The Dalhousie Tigers’ mascot is a constant presence at games, intermingling with fans and spreading school spirit at sporting events and theme nights. However, little is known about the people inside the costume.
These students, whose names have been changed in this article to keep the mystery of who is actually in the suit intact, describe their role as ranging from getting the crowd excited to keeping an eye on younger fans while parents focus on the game.
For Peter, it helps not being recognized. “When I’m in the suit, people can’t see my face so I can just do whatever I want,” he says. “People think it’s funny when you mess up and people think it’s funny when you do something you intend to do so you really can’t go wrong,” adds Kate.
Eli and Sylvia’s approach to the job is similar. “You do have to be comfortable with being around people,” says Eli. Sylvia agrees that “[you can’t be] afraid to look silly” when cheering with crowds of people in a packed Dalplex or out at Wickwire field.
For all of them, the Tiger suit was the first mascot work they have done. Sylvia’s first time came while working for Dal’s promotional staff, who asked if she was willing to be the mascot for a game. She was hooked instantly. The other three found out about it from the Dal classifieds while looking for a part-time job.
Fans have always been curious about what it feels like to be inside the costume, and how comfortable it is inside a walking, furry furnace. “Be prepared to sweat a lot and be uncomfortable but have a really good time,” says Peter to any future mascots. While Eli points out the existence of an ice vest, none of the mascots interviewed have used it due to the additional weight it would add.
“The head is the heaviest part,” says Elise who, along with the other mascots agrees that the head is the hardest part of the suit to deal with due to its cumbersome nature and lack of visibility.
“There are a few times I’ve like turned around and nearly taken out a little kid because I couldn’t see” said Peter.
The suit is fitted so that anyone that meets the height requirements can wear it. “Everybody thinks that we’re boys, you can’t see any shapes” says Sylvia, one of three female mascots interviewed.
The venue for games plays a big role for the mascots. They all agreed that the hockey rink is preferable for its cooler temperature, but it’s often the crowd that makes or breaks the experience.
“A lot of the games at the Dalplex tend to have more people, so I prefer when it’s a bigger crowd,” says Peter.
Conversely, the Dalplex pool nearly proved problematic for Kate after a close encounter with some Acadia fans. “People threaten to push you in the pool,” she says.
The students who have donned the stripes of Roary the Tiger have had a shared experience, both negative and positive. “It’s fun!” Sylvia says with an ear-to-ear smile. “I think everyone loves the mascot,” adds Kate, who has done this many times before and will continue for the remainder of her time at Dal.
“I think in general just being relaxed and not afraid to make a fool of yourself is the main kind of thing,” says Peter.
For Eli, the simplest of pleasures is often the most rewarding. “I have a tail, this is great!”