And why not? The first-ever Webster Thomas mascot is a fun-loving fowl.
From the depths of a cardboard box comes the bright blue fuzzy bird costume that transforms mere mortal students into spunky, sassy Thomas the T-Bird.
“People definitely look at you differently,” said sophomore Reaghan Wirley, one of the students who dresses up as the school’s new mascot. “But it’s just so much fun to see how people react.”
That reaction tends to be lots of high-fives and laughs from players, coaches, fans and even those by-the-rulebook referees. But this cheerleader, who typically blends in as part of a squad, changes her stripes in a matter of minutes to become the strutting T-Bird.
Thanks to some former T-Bird aficionados who were faithful fans with a lot of cheering pride back in 2005, the concept of the T-Bird was born. The students, who christened themselves the T-Birds, would regularly show their support at games.
Junior Jon Daniels, who was at last Friday’s girls basketball game, says his brother was an original T-Bird.
“They used to tailgate before games and they always called themselves the T-Birds,” said Daniels.
In 2007, the senior class decided to revive the T-Bird, using funds from class coffers to purchase the costume.
A few weeks ago, the T-Bird costume arrived in the mail, but it is not always easy being a big blue bird.
“It’s very hot inside the costume,” said Wirley. It takes a couple of helpers to help put all the pieces on, especially the large head of the bird, which weighs about five pounds.
And as part of being a mascot, once the costume goes on, it does not come off, until you are out of the public eye. The other rule of being a mascot: No talking.
“To be a mascot, it takes a lot of non-verbal cues and just flapping your wings and trying to be happy,” said Wirley.
There must also always be respect, as well, for the other team’s players and for everyone at the games. But that doesn’t mean this mascot can’t be sassy, and she is not afraid to encourage the school’s athletic director to dance, have a sit down with the coaches, high-five everyone that passes by and pretend to be a referee.
Before the basketball game, the T-Bird likes to keep a bird’s-eye view of what goes on in the middle of the players’ huddle, and even joins the cheerleaders as they cheer for the “Big Blue.”
Students sitting in the bleachers at Friday’s game were still just getting use to the T-Bird’s presence, but in time they hope the mascot’s repertoire will continue to grow. Junior Matt Wahl said he wishes he had time to take a shift as the mascot.
“I would love it, I would be up in the stands getting everyone to cheer,” he said.
But he is happy that someone behind that big blue fuzzy mask, is making an effort to engage the crowd.
“It’s great to have because we never had one before,” said Wahl.
So, keep your eyes open for spring sports, according to teacher Sue Clark, who heads up the mascot schedule, because you might just get a chance to dance with Thomas.
Tori Uthe can be reached at (585) 394-0770, Ext. 218, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.