As most of you (hopefully) know, Gunston, that fuzzy ball of green Patriot spirit, has retired from his athletic mascot duties at Mason. Debuting last basketball season, Mason’s new mascot, The Patriot, has some big (floppy) shoes to fill. He sat down with us recently to answer some of our burning questions about his first year on the job.
How did you get into the mascot line of work?
I watched the Mason basketball team in 2006 go to the Final Four. That
was a very impressive run, but watching Gunston inspired me get the experience needed to take over the responsibility when he moved on.
Does the responsibility of representing the largest university in Virginia weigh heavily on you?
Not really. I take pride in being able to represent this large university very proudly. The fans of Mason Nation are enthusiastic and take a lot of pride in their university and their athletic teams.
What’s a fail-safe way to get the crowd riled up?
Stomping on the bleacher steps or the noise bucket all seem to get the crowd going.
You display some pretty smooth moves during basketball games. What sort of dance training do you have?
I watch a lot of dance movies and videos during my downtime. And whenever I’m out, I keep my eyes open for even the smallest moves that people do because you can always combine moves or make something big out of a smaller move. Whenever I go out, whether it be to a dance club, dance contest/show, or anywhere there is dancing or other mascots involved, I make sure to watch and pick up on steps so that I can use them myself.
Your style is pretty distinctive. Where do you procure your three-cornered hats and tailcoats?
At the RAC, of course.
Ever thought about playing basketball?
As a seven-foot-tall, 240-pound athlete I get asked that a lot, but my passion is on the sideline with my friends from the cheer teams, the Masonettes, and Doc Nix and the Green Machine. Together I think we help rock Mason Nation.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
Being able to make people’s experiences at a Mason Basketball game even more enjoyable and seeing the smiles on fans’ faces when I make them laugh or do something silly.
The Patriot: Vital Statistics
Hat Size: 29
Birthplace: Patriot Center
Best Friend: Gunston
Favorite Food: The Alan Merten Burger at Brion’s Grille
Favorite Movie: The Patriot
Favorite Song: Livin’ on a Prayer