When it comes to the illustrious world of bobble-headed sports mascots, your first question is probably "What's the odor situation in there?" But your second question would have to be "Exactly what kind of person would willingly put on a ridiculous costume and act a fool in front of thousands of people on a regular basis?" A HERO, that's who.
See, whether their behavior is misguidedly bizarre or straight-up awesome, you can't deny these guys are integral to their respective fan bases. If your team's doing well, your mascot is nothing less than a VIP. But if they’re losing…well, who among us hasn't berated a full-grown teddy bear at a live sporting event? It's basically a rite of passage for any dedicated sports fan. But with all the awkward backflips and halfhearted Macarena moves, it's easy to forget that there are real human beings inside those colorful, furry suits. Fortunately, Hulu's new original series Behind the Mask finally shines a light on these tragically underrepresented, anonymous luminaries.
Meet the four very human heroes of Behind the Mask. These mascots may have varying levels of prestige in the sports world, but when it comes to what they bring to the field, they're all MVPs.
Probably the best-known mascot in America following his insane backflip slam dunk off a ladder during the 2010 NBA Playoffs, Bango's inner human is Kevin, a seemingly normal father of five. Well, normal except for bringing his children nearly to tears whenever he attempts to top his previous stunt. Hey, it's a living.
The prodigiously mustachioed Hey Reb might not be the sexiest mascot in existence, but tell that to the legions of foxy UNLV coeds who seem to flirt with him nonstop. It's a pretty good situation for Jon, the super-super-super-senior who devotes his life to the cause at the expense of his classwork.
Chad aka "Tux" - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Tux the Penguin may only rile up crowds at minor league hockey events, but his longtime alter ego, Chad, has major league dreams. Seemingly the hardest working man in his franchise, Chad's also an innovator: that incoherent squeaking that Tux speaks/screams in is the result of a secret invention Chad won't divulge.
Michael aka "Rooty" - Lebanon High School Cedars
Though his high school has a notoriously terrible football team and less-than-stellar test scores, Rooty the Cedar Tree keeps everyone's spirits high (or as high as possible given that they have a tree for a mascot). But inside that outgoing, goofy rascal is Michael, a shy member of the school choir and model train enthusiast. It's enough to make you hope the "It Gets Better" mantra applies to high school mascots as well.
Mascots tend to pull some pretty entertaining antics — probably due to costume-inspired confidence — so there's no shortage of hilarious scenes. Here's your chance to share your mascot love (and finally put that "Mascot GIFs LOL" folder on your desktop to use). Have you ever witnessed a mascot do some serious heckling or completely fail a stunt? Or maybe you're one of the elite few who have donned a ferociously fuzzy suit. Share your favorite mascot stories, bloopers, GIFs, and love letters in the comments below. (Haikus will be immediately deleted.)