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Tiger up!

CU mascot makes crowd roar
Claws is Campbellsville University’s beloved mascot.

Mascots are iconic and essential for any athletic game. They bring good luck, hype to home games and joy to fans. From the football field to the basketball court, “Claws” from Campbellsville University (CU) is there cheering the team on.

“The biggest responsibilities for me are all the home games,” said Claws. “And every now and then we’ll have a campus event for Preview Day, and we’ll have other on campus events that I’ll be there for.”

CU Cheer Coach April Higdon is usually the one who calls up Claws on days that CU has game days or other events.

“One of the great things that he does is interact with the kids,” said Higdon. “Always taking pictures with them, he’s always there for things going on at CU. He also does not attend just athletic events, but all sorts of events on campus.”

As a mascot, no one really knows who you are. This is what the person playing as Claws prefers.

“There are a few people that know, but I think it’s cool to have a sealed identity,” said Claws. “You kind of become a different person, and you don’t have to think about it as being yourself, you kind of take on a different character.”

Becoming this different character takes many alterations to the suit, and washing and cleaning is necessary after each game or event. Ivan Barlow is just the guy to make some touch ups for the suit.

“With the suit I can put that into a machine, but the head I have to hand wash,” said Barlow. “The eyes and some of the features are painted, and I have to use some touch up paint to make it look original and consistent. I love doing this job, seeing the crowd and kids loving the mascot just makes me feel like I’m a part of the team and I contributed.”

There can be a lot of unusual and funny things that happen when you’re a mascot like Claws.

“While at a CU home football game, I was running down centerfield towards the end zone, and one of my feet fell off,” Claws said. “With a flag in hand, not knowing what to do, I covered up my feet so nobody would notice. Somebody eventually came to my help and carried both feet off of the field.”

A key part in being a mascot is expressing your liveliness as you represent your school. Claws is a very vibrant mascot, engaging with the crowd and busting out some dance moves.

“He’s always full of energy,” Higdon said. “He talks to everybody, they all want to get their picture made with him, they just love it. He makes everybody happy.”

Claws’ energy comes from his love of contributing to the games and events. He wants to put a smile on everybody’s face when he’s out there rallying the team and crowd up.

“The pros definitely outweigh the cons,” Claws said. “Being able to attend games but having a different perspective, getting into character and making it my own, and contributing to the excitement of the games. The only con is trying to hype up a discouraged crowd when we’re losing.”

For those who would want to be a mascot, Claws wants you to give it a try. Although you’re in a onesie pretty much the whole event, it’s still entertaining for Claws.

“I’d definitely say give it a try for people who would want to be a mascot,” Claws said. “It’s not going to be for everybody, because you’re not necessarily going to be comfortable doing it. Like, think about watching a football game sitting down, and then think about watching that same game in a big suit standing. I would say before you would want to become a mascot, think of yourself in that position. Besides that, it’s a great experience.”

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About the Contributor
Caleb Thomas
Caleb Thomas is a junior from Monroe, Ohio. He is majoring in mass communication with an emphasis in public relations. He is also a member of Campbellsville University's wrestling team. His hobbies include playing video games and writing. This is his first year reporting for The Campus Times.
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