Thursday, March 28, 2013

This morning's commute...

A beautiful, sunny, ice-free morning seemed perfect for my first bike ride to work since I hung it up for winter in the middle of January. Wouldn't ya know it, about 2.5 miles into the ride, my back tire blows. Being not fully equipped to change the flat, yes it does pay to be prepared, I hauled my sorry self, and my sorry bike about a mile to the L.

Not only was I not prepared for the breakdown,  I wasn't prepared for riding the L either as I left the book I had been reading at home. So, equipped with a Red Eye, (I had to have SOMETHING to read after all), and a bad attitude, I rode public transit, as I have for the last two and one half months to work.

Pigeons did not grace my train this morning, instead something even more unusual, an honest to goodness major league sports franchise mascot. Now before I had children, I would have been aloof to such nonsense. Priding myself on being a purist, I'd have ignored the person dressed up in a ridiculous costume as well as his (or perhaps her, I couldn't tell) companions, two young women who were handing out key chains and foam fingers advertising their team. Back in the day I didn't approve of things such as mascots, the game was all that mattered, mascots were for, well, children.

All that's changed of course, my son who is now 12, is a sport's maniac, and much to my chagrin, is also obsessed with the mascots. He compares the attributes of various team mascots and continues to ask me what the mascots were like when I was his age. Somehow he can't quite comprehend that there were no mascots during my poor deprived childhood so very long ago. OK I vaguely recall Bennie the Bull from the seventies when I was a teenager. Back in those days Benny didn't have what you'd call a schtick, he was just a guy wearing red pajamas and a bull's head, who walked around the old Chicago Stadium and shook fans' hands during Chicago Bulls games. Anybody could have done it, and in fact I know a guy who did just that. His friend, the regular Benny T. Bull was either sick or hungover, and asked this guy if he would be Benny for a day. He did, and nobody knew the difference.

Today, being the team mascot is a big deal, and much effort, training and I'm sure money goes into the job. I wouldn't be surprised if they offered college degrees in the subject.

For Christmas last year I bought my son a packet of tickets to the Chicago Wolves, a minor league hockey team, and we've been attending their games on a regular basis. They have a mascot called Skates, a guy (I'm pretty sure it's a guy), dressed head to toe in what else, a wolf costume. During the intermissions, he skates around dodging the Zambonis whipping the crowd into a frenzy by teasing them with tee shirts he either throws or sling shots into the seats. My boy was fortunate enough to catch one of those shirts last year and it remains one of his most cherished possessions. I too have been sucked into the act and have a soft spot deep down in my heart for Skates and his antics, as I know these cherished days with my son will not last forever.

Anyway, the creature I saw today was Southpaw, the mascot for the Chicago White Sox. I can't tell exactly what Southpaw is supposed to be, the best description I can give is a friendly looking, furry green monster in an oversized White Sox uniform. I took a key chain from one of the young ladies, a foam finger from the other, asked them who the Sox were playing on Opening Day (something I should have already known), then warned Southpaw not to hit his head as he walked out the door of the train.

Something about seeing that green monster made me forget all about my up to that point miserable morning. Can't wait to get home to tell the kids I saw him.

But I'm keeping the keychain and foam finger for myself.

1 comment:

blogsolomon said...

I guess I'll take mascots over shorts and midgets...