Story + Video: Wally and friends host mascot mashup

By The Beacon | February 23, 2011 9:00pm

3084515038

Mascot hijinks bring laughs at Santa Clara game

(Bryan Brenize -- The Beacon)

By John McCarty / Video by Kevin Kadooka, Staff Writer -- mccarty12@up.edu

Following their loss to the No. 2 USF Dons, the Pilots had to get serious for their bout with Santa Clara. Though the men came away with a 78-68 win, the game wasn't all business, thanks to the comedic efforts of Wally Pilot and his mascot friends in the form of a halftime basketball game and limbo contest.

For the second year in a row Wally Pilot and a motley crew of mascots, including the Teletubbies, a Duracell battery, Timber Joey, Nutz the squirrel, a Super Subway sub sandwich and the purple man, put on a display of costumed athleticism for the enjoyment of the fans.

"I don't think there were any teams to speak of," junior James Gozdiff said. "It was basically a free-for-all with each mascot doing their own thing. Wally would try to dish it to the giant dog or the squirrel but they couldn't really catch so they just kept getting hit in the face."

According to junior Mike Pacholec, mobility was the biggest factor in on-the-court efficacy.

"The Teletubbies pretty much ran the floor," Pacholec said. "Their costumes were the least restrictive so they could just dribble around all the other mascots for easy lay-ups."

Undaunted by the Teletubby triple threat of Tinky Winky, Dipsy and Po, UP's own Wally Pilot put on a career-defining performance with six points, three rebounds and two assists.

The halftime mascot scrimmage was played much like a youth soccer game: A large cluster of players without any discernable team pursued the ball toward either basket with little regard for things like dribbling, passing and fouling.

Much to the crowd's amusement, Nutz the squirrel was unable to make a basket during regulation time, his cute furry exterior making it difficult to grip the ball. Unfazed by a comparative size disadvantage, the red Teletubby, Po, led the mascots on defense with three steals and four rebounds.

Though most of the costumes were physically restrictive, some mascots were able to use them to their advantage.

"The Oregonian mascot was just a cutout of the state. His arms were so far apart he couldn't catch anything so the other mascots just used him as a backboard for bouncing passes off of," Pacholec said.

The mascots left everything on the court but when the buzzer sounded at the end of the halftime show there were still no clear teams and thus no winner.

During an official timeout midway through the second half, the mascots were back on the court for a limbo competition. For this event, costumes proved to be a double-edged sword and some of the taller mascots were almost immediately disqualified for touching the bar.

"The [Duracell] battery was flat on top so he could just crouch down and walk right under the bar," Gozdiff said. "With a little help from the purple man he made it under every time."

Despite the fact that there was no clear winner in either the mascot basketball game or the limbo contest, the second annual mascot night provided comic relief during the Pilots' win over Santa Clara.


B