I always knew I was different. I always knew my purpose on this planet was one of obscurity.
It took me 17 years to find my proper profession, but similar to superheroes, once I found my purpose in life, I knew I had to use it for good and for the benefit of others.
So when I realized I was destined for greatness by becoming a mascot, I knew I had found my true calling in life.
By day, I’m Isaac Chipps, a 5-foot-something Boston University student with a receding hairline and a severe Chipotle addiction.
By night, I’m Rhett the Terrier — Boston University’s mascot who saves the world one women’s soccer game at a time with energetic cheers and bodacious moves on the sideline.
My job is to serve and protect. To serve my fellow Terriers by providing comedic relief, energy and enthusiasm during our athletic events, and to protect my fellow Terriers from any attacks or intrusions from the opposing team.
Sure, being the face of your school is an honor I take with great pride, but it does come with its fair share of difficulties.
Like any superhero, we mascots struggle to fight our demons. Like Batman’s battle with the Joker, we struggle for supremacy against the opposing team’s mascot. Like Superman’s battle with kryptonite, we fight the temptation to take nights off and become complacent.
The job certainly has it perks too, especially the fame. But that’s not why we do it.
We do it because deep down, we know that college sports needs us.
Without the mascots, the college sports experience would be utterly boring and kind of pointless.
We provide the necessary and vital halftime entertainment, generally consisting of our savvy dance moves and flirtatious kisses to the crowd. We get the crowd excited about the game by flapping our wings, hitting our heads against walls, doing lots of push-ups and even getting into the occasional fight with the opposing team’s mascot (it’s a rite of passage).
As a mascot, it is your duty to give 110 percent for the entirety of your tenure in the suit. From the moment you get in the costume, you are no longer just some regular person walking down Commonwealth Avenue. You’re Rhett, and you’re the man. Everyone loves you and you have to love them back.
That means taking pictures with everything and anything: guys, girls, kids, dogs, other mascots and of course, the President of your esteemed university.
From the moment you become the mascot, your life is never the same. When you’re not on the job, you feel the urge to do something crazy in attempt to make your class lecture a little more interesting. When you’re in the suit, you feel like a different person, capable of doing things like cartwheels and backflips that you could never imagine doing out of the suit.
As March Madness comes into full swing these next two weeks, I thought it would be a great time to reflect on my days as the mascot and remind everyone of just how important we are to the games.
Whether it’s the St. Joseph’s University Eagle flapping its wings for every second of the basketball game, the University of Oregon Duck’s doing an immense amount of push-ups during football season or even the University of Georgia Bulldog’s slobber falling from his mouth, the college mascot has always played a vital role in the college sports experience.
The mascot is and will always be forever heralded and loved at every school. The mascot is the symbol that represents everything your school stands for. Whether it’s a Trojan, a Buckeye, a Sooner or a Terrier, the mascot is oftentimes the best representation of what each school embodies.
I retired from the suit after last season, citing mental fatigue and bad knees. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I decided to move on from the superhero business while I was still at the top of my game.
Hanging up the suit was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but part of the job is knowing when it’s time to call it a quits and pass the esteemed job down to a protégé.
For the short time I did have the honor of wearing the suit, I felt like a Dark Knight. During the day, I was just another student at Boston University attempting to make it to class on time. At night, I was Rhett the Terrier, Boston University’s beloved mascot who rightfully served the community by providing stability in an unstable universe.
In today’s society where things are changing so rapidly, there will always be two things you can count on: taxes and your friendly, but sometimes extremely rowdy college mascot.