We see him at every sporting event, but his identity remains a mystery. This week, Street has a conversation with our very own masked vigilante, the Princeton Tiger.
Q:How did you become the mascot?
A:My freshman year, in the fall, I went to a football game and I saw the mascot, and I was like, “I can do a better job than that,” kind of jokingly. I let the idea simmer but then I started thinking — actually, I could. I tried to go through the cheerleading squad, but [the mascot] isn’t affiliated with them. It took me months to track down the right person ... but he said he was always looking for new people. I didn’t have to try out or anything. By the time it was all said and done, it was around January or February.
Q: So the identity of the mascot is kept pretty secret, then?
A:Yes and no. It’s not really a big deal if everybody knows. The biggest thing is the fact that I know that people don’t know who I am, in the sense that I can act foolish and crazy without having any reservations.
Q:How do you come up with excuses about not being able to attend sporting events?
A:Often I say I’m busy or I have a meeting for something. I try to make a reasonable excuse, like, “Oh, I’m working at the game.” I tell people I have a job with the athletics department — which is true. I kind of tell half-truths, not lies ... It’s always interesting to see what I’ll cook up.
Q:What’s the best thing about being the mascot?
A:It’s just fun. It’s fun to go to a game and give high-fives to everyone. Everyone loves you and they don’t even know who you are. You walk into a room and everyone around you is like, “Oh my God, it’s the tiger! Give me a hug!” It just makes you appreciate Princeton, especially during Reunions.
Q:What’s the worst thing about being the mascot?
A:Definitely how hot it gets. The suit is not very modern, so to speak — it’s basically exactly how it looks ... a heavy, almost wool jumpsuit with almost no ventilation. You can’t see or hear very well. Reunions is the worst. I easily lose 5 pounds of water ... It’s a challenge to stay cool.
Q:What are some funny or embarrassing things that have happened?
A:The women’s basketball team made it to the NCAA Tournament, and there was an event hosted in Trenton. Local mascots showed up, and they had a mascot basketball game. I’m terrible at basketball ... Add in the fact that I had this heavy suit on. It was terrible, just the worst. The other mascot was really good at basketball. It was very fun at the same time though. Also, last year ESPN wanted to make a commercial where mascots are extras in an office. They called to see if the Princeton Tiger would be down to be in a shoot. I was also an extra in an actual commercial that got aired on TV ... I got to miss a day of class [to shoot it]!
Q:What will happen when you graduate?
A:I don’t know if there has been a mascot at the football games so far, but I haven’t been to them. There’s a sophomore or junior that’s in the rotation now. Apparently before I signed on there was a rotation of three or four people doing it. We’re always looking for more people.
Interview conducted and edited by Jenna McCarthy ’13.