Since the dawn of time, the main purpose of sport has been to be a form of entertainment – from the viewer’s perspective, at the very least. Over time, that concept continued to grow and become more emphasized with the onset of television deals, gate revenue, and all the other business-related concepts that have consumed sports since the first TV set was turned on.
Somewhere along the line, the importance of entertaining viewers expanded to those who were actually in attendance at the game – during the parts of said game where the action was paused, or during intermissions.
At some point during the long-winded history of sport, the men in charge of sports organizations decided that it was time to bring a more colorful, symbolic and entertaining aspect to their product – and they did so by using team mascots. Mascots have sprouted up around all major sporting leagues, and there are only a handful of teams today who don’t have a mascot running around their stadium or arena on game-day.
Mascots have carved out a unique spot in the realm of sport not because they represent any sort of advantage for the home team, but because there have been numerous incidents throughout the years thanks to mascots that have provided us with some of the funniest interactions, moments or outbursts you’ll ever see from the mascot itself or from the people the mascot is interacting with. The mascots will rarely make the late-night highlight reel, but when they do, you know it’s because they did something worth watching over and over again.
15. Stuck Sharkie
As a California-based, warm-weather climate team, it must have been fairly easy for those who ran the San Jose Sharks in it’s early years to pick the team name “Sharks” for the new franchise. This also allowed for a simple mascot choice and name: Sharkie the Shark. Sharkie is a bit of a daredevil, though, and enjoys grand entrances – his grandest being his appearance from the rafters of the Sharks arena. Unfortunately, it didn’t go smoothly one fateful night in March 1999, when Sharkie was stuck dangling over the ice for over an hour before he was rescued – and before the game could even begin.
14. Cal Bear vs. Stanford Tree
If you like mascot fights, you came to the right place – we’ve got a few on tap for you. The first comes from the storied Cal vs. Stanford rivalry, which trickles down all the way to the mascots: the Cal Bear and the Stanford Tree (very intimidating, Stanford). The Tree struck first, charging the Bear and firing off a flurry of punches. The Bear bounced back in “round two,” hitting the Tree with a low tackle and sending it tumbling to the ground, before the two were finally separated for good.
13. Jazz Bear’s Surfboard Tumble
Taking a surfboard and using it properly can be dangerous enough, especially if you are not an experienced wave shredder. Taking a surfboard and using it anywhere other than in a large body of water is also considered foolish – especially if you’re going to use it to slide down a flight of stairs.
But to do it in a mascot suit? Absolutely insane. Then again, you have to be a unique and dedicated person to be a mascot – and if it means flying off a surfboard and nearly breaking your neck to get a roar out of the crowd, so be it. Good on you, Jazz Bear – we’ll catch up with you at the hospital.
12. Melanie Walker’s Mascot Blunder
Melanie Walker, a Jamaican track star, went into the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federation) World Track & Field Championships looking to leave her mark and win some medals for her country. She did just that, but also managed to land herself in an embarrassing situation when she jumped on the event mascot’s back to celebrate – right up until the mascot ran directly into a cart and knocked them both over. Walker might consider parading her flag in victory alone the next time she win’s a big event.
11. Sparty vs. Bucky Badger
When it comes to college football, there is no staged hatred – if the mascots are going at it, it’s because they want to rip each other’s heads off. That’s what happened when Michigan State and Wisconsin matched up a few years back. The two team mascots got into it after Bucky Badger stole Michigan State’s flag. Bucky regretted that mischievous decision immediately, as Sparty cut across the field and levelled Bucky Badger with a thunderous hit. The battle lasted a few more seconds while the two were on the ground, but was finally broken up by those on the sideline – but Sparty’s message had been sent.
10. Puddles vs. The Cougar
“Puddles” is the famous Oregon Ducks mascot who is renowned in the “mascot world” as being a pushups machine and a generally “good-looking” mascot. The duck is also pretty fierce, as evidenced by the absolute beatdown he gave to the Houston Cougars mascot – Puddles did not take kindly to the cougar doing pushups on Oregon’s home turf, so he started the cougar off with some classic wrestling moves before knocking the cougar over with some strong punches. Puddles got some taunting in there, too, so there was no doubt who the winner is this fight was.
9. Seahawk Goes for a Sit
There are several teams around the world that have decided to go the “real” mascot route -including the Seattle Seahawks, who have perhaps the greatest home-field advantage of any North American sports franchise. Seattle releases a live hawk, named Taima, to fly across the field during home games, but Taima was having none of it during one of the Seahawks games this season when she veered off and found a place to land in the crowd – on top of a fan’s head. Taima took a break in that section of the stadium, becoming an Internet sensation and a selfie-queen within a matter of a few minutes.
8. Banana Mascot vs. Security Guard
This battle didn’t involve fists and kicks – rather, it was one of steps and moves, and it might have been even more entertaining than some of the earlier mentioned throwdowns. The now world-famous “Banana Mascot” is known to tease and attempt to rattle security guards, but his counterpart on this day fought back with a flurry of dance moves that shocked the mascot and the entire stadium. The guard broke it down and then threw the mascot’s maracas back at him before staunchly returning to his position as if nothing had happened.
7. Banjo Fail
The 2009 All-Star Game featured a halftime show showcasing the mascots from around the NBA. During a half-court shot contest, Banjo, the mascot for the Milwaukee Bucks, was standing above the rim (and then on the rim), seemingly just trying to be part of the show. One of the shots was inadvertently knocked into the basket by Banjo, and in an attempt to either grab the ball, or simply get off the rim, Banjo tried to slide through the hoop – in the process getting stuck and managing to put a human side to the job by tearing up his knee in the process.
6. Wild-Wing’s Wild Show
A sheet of ice is the least ideal surface to perform a good majority of actions, so why the Anaheim Ducks decided it would be a good idea to have their mascot “Wild-Wing” jump over a bonfire in the middle of the ice is beyond comprehensible. The mascot missed the jump completely and caught fire – the whole show was a massive failure, but it did at least drew some publicity to a team that was still in it’s relative infancy and was trying to build a fanbase in a non-hockey market.
5. Mr. C vs. Student
In general, mascots are supposed to “live” in harmony with their human counterparts who attend their team’s games. Sometimes, though, mascots and fans can butt heads, as we saw when Vanderbilt’s mascot “Mr. C” punched a student in the face – a Vanderbilt student, no less. Some argue that it was accidental, but it seemed pretty clear that Mr. C had taken issue to something the student had done and took matters into his own hands – by hitting the kid with a right jab that caused a pretty severe nosebleed.
4. Harvey the Hound vs. Craig MacTavish
Craig MacTavish is not very well liked in Edmonton these days, thanks to the absolute mess that is the Edmonton Oilers. In a different time, though, MacTavish was something of a hero after he took matters into his own hands with the Calgary Flames mascot Harvey the Hound. Harvey was near the Oilers bench, taunting the Edmonton players as the Flames were en route to certain victory. Harvey’s big red tongue was hanging over the glass, just enough for MacTavish to reach out, rip out the tongue and toss it back into the crowd.
3. Raptor Tumble
It appears that part of the requirements to be an NBA team mascot is to be reckless, and maybe a little bit crazy. Those traits were at the forefront when the Raptors mascot decided it would be a good idea to fly down the stairs of the Air Canada Centre on roller blades. As you’d expect, the wipeout was epic. The brave mascot tries to get up and continue his quest down the steps, but is clearly shaken up and wipes out again once he reaches the court – before finally succumbing to, you know, common sense.
2. Crazy Condor
This might be the single-most hilarious and wildest moment in the history of live-mascot incidents. The American Hockey League’s Bakersfield Condors decided to bring a live condor out on the ice for one of their games, but it did not go according to plan. The Condor escaped it’s handler, who had quite a lot of difficulty getting the bird back under control – as evidenced by the adventure the bird goes on during the rest of the pre-game ceremony.
1. Bulls Mascot Saves Woman
The Kiss Cam is supposed to be a fun way to add a bit of romance to any particular sporting event – but it can also create awkward moments and potentially relationship-ending decisions, as we saw in this case. At a recent Chicago Bulls game, a man on a phone and the woman with him are shown on the screen during the Kiss Cam. After three tries by the cameraman, the man has lost his patience and yells at his partner for disturbing his call. The awkward moment lingers – as does the cameraman – just long enough for the Bulls mascot to come over, toss a drink on the man, and carry the girl away to safety. The man’s reaction after the incident wraps it all up quite nicely. It’s hard to believe this wasn’t staged, but it’s more entertaining if you do.
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