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"Behind the Beak" a Big Red story...
My induction into the mascot world was really not one of choice by me. You see, when it was time to break out I was instantly thrust into the NFL and the mascot world. Whereas most birds crack open their egg and end up in the nest, I burst out of my egg only to be at the 50 yard line surrounded by 50,000 screaming fans! I had no choice but to learn on the spot and quickly flipped my way into the limelight. Sparky and the Gorilla were there to meet me at birth and they were quick to show me a thing or two. Before I knew it, I was on the sidelines and in the stands at every game. Tossing t-shirts, cheering on my Arizona Cardinals, and sweating my tail off! You see, Sun Devil stadium was like an oven; not just preheated to 125 degrees, but one that had accidentally been set to self clean mode. At times I would fly out to tailgate with our hard core fans and I think some of them were ready to pull out my feathers and take a bite. There was more than one occasion where I had to fend off a hoard of hungry tailgaters.... Luckily for me my time at Sun Devil stadium is over and we're in our new digs in Glendale. University of Phoenix Stadium is where we call home now and it's much more conducive to the lifestyle that I like to live. Shiny, state of the art and air conditioned make a sweet recipe for success in my book. Our great lawn outside the stadium makes for an excellent tailgating destination pregame. There are bands, food, interactive games and most importantly - cheerleaders! That's right, the girls come out and sign autographs before the games... Hubba, Hubba! Inside it's a football fans dream. Great concessions, excellent music, and there is not one bad seat in the house. I love inviting our season ticket holders and fans over on Sundays to watch my Cardinals light up the scoreboard!
However, just because I am a professional mascot doesn't mean that life is always fun and games. I mean, sure - there are a lot of games that we play and fun times to be had, but in reality it's hard work. I've spent many postgame hours prone whilst those who assist me try to nurse me back to health by turning me into the dasani water dispenser, tipping that five gallon jug right in to my mouth after tossing in a couple Tylenol. I have also fended off many a crazy fan that goes out of their way to wrap their hands around my neck as if choking me has anything to do with what's going on on the field.
To meet the demands of the football season I have a rigorous offseason program in which I spend countless hours in the gym trying to maintain my svelte figure. I'll take a short break and allow my feathers to grow back to full plume and spend time immersed in a Yoga program. I'll also travel a bit to visit with fellow mascots to discuss how to keep our fans entertained and happy throughout the season. I'll spend countless hours working with elementary school students teaching them about the game of football and I'll also visit with kids in the hospital. When I have time, I also like to mentor younger birds that may have flown astray and I also love working with habitat for humanity.
I've been blessed with a wonderful opportunity to entertain in the NFL for the Arizona Cardinals. It's what I was born to do.