in the corporate? Just give us a little bit about it. Disney World man, it’s a. I hear so much about it.

Speaker 1: 

I remember the first time I’ve ever been that was my final interview Back in September of last year and I mean the place is manicured, it’s just beautiful landscape, there are ponds and all kinds of amazing stuff. You pull up to the building you don’t really realize there’s so many buildings there, but then you walk in this massive entry, lovely people at the front desk welcoming you, and then you walk right into this five, six story atrium and it is just breathtaking. It’s a top of the line office. It’s just really so nice. Every corner there’s a snack or a beverage that you could ever want Chick-fil-A food, I’m guessing. At lunch you can get Chick-fil-A in variations, or you can get pizza. They always do some kind of dish, whether it be, you know, some kind of ethnic dish or just something else like barbecue or whatever. And then there’s always a like a healthier lunch, like grilled chicken, rice and veggies. Yeah, always what’s your favorite? I’ve been going with the grilled chicken. Yeah, like either nuggets or fillets, same as in the restaurant. Yeah, same as in the restaurant. But we can it’s like piping hot, it’s perfect Put on a salad or just eat them on their own. The days that are crazy is when they don’t do this every day, but like waffle Friday it is you can’t. It takes forever because everyone is there, everyone loves waffle fries and those lines back up is crazy and it’s just the fries, or is it something special? It’s something along like there’d be some dish and then fries as a side. But if you just want fries, you got to wait in that line just to get the fries.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah do they still have the statue there, the famous oh yeah, when you walk in?

Speaker 1: 

So they got through it outside and then on the inside, it’s Jesus washing the disciples feet Right, right there under the main staircase, which is a spiral staircase that goes from the main floor all the way to the top.

Speaker 2: 

Oh my God. And I would guess, because I was in the old building or old section, I would guess that that’s probably part of their culture.

Speaker 1: 

It’s in their culture.

Speaker 2: 

That exact statue.

Speaker 1: 

Yes, I mean the corporate purpose is, you know, to glorify God. That starts number one by being a faithful steward with all we’ve been interested to and having a positive influence on all we come in contact really Anyone you know positive influence on anyone comes in contact with Chick-fil-A, but then Jesus at the, at the base, is servant, servant led.

Speaker 2: 

So he came here to be. He could have been right to be served versus to serve. It’s that whole. Is that what the story of it is? Is we’re here to serve? That’s right. Our goal is to serve.

Speaker 1: 

That’s why we call it the support center, because we support operators. That’s cool Our whole job is to be in support of them.

Speaker 2: 

So awesome they’re the they’re the rock stars, and so you were a mascot. I was, which is just incredible.

Speaker 1: 

So we want to hear a lot we want to hear.

Speaker 2: 

I can’t wait to hear all about this. We can or can’t talk. We’re not going to talk about the school, right?

Speaker 1: 

Not going to mention the school, just for secrecy sake. Yep, I mean I’m, I’m well removed. How?

Speaker 2: 

many years?

Speaker 1: 

How many years removed? 15 years removed.

Speaker 2: 

Okay.

Speaker 1: 

Cool From being in the in the program, yeah, but they have.

Speaker 2: 

if I understand, they have a culture in and of themselves. That’s right. Tell us a little bit about that. What is it made up of? Why is it secret? Why, yeah?

Speaker 1: 

So um I gotta, I gotta wash my words and be secretive. I still have family affiliated with the program. So, um, I love it. The idea is is that the mascot is a character, he’s a, he’s a real person, right, um, think about Disney, you know, you see Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse. It’s. You’re not thinking about the person inside this suit You’re thinking of oh, it’s Mickey Mouse we have the same culture of. He is, he’s a, he’s basically a student and he’s been there for 40, whatever years, so cool, and he’s the coolest guy there is. And, um, you know so, and it also helps to like, cause it’s not just students, right, it’s kids, it’s, uh, elderly people who just love it and they want to know, like they, they all know it’s a, it’s a mascot, it’s a person inside a suit, but it’s this, this picture being painted of like no, that’s why there’s there’s training to be, hey, we’re going to work on our character, because we’re all got to be the same, right, and we have to make sure that it’s continual, year after year after year, because he remains the same.

Speaker 2: 

So, did anybody while you were in school. You did it, I’m guessing, four years.

Speaker 1: 

You’re only allowed to, oh yeah, so the idea is is two years. You have to make it every year. So make it the first year. You got to retry out for the second year, you got a great chance, you have the most experience, Right, um, but uh, yeah, the reason is is they want to get more and more people the opportunity, um, because it’s an amazing opportunity, um, unreal experience, um, which really made my entire college experience. Oh, that wasn’t so much the classes or my degree, yeah, it was this. Yeah, what did you study? I studied communication. Um, so really, the art of this. Um, a lot of nonverbal stuff. Argumentative discourse classes Um, there was a class I took I can’t remember the name of something with the word rhetoric in it, but basically I would study 30 minute conversations and I’d have to dictate it out, not just like write the words, but write it in a way. That is how it’s, like, if you read it, you could sound it the way that it would have sounded, and then I would write a paper on that, basically coming up with a theory of like, like, just pick a topic and I’m going to write based on what I’ve heard and wrote, and then come up with a topic that based on their conversation. So I think my final paper was um, there was a buddy of mine who has, you know, adhd and, uh, he just bounces from one topic to another topic. And so, uh, my room, my next door neighbor, who was my roommate I grew up with him Um, and so he didn’t really he’s not able to handle that so much, and I was like this is perfect, I’m going to get you in a room and him in a room and we’re going to have y’all just talk for 30 minutes straight and we’re going to see how this goes, and I think my something with the point was just like um, how ADHD impacts conversation, um, and something like that. So that was my the point I wanted to make. Yeah, um, and I’m pretty sure he hit like 30 topics in about three minutes and it was like unreal record. Yeah, I wish I had this set up and I could have videoed it because I would watch it over and over again. It’d be viral. It’s unreal.

Speaker 2: 

So you’re, you’re in high, so let’s go back to high school. So you’re in high school. Is there a point in high school where you started to think like, okay, number one, I know what school I’m going to go to, and then, number two, I know that I want to be a mascot.

Speaker 1: 

Yeah, it was late. Um, so it was senior year and I had applied to two schools. Um, so obviously I’m from here, so I did not apply to Georgia. You know we’re like thinking, oh what In state tuition? all this reason I, like I grew up with Georgia fans, but I knew I wasn’t getting in, there’s no chance and have a good SAT score or whatever. So I applied to two different schools, one of which was Kennesaw and the others the school we’re talking about. And um, kennesaw didn’t have football. I wanted to go to a school that I could go to football games and things. So I chose the school that I went to. Um went to one game, um, which is a very prestigious game that year. Um in the SEC, if you want to read into that, and we’re up in the third, the top deck, and um, I’m just like I’m. I’m no, I’ve chosen the school I’m going and I see down on the field. I see the mascot jump around and I didn’t get to play football growing up. I’ve always wanted to. Um, I played the cross because I didn’t get to play football. I just lit people up. Um and I was like man, I got to get on the field. I’m a sports guy. I would love to like, how am I going to do this? And I see down there this mascot um, and he’s not dorky, he’s cool. I mean, he’s right there on the field. He’s working with cheerleaders and I’m like. I just, you know, elbow my buddy who was my roommate in college, and I said I’m doing that.

Speaker 2: 

He goes doing what?

Speaker 1: 

I was like that guy right there I’m going to be that. He’s like okay, whatever, yeah and uh. So I mean that was like that was January or into December, before I graduated. Okay Is when. I was like you know what, I’m going to pursue this and so I figured out what’s step one.

Speaker 2: 

What do you even like? Yeah, so I had to figure out the process right.

Speaker 1: 

So there’s a, there’s a, there’s tryouts. So what does that even look like? Sure, so again on campus and in August, and I’m like I’m researching, searching whatever I can find. It’s not super easy access today. It’s way more because they want to get more people involved and um, so it’s more open, it’s more out there. It’s more out there from a from a tryout standpoint, got it. Yeah, not so much as the who they are, but um, anyway, figured it out. It was there was a spring tryout, um, and had a lot to prepare Um, so it’s like a three step tryout process. So four step really. You have to apply. You have to go to a pre-meeting where they explain it, explain the process, uh, which was in the student center, and then there was a week long, uh kind of training period where you actually closed doors locked, no one can access this except for the people who are trying out, and some of the old guys who were the mascot prior uh, would come back and train the guys who are trying out. Here’s the character, here’s how you do the walk, here’s how you do all the emotions like, yeah, get you in as much as you can possibly do from a character building standpoint within a week’s time. It’s always at night after class for like three hours a night, Um, so you go through that. We have 20 to 30 people show up and it would drop about half, um, because they were like this is way harder than I thought. One, it’s hot, yeah. Two, um, I mean, you’re sharing suits with people and it’s I don’t know who these people are. You’re sharing sweat is gross, wow, and so you’re just some people aren’t cut out for it. Sure, so you have that week and then that very next, like that very next week I can’t remember what days they were. So you have to create a skit. There’s one round, you create a skit and, um, it’s like a minute and a half or two minutes that has props and jokes and music. All together. It has to have a cohesive theme. Okay, um, that you bounce around from prop to prop um having jokes. You can’t speak, obviously, because you’re in a suit, so you’re using what’s on these props made a cardboard and paint, yeah, and jokes to to. You know, get your messaging across. Um, so we did that.

Speaker 2: 

Uh, there’s a cut after that, um so they usually go far in, or you, let let’s pause real quick. Yeah, how far in. To right, here to where this first cut is, are you a week of training, a month of training a week? Okay, you’ve been in one week every day, yep. Three hours a day, yep, okay, so you needed half.

Speaker 1: 

Half the people are gone more than half this path before they even try out start. So like that first week of training is not really technically tryouts, that’s like pre-tryouts, okay, and then people drop out of that and then you have the skit, all right, and some of it may be they’re like oh man, I did not prepare. You know, I don’t have a skit ready, I don’t have time to do this. I mean, I was, I was up late in the basement of the dorm room practicing, uh and like finishing painting my stuff, cause you got to find time and so people who are procrastinators, you know you’re running out of time. Guess what? You got to show up that next day at 4pm um, you know, an hour ahead of time. Getting suit, get ready, prepare your props, have them loaded to the student rec, all these things, and um, the biggest part about it is like the trials are open to the public, so it’s you’re the mascot at that time. You don’t have to be a student no, no, no, no say to come view. So there’s an audience, got got, got yeah. So it’s like bleachers full of people.

Speaker 2: 

And would they fill up? Would they all come for it?

Speaker 1: 

It was anywhere from 30 to 100 people or so so cool. I don’t know how many there are today. That’s a good question, yeah.

Speaker 2: 

But I think that’s on social media, you know.

Speaker 1: 

Yeah, right, and it’s. It’s varying, like there are people who are terrible and there are people who are better than there’s the people who are retrying out. They’ve already made it. You know the previous year, and so you’ve got real character, you’ve got mediocre character and you’ve got people who are not. Not him, not him.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, is this for one spot?

Speaker 1: 

No, there’s like a handful yeah, so back when I was there with three of us. No one can be in the suit at the same time anywhere in the world. That’s part of the magic, so that’s crazy.

Speaker 2: 

We’ll get into that in a minute. Did you hear that? No, we’re in the world, that’s right.

Speaker 1: 

So real quick story on that. Like one of the guys that I was him with, it was in Ireland, okay, ireland. Like the band was there, couple other things. I don’t know why and for what reason we were over there, but he was there and I was. I think I had a basketball game that night and I had to wait because they’re six, seven hours ahead or whatever, and so I had to wait for him. It was like middle of day game or something like that, and he had to call me from Ireland and say, hey, I’m out, you can get in. And so like there are times where like, oh, yeah, he was an you know, this character was in Ireland, but now he’s back on campus at the basketball game, like that. And most people don’t know that, right, but it’s, it’s part of the mystique and the fun and the magic behind it. That’s incredible. He’s got teleportation skills.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, yeah. Pretty fun and that’s across multiple sport.

Speaker 1: 

All the sport, most all the sports. I mean we’re talking gymnastics, baseball, softball, basketball, football. I said baseball.

Speaker 2: 

What else Not?

Speaker 1: 

so much track, but soccer for sure, la Crosse. We didn’t have a like a varsity sport, it was a yeah Whatever.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, low tier, it wasn’t for intramurals but it was club, there we go.

Speaker 1: 

Clubs were Club, yeah. So yeah, we never really did track.

Speaker 2: 

So so my guess in order would be you would never miss a football game ever.

Speaker 1: 

No.

Speaker 2: 

And it’s SEC’s.

Speaker 1: 

Yeah.

Speaker 2: 

And then, what was the pecking order after that? Or was there one, or how did you decide like?

Speaker 1: 

Yeah, that’s a great question.

Speaker 2: 

Would they go to every basketball game too? Oh yeah.

Speaker 1: 

Home game.

Speaker 2: 

Okay, so basketball.

Speaker 1: 

So football, you travel for all. So, everything, that’s right. Every other sport it’s only home, except for SEC tournaments. For basketball I don’t know how much we do like if we were to make it to the college world series or something, they might think they go Anything big on that. That’s where they travel, but football is obviously number one. You’re going to get everything there and then it would go down. But from like an internal perspective, we’d have a meeting at the beginning of the year to discuss all the games and there’s like so many different things to do on a football game day oh bad. Pre game, like search four hours before oh, that’s right. Yeah, so it’s crazy. Yeah, so you’re, you’re preparing, you’re there at the stadium. Yeah, and you got to do. I’m like filtering myself.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, I love it. Certain words I could tell, but it’s great, it’s still part of the stick.

Speaker 1: 

You know, you know how like football teams will do. I think Georgia does like the dog walk or whatever, like there’s like that kind of situation and then obviously it’s not Georgia, so you can rub that one off. I didn’t go there, and then there was like a band thing, so they march from different areas and you meet them at this one spot for a big pep rally thing. There was like an alumni thing at a tent and there was another like I don’t know if it was for donors or what, but like high profile people were up in the stadium in a club box that you would go to. That’s all. Prior to the game starting. Oh my, and so when we were, it was for three, everyone did every football game Okay, and it was a certain amount of it was like 10 or 10 minutes of game time, so game clock, which ended up being 30 to 40 minutes per time. You do that twice a game. So there was also, like when the team runs out of the tunnel, that’s a guy and he does like the first couple of minutes of the game and then he bounces and come, another one comes out for the next 10 minutes.

Speaker 2: 

So what he bounced and he’s out of suit and done for the night, or you sort of just rotate his next thing.

Speaker 1: 

So he’ll come back in in a second half, all right, so now.

Speaker 2: 

now I’ve got to ask as a cause, our last cause, our last guest on was a CIA guy, so he had the same thing. He had a. It was always watching like I can’t answer that, but it was cool, it’s a little different when this is like national security. Mine’s like yeah, I just don’t want to be ridiculed, that’s all this is so cool so I got to ask this question cause I know he would ask it when would you guys go to change out, so you wouldn’t get like quote unquote caught or Well, that’s a that’s a loaded question, but football was easy.

Speaker 1: 

We had a designated spot under the stadium, under the stadium, yeah, Like you know, it’s a ball right. So there’s the football locker room fancy thing. We’re not there.

Speaker 2: 

Okay.

Speaker 1: 

We’re like tucked up a hill. We had like a, a nice ish barn, if you will, electric, had like heating in air or whatever. There’s a locker room in the back and like a lounge space up front that tied into the. There was a TV in there that tied into the game TV. So whatever that feed is, it was direct. So we would know like you’re switching out and this guy’s not ready yet you at least know like, hey, you need to go because they’re about ready to do this thing. You need to be out there for it. So try to be out there at all times in the game. There was times where he missed a minute or two.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, yeah, well. So would you want the people to see you or you sorry the opposite Would you want to be kept secret from people seeing you walk in that location?

Speaker 1: 

Um, football is different, right? So it’s like you. He goes in and out of the tunnel a lot because it’s easier to grab in something or whatever. People don’t really pay attention to what you’re doing at a football game. You got to see football in front of your face, say no more, and so, but if people are noticing, like he walks in or he’s out there in, say, a Jersey, yeah, walks back and he comes out in a another outfit, like my favorite outfit was, uh, like, um, you know, like shakers, and it was an entire suit made of shakers, so there’s a jacket and there’s pants and so like you jump around and it just looks crazy. It’s so, so fun, um, it’s terribly hot and heavy, um, but like, that’s the thing. So like if you were, if someone was paying attention, they would see six times a game or five times a game that he would go out and back in like instant in something different. And so you’re like, oh, maybe, if I think, oh, well, that’s a different person, or whatever, and the other guys are staying on the sideline, like if I’m out of suit, I’m on the sideline.

Speaker 2: 

Right, and they shared with somebody, a friend of mine, that you were coming on and he specifically asked to ask you this question. He must have had, he must have, motive behind it, did it? Was there a time in history when another mascot, to your knowledge, ever tried to mess with either you or your mascot of your school? Is there a story of that happening? There has to be Cause.

Speaker 1: 

There’s a, there’s an old story of that happening. So the rule the SCC was very strict, like you don’t touch another mascot, like there was. If that anything went down, it’s like you’re out. Like the SCC would come in and kick you out, Like it was crazy. So the old story was um playing another school we don’t really have a rivalry, but it was just, yeah, their mascot, we did some stuff, they did some stuff. Yeah we stole a golf cart and drove it all over the field. Something along those lines and got really, you know, big time in trouble. I Can’t remember the rest of it because he did something too which then led to having all these conversations. We there’s old videos of Like guys in the early 2000s like jumping off. There’s like like a box down there on the field that we get up on sometimes and they would run and jump off and just like Like head slam these guys as they’re walking by like oh, no clue that they’re coming right and just runs and jumps and just Slams them in the crowd goes crazy. Yeah, we weren’t allowed to do any of that. So the only times that where it was like a little iffy was when we were playing people outside the SEC who don’t know the rules. So we were playing like University of South Florida. So they got a bull right. He walked by and he wanted to get into something, and I’m pretty sure I was in suit at the time and I mean it’s like drilled into, like do not mess. And I mean, I’m sure it was awkward, because if he’s looking at us and he’s like, oh, we’re gonna do something, and I’m like, no, we are not, like don’t you dare touch me. So I think you know he didn’t do like a bull rush or something, but he was gonna get into it and you just basically had to put your hands up and back away. But also so, like, make it a joke, right, you know like you’re making fun of him, like you know you’re stinky or you know something done like that, because you have 80 to 90,000 people in the stadium looking at you, like potentially looking at you right, and so you’re like, well, you can’t just back up and be like, no, I’m not, but you have to do that and make a joke at the same time.

Speaker 2: 

So in up. You’re saying in other divisions they don’t have the rules no way.

Speaker 1: 

Yeah, they’re allowed to oh yeah, look at, like, look at. Or the Oregon duck Mm-hmm, if you has searched Oregon duck, like videos like yeah, he torches people, like all the time.

Speaker 2: 

That’s so cool. So that’s actually a rule in the SEC, oh yeah but they sure yep.

Speaker 1: 

You know we’re high and mighty sec.

Speaker 2: 

Man, this is, this is just so cool. All right, you’re going through college did any, I’m sure some of your friends. But how many people roughly knew that you were the mask.

Speaker 1: 

Yeah, so, roommate, obviously you can’t hide that was he a mascot as well?

Speaker 2: 

No, so you were roommates before. Yes, before you apply. That’s right, got it, so we lived on campus for a year was.

Speaker 1: 

I did not make it that first year and I made it myself into my sophomore season and then. So I was full-time, basically Junior and senior year, full-time juniors, yeah. So at that time we lived off campus. That roommate was my next-door neighbor and he had two roommates and then I had my two roommates. So all those guys knew like you cannot hide it, you know, you walk out of your house in the suit to go like someone’s driving you to an appearance somewhere and then you come back you’re like, yeah, obviously you can’t keep that a secret. So I would say you know, it’s those six guys and then anyone who’s affiliated with the program. So we had three Directors that were also students. Is it was a student-run program, like it’s not under athletics.

Speaker 2: 

It’s actually under SGA.

Speaker 1: 

So student government association, okay, so fully student red. So we had three directors that helped us. You know, we had our own like fundraiser. That was a calendar. We had Like an appearance director to help us schedule and make sure that we’re getting to all the places, and I can’t remember what the other one did, but they all had their jobs alongside being a student, so those people obviously knew. And then we had University advisors. So we had two in different one was in admissions on the finance side, and then one was on in the SGA Advisor, and so they obviously know. And then the cheerleaders know because you’re with them all the time. The dance group, yeah, also knew. Band really doesn’t know, we don’t really travel with them and then, like One or two football players might know like did your, did your family know oh?

Speaker 2: 

yeah, your parents oh yeah, were there any like the rat? Did you feel at the time there were any threats of If, if the wrong person found out like? Was you feel that way or no, I mean shoot.

Speaker 1: 

If people were smart I mean really Not not so much smart, they just like paid attention outside of their own world, they would know. Yeah, we had hats with our names on it on the side that we’d wear to class. It has like a like our number based on the year we are doesn’t say anything. It had the mascot Like on the front of the hat, like it’s, but it’s a, it’s a school logo. I’ll sign for a pilot or like a fire dragon around a bag that’s a body bag that is Logoed with the school’s logo on it and sometimes, like you’re, you’re dragging around campus Because you, you had a class this morning and you had to go to this part of campus To have an appearance so that you could be there, the character could be there, right, and then you have a class right after that. You don’t have time to shower, so you got a hat. You just put the hat on. You’re sweating, you put your you know clothes back on, right, and you go to class and you drop off. You drop off the suit in the you know SJ office or whatever that’s. It’s all secretive, right, yeah, but no one ever asked questions about the back, right, like the bag is bigger, almost bigger than this Ottoman. Like how do you not ask questions about this, right? But you put, you throw a logo on top and your name on it and people are like, okay, whatever, and you’re all good.

Speaker 2: 

No one thinks of it like what?

Speaker 1: 

Yeah, I mean it was a huge roller bag, just yeah, huge duffel bag with a roller and like a handle, like a airplane. That’s wild.

Speaker 2: 

So you would have stuff. That I hear you right. You would have stuff. Maybe you’re around town on a particular given day, that’s right. That was almost every day.

Speaker 1: 

Oh yeah, okay, so some of those we’re doing, go to the vet school. They have an event, they want this character there, or they go to the science center or that’s those are all on campus or be community events. Hey, we, we’d like to have him here, can he come? And is also free, like no one pays for this. So they they send in a request. That’s like a request form. Yeah, I’m not sure of this how we do it anymore, but at the time, send in an online request form, it get, we get an email, and so we would have an appearance meeting every week and say like, okay, here are the ones who’ve come in. If any other come in this week, you know for, but we’d ask for some time ahead. Yeah, so we could plan our weeks, and so you just either say yes or no. The nose were very little. We don’t didn’t do personal weddings. You don’t do a couple other like personal events like that. Yeah, yeah, the only weddings we ever did were Like he was at my wedding. Or sometimes like a cheerleader or, you know, like a big-time football player, something like that. Yeah, it’s not like we don’t do that.

Speaker 2: 

What was? What were some of the most common things that you would do?

Speaker 1: 

I all the Lot of sorority stuff, fraternity stuff off campus like away from the university like restaurants community centers no like like golf events, often maybe a golf tournament. Yeah, I went to several Did you loved it. I’m a huge golfer, so, oh man, I wish I could. I’m gonna try to tell you this story, please, without mentioning, because it’s like and say the name I can’t say well, Football player with our school has his own golf tournament every year for fundraising and whatever, for his thing, yeah, and so we would go. And it’s all of these football legends From years and years and years and years, and so it’s at like, I think we did it at Eastlake one year and we did it at Atlanta Country Club, that’s yeah, over in Marietta, cobb County, which used to be played on the PGA tour also back in the day. So sure, great courses, and there was a story. So the, the guy who is who’s, it’s his tournament, he’s on the range, he’s a big dude, big dude, and I’m in suit, I’m having a great day. Like I went to the putting. They have a, you know, putting contest. It’s like a scramble, right? So if you’ve been a part of a golf scramble, there’s the putting contests and the other things, and there’s all these things to do, you know, prior to the tournament starting. And so I made like a 60-foot putt. That day and I’m like you can’t. I mean, I have these eyes that are out here like this, and you can’t see you yeah, oh, in costume. Yeah, yeah, I’m not there to play as a human being.

Speaker 2: 

I’m there to just be a clip of this. Oh my, I wish I had one.

Speaker 1: 

I mean, I’m just I’m on cloud nine, I’m just like I can do no wrong, and so I go up to the range and he’s there. And then our current quarterback was there, who I had gotten to know a little bit so I was messing with him. He’s next to this guy massive dude and I am. I grabbed a bunch of balls and I’m just holding them like this and I’m standing back and I’m just you know, Whatever. Hey, what’s how you doing Whatever? And every other second as he swings, I’m chucking balls that hit as he’s on his downswing. I’m chucking balls at his tee and I’m just trying to knock this ball off. And you know miss a bunch of times and he looks back and I’m like you know, you know I’m not doing anything, I don’t know anything. Yeah, whatever, you know, drop all the balls. You know it’s funny and he’s he’s enjoying it. I kept persisting doing it and I don’t think I ever hit his ball. I got real close. I think I hit the as he was on his downswing, hit his driver with it and Just big dude, southern dude and. Can you bleep out if I say the name, okay, great, so I’m just gonna say it and you’re gonna have to bleep it out Because it’s like part of the context. Yeah, yeah, I got it. This is where you bleep. By the way, I Got a big old trophy room in my house full of all kinds of trophies, all kinds of accolades, bunch of Animal heads on the wall. I’m gonna make up the animals because I can’t remember my bear. You know? Gazelle, like all these things. Yeah, you know what I’m missing? Oh, fill in the blank, this is another bleep out, and if you do that one more time, I’m gonna get me one. It’s like, all right, he’s not out of here. You know, it was like okay, I think I overstayed my welcome.

Speaker 2: 

I’m out. Yeah, so he wasn’t even. He wasn’t even joking. No, I mean. I mean, I’m sure he was some joking, that’s awesome.

Speaker 1: 

But you know, what’s funny is my dad was there so he got invited to play. He’s a medical office building developer. There were some guys from Like big-time GC in town who has affiliations with the, with the University, and so my dad’s playing. He got to witness that first-hand, oh, and he’s like he loves that story. He’s like that is the best, as the best story there is, like yep, it’s a good one.

Speaker 2: 

Smidgen better, as if we knew the name of the the actual player.

Speaker 1: 

I’ll tell you afterwards.

Speaker 2: 

All right, any of these events out of town. Did you travel? Did you have to go to the West Coast? Did you have any?

Speaker 1: 

Oh yeah, so I got to shoot the Capital One commercials with so that you know credit card. They had the mascot Thing where you vote for online and so I shot. I was out there a week in LA shooting commercials on In the parking lot of the Coliseum Stadium. So we went out there crazy stories with that. We’re on set and we have an earthquake middle middle of the set. Like it’s out in the ocean, it was like a six point one or something out in the ocean, so it was in like the fives and this. Like you can just get a mental picture of this is the best. You’ve got 12 mascot sitting in suit like of.

Speaker 2: 

All schools, yeah, from all over the country.

Speaker 1: 

Okay, we’re all sitting there and the UCLA Bruin was also there. So like local, yeah, and I, I was in suit and I’m just, we don’t, we don’t, we don’t take apart Different parts of the suit, like ever. It’s like you’re either fully in suit or you’re fully out, okay, and so I’m fully in suit, but some of the other schools don’t care, and so, like they’re in suit and they have their head off or something, and so they’re all sitting on this bench and there’s an RV behind this, because it’s like a tailgate set and the. I can feel the, the asphalt doing this underneath my feet. I mean it’s a rippling. And it’s a rippling and I mean I just like look up and the visual picture I have in my head is mascots and then mascot bodies and regular heads doing the same thing, and we all our heads look over to the UCLA Bruin Person and she is unfazed, like 100% unfazed, and she’s like, oh, it’s just an earthquake. And we’re like, wait, what this is, justin? Like I’ve never felt a hard surface ripple underneath my feet. Right and so I mean the RVs are shaken. I mean it was, it was crazy. It was crazy. It’s funny. You know, I don’t remember these, these stories, until I talk about it. Yeah, so we got traveled to California. My buddy traveled to Ireland years before that traveled to Japan.

Speaker 2: 

What was that football football stuff, or what was just hand university stuff? I have no idea.

Speaker 1: 

I still, to this day, have no clue why we couldn’t have companies that, whatever alumni or technology or something that’s really it was some part of the university that hey, we’re gonna yeah, you know, ambassadorship or whatever. Yeah, we traveled around with the coaches in the summers on the private plane To do alumni events, so fundraising events, booster events and stuff like that. So I flew with our head coach and I was very prestigious, very prestigious head coach and then you get to talk to him. Oh yeah, I’m sitting on a six-seater jet. Oh, and I am face-to-face with him and some some. He’s super kind and nice and would ask me questions. You know you were the mascot. Oh well, yeah.

Speaker 2: 

I mean, I was there’s a college student on a plane.

Speaker 1: 

With the head coach and like a couple other, like handlers as they will also there.

Speaker 2: 

I’m like that.

Speaker 1: 

So, but it was, it changed. So it’s like either head coach and a couple guys like offensive, like line coach, and then whatever, or would be our. I would go with the offensive coordinator or the defensive coordinator. At the time it just they couldn’t do everyone right and so we’re flying all over the state, north and south, and we’re going to Georgia, we’re going to Mississippi, we’re going, we’re going all over the place To whatever had like an alumni event. So those were fun. Well, obviously, we go to SEC Championships up with basketball. So we went to Tampa, we went to Nashville. I think Bull games were awesome because you go early and you get. I think we went back to Tampa, so we were at.

Speaker 2: 

Ah gosh, probably a week. Are you guys there for like a week? It’s like four or five days.

Speaker 1: 

Yeah, because there’s there’s pre events too. One year we were, we were here at the Chick-fil-A ball or peach ball, whatever it was at the time. So that was like, okay, well, I’m in Atlanta, so I live here and it’s over.

Speaker 2: 

Christmas. I wonder if people are starting to weed out the schools, because if you said one year, we were here for yeah, there was one.

Speaker 1: 

People are going you’re only here one year, yeah, but what?

Speaker 2: 

was so I want to focus, I want to focus in, I want to backtrack a little bit. I am dying to hear this what is this Process like? The interview process? What, oh yeah, what did you? What did they want you to have? What sort of didn’t matter, what did matter? Must haves? Was it like, if you don’t have these three things, don’t even apply. I think this back in that, whatever you recall sure.

Speaker 1: 

So I mean, obviously grades are apart, so you you had to have a think over a 2.0, which is low, but they need to know that you’re gonna be able to handle school and Handle a full-time job. Got it.

Speaker 2: 

So can you apply? I’m gonna. Yeah, yeah, I’m just jump in a first thing. Can you apply as a freshman? You can. I missed that part so you could apply as I did.

Speaker 1: 

Yeah, so freshman was a didn’t make it.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, okay, got it. Yeah, so you could apply as a freshman.

Speaker 1: 

Yes, and actually we’ve had a couple freshmen at the time I don’t think any freshman had made it when I was going after it so we’ve had a, maybe two, maybe three since then. But it’s like so to finish the process, right, we have that first round with the skit and there’s a cut and there’s a second round. That’s what’s called an impromptu skit. They throw every possible circumstance at you that you’ll ever face as the mascot. What’s one? Like cheerleaders come out and do a cheer, like okay, great. A grandma comes out, a kid comes out and Like how do you interact with them? But the kicker is it’s not just one at a time, it’s like seven items at once and there’s music going on in the background and it’s like what, how do? you prioritize, yeah. so, because it’s gonna happen, you’re at a football game or you’re before the football and you’re walking down the street, there are hundreds of thousands, like hundreds of people to thousands of people around you. How do you prioritize? Who do you say hi to? How do you move through, like, and it’s the idea is to stump you so, but through all that, can you portray the character in that bright character? Yeah, so it’s like five, six minutes. I mean, you get back from that. You can’t breathe, like Our suit was not the greatest from airflow standpoint, so you have to train yourself how to breathe. So I remember getting back and just being like you know, like I can’t, I am, I can’t believe I made it through that. So if you make it past that, there’s a cut again.

Speaker 2: 

How long? How long was that night? That van, who’s that? A couple hours.

Speaker 1: 

I said, yeah, a couple hours, yeah so skits are one day and prompt is on the second day, okay, and then if you make it like, soon as that’s over, gather together and there are judges and stuff, they’re they’re judging and there’s, there’s like a clear break in the score. That’s where the cut line is, and but they don’t usually like to take more than like Think at the time like six to interviews and it was formal interviews, suit and tie on one of the prominent Buildings of campus with people from all over the university. I’m asking questions. So the cheerleading head of cheerleading Director lady she was there and then a bunch of random other folks and they’re asking you character questions. Hey, what would you do in the situation type questions to remember any of them?

Speaker 2: 

It’s hard If one comes to mind.

Speaker 1: 

What I remember, some of the ones on the second interview. I’ll get to that in a second, okay, so I mean they want to know, like, who you are as a person. Yeah, because the idea is, if you make it, you are an ambassador, maybe the ambassador of this entire university. You represent this character, you represent the university. So they don’t want in this dude who just wants to come and have a good time. Yeah, like sorry You’re out of here, you need to be, but like it’s not just look for the goofy guy, it’s like you need, yeah, you need a like a good guy or a girl. We were actually you could make it as a girl too. There’s only been one ever. But Anyway, so they’re going through like character trait stuff. Yeah, tell me about your family, tell me about you know where you grew up. Tell me if you had a situation of Like moral dilemma, like what would you do in this situation? And then you wait for all the other five guys to go through the interview and then that night they actually call it out out loud outside so like if you were paying attention you could go and you would know who these guys are, but no one else just thinks to go to those either right and at the time is in the middle of all these dorms. They’re like just open your window, you’ll find this you’ll find out no, the second year, you know, I had a couple things like I missed. I Didn’t miss the flight. We were going to a school on the west side of the SEC and my alarm did not Go off. They probably set it for pm Instead of am and we it was an early had to meet at the athletic center. We were getting on a bus to go to the airport to fly out and it’s a charter flight, so you can’t like, we have to go, we have to be there, and it was like a bit of we had to drive an hour and a half to get to the airport and I was the last to show up because my alarm didn’t go off. I think someone called me, one of the other guys, and I was like, dude, you better get here, didn’t shower. I had, like, I didn’t pack nothing, I just like got there and the cheerleading the head of the cheerleading she was upset with me because, like the day before she’s like no one can be late, we cannot. We made the flight. We weren’t late for the flight. Like hindsight, it wasn’t a big deal. Yeah, right, but she, it was a big deal to her, yeah, and she brought up that specific instance in my interview with all these other people like, and it was like not so much like oh hey, tell me about why you missed this. You know what the timeline it was like basically, like you know, based on what I know of you, like you know your organizational skills are not great, or you know, like you, you know, if you have a timeline, you don’t hit it like like I want you to speak to. That I was like, oh Wow okay, we’re really going there.

Speaker 2: 

Hey, thanks for not being petty.

Speaker 1: 

No, and I think it was a great question. You know she, she wanted to know personally, but also because I was going to be the head, like I was going for the head position next year. So there’s a guy who, like one of the guys, leads it as like the Main point of contact, and so she wanted to know, like, have I changed? Like, is there any gonna be a situation when that happens again, how you gonna lead yeah, other guys if you can’t show up on time? So I mean, I appreciate the question. At the time I was, I was like that’s wow so you rolled up, you rolled up under.

Speaker 2: 

Did you say, under the?

Speaker 1: 

cheerleading. Yeah, so anytime you travel for sports and they go, we are underneath them. Yeah, so that’s like kind of the person we answer to.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, yeah, okay even though we were not. Do you know that I could be driven? There’s so much. So do you have a? Do you have a favorite story or one of your favorite stories in costume? Hmm, I.

Speaker 1: 

I’ll just pull this one out. I was at the time like I love the dance and just I Was decent like no training, just like to consume.

Speaker 2: 

You’re talking. Yeah, I like to dance outside.

Speaker 1: 

Outside, like weddings and stuff, I go nuts. You know I don’t do that anymore, you know, but I just danced to to embarrass my children. Now Like father daughter dance just pay attention you know, Well, when you’re youngest, yeah, it gets old enough. Just look at me.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, that’s right.

Speaker 1: 

So you, we would dance, we are. We had a golf cart we drive all over campus, had big old speakers, so we would just play you know, back then it was like Applebaum jeans was my favorite song and we had a In-state rival who we would welcome to our campus and we’d go to their campus. There’d be a before our big rival game. Lot of you know camaraderie kind of thing. Like hey, your same state, you know like we accept you guys. You know Like we hate them from a sports standpoint, but so we would invite them. And then we had like a dance off on campus and I’m just, I mean they’re terrible and I’m great. Is that this how I’m thinking? My, you know, yeah, and I’m just busting it and enjoying it. And like People want to think what they want to think, right, and they have no clue who’s inside this suit. All they know is like you can dance, like just to see people’s faces and like their responses to what I’d be doing in suit. I mean they would just like happen over and over and over again, right, like you just blow people’s minds like, yeah, because you’re a, you’re a mascot doing these dance moves. We didn’t have, you know, like the nene back then or any of that like stuff. So we had like Lean with it, rock with it and stuff like that. So Just fun stuff. Like that was was great. Another story this was early on in my career Because you’re not supposed to talk, right. So we were at the vet school for a big Event and it’s like everyone brings their dogs Kind of a fun like outside event. It’s hot, it’s like the end of the Semester, so like I had just made it in April and it’s like May or something. So I’m like brand new hey, don’t talk, never talk, never make a noise. Like that’s a rule, that’s gonna be tough.

Speaker 2: 

I’m trying to get in not tough as you do it.

Speaker 1: 

I’d express yourself. Oh, and I’ll make it faces in in suit, you’d never see him. I have a little camera. Oh man, that’d be hilarious. So, anyway, there’s all these dogs and I was warned like, hey, dogs don’t know what to do with you at times. Some dogs are great, some dogs are not great. And so I make it through this entire the appearance, as we’re usually 45 minutes because really you can’t do much more Than that. You’re sweating, it’s hot, you need to get out and get some water, so I Make it through this appearance. I’m like this was great. Dogs love me and I’m a dog person. My dog loves me as I’m like I just like this was easy, like no problem. So I’m on my way back into the building to whatever office I found, to lock the door and get changed out. Yeah, so come in the building. This dogs everywhere. I get on the elevator, go up up a floor and no, it’s before I get on the elevator, and so there’s a golden retriever, super kind, and then there’s a bulldog. I’ve already told you I’m not a joy and was wasn’t Georgia right? This bulldog was massive. I mean, like you think, aga, like big dog, this was like one of those was brown and Like I think they came off the elevator and I’m looking at this, I’m like petting this golden retriever out here, and I turn around and there’s a bulldog right there and it saw me and I saw it and it like think, like it lunged at me and like my visual is like that dog was off the ground and if that person didn’t have a leash I was dead. Like, like, like, jumping at me. I screamed so loud I’m in suit. I screamed like I was never more terrified, screamed, ran into the elevator I’m hitting the door, you know like and then it closed and I was like what just happened? And I like ran up, got out of the suit and got out of there and I was like I hope no one heard me. I hope no one heard me. You know I’m new right like this is gonna get back to somebody that you know.

Speaker 2: 

He screamed you may know, I’m like I and I screamed like a girl.

Speaker 1: 

It was as hot, you know just.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, that’s a good one. Is there an? Is there anything About the costume that would sort of like blow our minds or be interested our costume was very simple.

Speaker 1: 

It’s a jumpsuit with a zipper. We had size 17 feet that were made around. Actually it was made around converse at the time, like Chuck Taylor’s. So I don’t know if it is or not. They used to throw in different shoes that were more comfortable. I think they would. They’ve gone back, so it’s it’s high top Chuck Taylor’s on the inside. You’ll never know so you slip them on and you know, if you’ve ever worn them, they’re not the world’s most comfortable shoes, sure, and so you’re walking around with size 17 foot on top of that shoe, which then influences the walk, and then the the head is Is made of plaster With fur on the outside, and so there’s not, there’s no breathing, like there’s like a little bitty hole down here that was on accident, and then all the other holes are your eyes. That has like a mesh on it. Yeah, and so you, you really like you, have to train yourself how to breathe. Yeah, because it’s, it’s, you’re breathing in your own stuff Constantly. So what’s the tip?

Speaker 2: 

What are you doing, some there?

Speaker 1: 

were times where it’s like there’s a fan somewhere, there’s a breeze, like you’re gonna go pause and like go around a corner and just have that air coming in your eye, just to replenish the air, like get the old stuff out, or you just had to suck it up and just deal. So you would, like I trained myself because your your heart rate would get high, especially due to the activity, and You’d be breathing heavy and you’d have to find ways to remain in character, just sit down and then slow your breathing. So I would take Deep breath in and hold it and then like slowly release it. Over time it would slow my heart rate down and slow my breathing down and I had to learn that over time. And what’s funny is Tennis years I’ve been. Eight or nine years after I had graduated they had me come back and judge Tryouts and so part of that is that when they call it out, that judge, like a celebrity judge, gets to get back in suit one more time so. Kicker is is you walk from the student center to this other building in suit and I’m like I’m not a shape, like I’m not in this breathing shape, and we walk and there’s right right before you know they’re gonna call out and I was like I’m like we had signs of like you know you break your tail. That means you got to get out. I didn’t, wasn’t doing that. It was like you know I need to, yeah, I need to sit. So I sat down and I was like remembering, like I’m, like I cannot catch my breath, never remembered, like I got grace, like big, deep breath in, and then Slowly so they let it out, and I do it over and over again and like, okay, and then you get back to square one and then you get up and go yeah, that was crazy.

Speaker 2: 

Is there any kind of like hall of fame type of commemorative section that you’re listed on, or all the mascots are listed on? That’s a good question, like in that room that you’re talking about. Yes, well, they may paint over it.

Speaker 1: 

So we had a wall with signatures, so like the mascot had a signature and then you would, so on your last day, yeah, you would sign and then you you’d sign your name and then the years that you were and that’s kind of the way it was. I don’t know if they painted over at the time. It is fun. It was cool to see, like from the very first time, like what the very first one ever, like how does signature, and it was like, ooh, that’s ugly. And then, but where it went from that to where, like the standard, is here.

Speaker 2: 

Was that roughly? When were the first mascots? I should know this Roughly was in the nine, seventy eight, oh, really that laid on? I don’t think it was there. Okay, that’s cool. So Two, two questions, um, one mascot related, and we’ll. I want to talk a little bit about your family and what you’re up to now. So would you, would you get to pick or sit on a committee or board to like, pick your the next mascot? How?

Speaker 1: 

did that work? Yeah, so that was only in reference to when I was asked to come back as a judge.

Speaker 2: 

That was now nine or ten years later, but right and pick. You didn’t help pick the next.

Speaker 1: 

The, the after you. Yes, yes, I did so as the, the appointed leader of it. On the second year, you would sit in on the interviews, I think I can’t remember. It’s so bad, but we were a part of that process. Yeah, you were, um, you know we actually you sit as a judge and so you get to. You weren’t a part of any of the pre stuff, right, you like, if you were a judge, you’re not going in and helping, so you’re removed from that. So you have a almost like a third, like unbiased Opinion of what you see. Yeah, just like the other judges do. Yeah, and we were part of the interviews. So you get to, you’re like you have a big say because you’re now looking at this, these other guys who you’re gonna spend an entire year with, that’s right, I see them every day. Yeah, it’s like, if you’re not gonna click you, we’re going to talk about that after it’s over, like after this interview is over, because you talk about it in the room, right and so, or if you have, like, man, I just don’t feel good about this guy, like I think he’s being fake. You know, I think this is all a show. I’ve heard this. I’ve heard this. Some of the guys you end up knowing they just want to try out, they don’t make it real far or whatever. So, yeah, you did have a say, yeah, we weren’t to end all be all, but you were a very important voice in that because you’re gonna like you’re well, I was, I wouldn’t spend time with them next year, but you knew the guys who were right, because you’re done and you’re moving on. But like huh, that’s going to be a problem. Like if we, if we pick him, he’s going to be a problem. Yes, he’s great in suit, but there’s a reason why we have these interviews. This personality doesn’t fit.

Speaker 2: 

He’s not the right fit Character wise, like now you got social media you can just go out and sort of verify yeah for sure, whoa those pictures?

Speaker 1: 

Back then we didn’t have most of the stuff. Facebook was a college thing, right, and you didn’t use it for posting pictures and stuff.

Speaker 2: 

Sure, mostly used it to Keg stands or you know all those things that they’re posting. Right, that’s right, so that’s awesome. So I’m curious now I want to talk about I want to talk about you and the person of Michael just for a couple of minutes here. Curious two things. So tell us what life sort of looks like for you. As much detail as you want If you want kids, wife, you know, work. You mentioned Chick-fil-A. I want to know some aspirations you have for the future. And and I’m also curious about something else Past mascots that you know. I’m curious what their lives after mascot look like if there were tie-ins or like I know you and I know your personnel Right and I’m I would have to say that a lot of the mascots would have to be very similar to you. They’re going to be, you know, outgoing character, like the whole nine yards. So I’m curious if you know where any of them are. So let’s start with Michael.

Speaker 1: 

Yeah, so yeah, married to my wife, Rebecca, for over 12 years now. We have three kids. We go 10, eight and five, two girls and a boy. So Eden is 10, Addy is eight and then my son, Theron, is five. So it’s fun and chaotic every day. Did you guys meet in school? No, so did not. She’s not from the South, she’s from Northwest Pennsylvania. She was actually, you know, we were talking beforehand, talking about when she lived in Maui and stuff. So she had already done youth with a mission and had already lived there again. And then she was planning to go move back but her mom was moving down here to be close to her sister who just had their first daughter. So Rebecca, being loving and kind to her mother, moved down here with her, helped her get settled. Well, she ended up getting the job and hanging around for a while. So we actually met at a small church in coming that a friend of mine from high school was a youth pastor. He needed some help from a musical standpoint I have a musical background and so I went and led worship for him and she was the only other adult volunteer. So we got to know each other through that. And there’s a lot longer stories there, but that’s where we met and started our friendship, which was great, and kept her from going back to Maui.

Speaker 2: 

So you know that’s point of contention sometimes.

Speaker 1: 

No, it’s great. And so we live in Johns Creek, not too far from you, and we obviously go to perimeter, which is our church home and school home, and we just absolutely love it. We wouldn’t choose anything. So, with the Chick Blay thing, our office is down south of the airport, so, or Southwest of the airport, and so you know a lot of people live on the south side. You know they’ve asked me like are you moving? And like, no chance, like dude, my whole life is up here, right, you know, we just finally got to move to the, to the much closer to church, worth three minutes from the church and school, and our community is here. It’s like I can be the outlier and drive to the office. It sometimes takes me an hour and a half, but I’ll do it, you know, because everything else appears like our friends and our, like I said, our church community is where it’s at True community.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. Yeah, that’s awesome. So do you know any of the other, whether it’s past your school mascot or past other schools? Do you know? Oh, yeah, I have.

Speaker 1: 

So one thing is, we have a reunion every five years.

Speaker 2: 

Oh, that’s so cool.

Speaker 1: 

We invite everybody back and so there’s hundreds of people who come back. I can’t. It’s in every and then families and everything. So it’s a two night or one night thing and usually ends with like the game of the week.

Speaker 2: 

So that’s the school?

Speaker 1: 

Yep, that’s the school there’s a, there’s a night thing, the first like a Friday night, and then there’s a Saturday morning like Banquet, and they always give like an alumni award and stuff like that, and then they go to the game and get to go on the field and be recognized as mascots Yep, cool. So I mean they’re not going like your name, your name, your name, it’s just this big group of people, big group yeah, which is so fun. But like I keep up a little bit with the guys that I was mascot with, one of the guys I was with married my sister, so he’s in the family.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, one of the mascots from your school, yes, and with me Like we.

Speaker 1: 

so we were together one year and then he was out and then I stepped into his position the second year. So obviously I’m in touch with him a lot. We’ve had several professional mascots.

Speaker 2: 

What is he into? Let me, let me, let me, let me stop right there, I’m just curious where your paths like.

Speaker 1: 

So he, he works for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation now, yeah, and is like over the US and I can’t remember what his title is, but basically fundraising events. Yeah, so he has fundraising staff that run these events and so he’s a supporter and help raise money for the cure and all the things. So that’s what he does. Now Got it and he’s been doing that kind of work for since he graduated. He moved to Dallas right out of school and did for another company, nonprofit type raise funds, and then he’s been in with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation for a long time, but they live in the college town. Yeah, that’s awesome that we went there and my sister works for the university and, yeah, she’s affiliated with the program. She’s now an advisor of the program, so Of the mascot program. Yep, yeah so great fun. That’s awesome, so. But you know some of the other guys. We’ve got doctors, we’ve got marketing folks. Yeah, talking about personalities, it’s all over the board. You’ve got introverts, you’ve got extroverts. You’ve got the guy mentioned talking about ADHD conversation. He was also the mascot with me, so varying. And he’s a brilliant guy, his work for the universities and in agriculture and some horticulture and all kinds of crazy stuff. And then like one of the guys is working with Chick-fil-A as a like a contractor to help with like a new point of sale.

Speaker 2: 

Oh, that’s so cool.

Speaker 1: 

So we were talking about that at the last reunion this year. Oh really, we’re like how crazy is that? You know, like two former guys, right Now we’re not working together, but you’re helping Chick-fil-A I just got a job there. That’s so cool. That’s so cool, it’s special, I love it. There are guys who make a whole career out of mascotting, Like we have one who owns a mascotting business in Atlanta. And so he like got to keep teams out of it because you can look at it up but like professional teams, he’ll he’s like affiliated with them, has that. And he also like has deals with companies Like healthcare companies and they have a mascot and he’ll manage that whole thing for them, or he’ll help create the mascot, design it, get it made and shipped there and spend time with them on what the character needs to be Like that’s his business.

Speaker 2: 

Incredible. I mean actually he said he’s in Atlanta. I bet we spoke to him.

Speaker 1: 

So really.

Speaker 2: 

Yeah, so one of my clients has taken their wolf and making a brand or a mascot out of it Awesome. And we reached out and noticed that there was like there was only one player really in the game that owned. You could see how incredible.

Speaker 1: 

So it sounds like it’s got. He does a lot of that stuff. That’s so cool. There was a guy and it’s not so much a thing anymore, I guess, since COVID and stuff. But like Furbus here, furbus, like he created that, like it’s. So you rent a bus like a party bus, yeah, but the seats are full of like mascot fur and stuff, like it’s, just like full of fur. Like he created that business. I think he sold it years ago.

Speaker 2: 

Like what a random thing what do you know?

Speaker 1: 

Okay, I was a mascot, I think he did professional mascotting for a while and he’s like you know what? Right, I’m going to have a fleet of buses, we’re going to put fur in there and they probably run, you know, disco balls and stuff, Full capacity.

Speaker 2: 

I mean, they were full capacity and yeah they were, I mean used to see them all over the place.

Speaker 1: 

I don’t know how much they’re around anymore and it’s like that is just crazy. I love it. We had guys go be in the NBA several guys as team mascots there and yeah, just crazy. I actually thought I was going to do that right out. So like when I graduated or before I graduated college, I did an internship with the Detroit Pistons and so I was very one, it was 2009. Terrible time. They didn’t pay me a dime, so I was up there for free, but I had to do it for school and so I was like there’s, you can do whatever you want. So I went and worked for the Pistons underneath the mascot, because I was like I need to learn about this, because I think I’m going to do this for my career, and a weekend I was like I don’t want to do this, See, but that’s the value of doing the internship it’s not always to see what you want to do, but to weed out the things you don’t want to do.

Speaker 2: 

That’s right.

Speaker 1: 

But that was like a weekend and I had a full semester.

Speaker 2: 

So I was like all right, I’m going to have to figure out a way to enjoy this and I did enjoy it.

Speaker 1: 

It was great and I lived in Detroit and you know, got to experience that when all the plants were shut down it was not a great time, but I had a great time up there, so cool folks, what a show that was, wow.

Speaker 2: 

Random you know random stories. I had somebody write in yesterday, a lawyer and, and had a very interesting comment. She said that she’s particularly particularly she particularly loves the variety of. We got a guy who sold a company for a couple billion dollars, we got an F 18 pilot and I sort of held today’s show. I didn’t tell her that this was going to happen. So what I’m going to do here is take a little bit of footage from today and send it to her and go how’s this for variety?

Speaker 1: 

Cause, who would ever?

Speaker 2: 

like you would never in a million years, like all the people that I’m bringing on, go. Oh yeah, bring a mascot on. It’s just not something we think about, but I’m so intrigued by it it’s awesome. So a couple things. So, thank you for your time. Sure, the first stop is for asking Greatly appreciate. This is just, it’s cool, it’s neat and folks listening. I beg, if you, if you’ve gotten a some value here today, if you thought it was cool at any level, entertaining on, if you’ve learned something, if you know somebody wants to be a mascot, please, please, please, leave us a rating. Okay, leave us a rating on our podcast. It helps us, whether you leave it on YouTube or on iTunes, spotify, etc. And then, as always, with the social media component, like a share us comment, and if you have anybody who’s interesting. This is not about financial success. This is about people who have carved away, found a way to do something cool, whether it’s against all odds, whether it’s you know, next week we have a 12 year survivor of Gleeoblastoma brain tumor which there’s only a hand for, just like you, there’s only a very small amount of them, because that’s you know, you’re dying within a year. So, if you have anybody that you’d like to nominate, we’d love to hear about them. Just reach out to us. We’re all across social media, etc. So thanks for tuning in today, Michael. Thank you again for your time. We do appreciate it.

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