Long live the king (warrior)

Among some of my favourite memories that I’ll take home from Waterloo involve dancing around in a hot, worn, big cat suit.

I volunteered at a few basketball games, an event, and a volleyball gala. The only sport I didn’t put my name down for was ice hockey, because I’m not a confident skater, and I don’t think I could do it in a mascot suit double my size.

I didn’t even know what creature King Warrior was until my second game. No one can blame me — when I admit to people that I’ve “mascoted” (a newly invented verb of my own) for some Warrior games before, usually their first question is, “What is King Warrior, anyway? A puma? A bobcat?”

King Warrior is a lion, Warriors, a lion that is in desperate need of repair. King Warrior’s feet and tail barely have any fur left on them, he has a broken zipper and old Velcro on his feet, and his hands are missing, so you have to wear gloves. His sunglasses also have a habit of falling off.

I think some big reasons why I came to love the big guy is partly because of how old and “well-loved” he is, but also because of how everyone knows this and still cheers when he runs by or takes a photo with them.

Before I was allowed to mascot at any games, I had to know the rules: no talking in the suit (I broke this rule. A lot.), no approaching children, and your hands must be showing in all photographs.

Admittedly, the rules freaked me out a bit, and I got wondering just why these rules were necessary, but I didn’t really have time to think about the rules when I was mascoting. I had to focus with every step, especially on the dreaded bleachers. King Warrior’s feet are wide and long, and have a habit of falling off if you don’t walk with certainty. If you ever want a good laugh, watch King Warrior walking down the steps in the PAC gym.

I would be lying if I said that I didn’t enjoy throwing frisbees at people’s heads. It’s quite honestly one of my favourite things about the job, actually. That, and being able to dance how I normally dance, while having cheerleaders cheer for you for doing as much.

My “normal”dancing is a bit weird because I’m as unco-ordinated as they come, but when I’m King Warrior, people cheer for me. Go figure.

People who attend games should remember that there’s a person under that suit. They can see you freaking out over the idea of getting a free frisbee or T-shirt. They will remember your face, and even when you act cool in the cafeteria, they will remember what you were willing to do for that T-shirt. And yes, they will probably laugh when they get home.

This week, I leave you with a parting message that I’ve been unable to tell the world until now: my tail is a part of my anatomy when I am King Warrior. Do. Not. Pull. It.