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Monday, October 29, 2012 | Latest audio lessons → VOA Learning English

How to Become a Sports Mascot

Many sports teams use mascots to get people excited at games. "I am the Wild Cat. I learned a lot just about how to develop my personality and I think that will really help me." Jesse King is a high school student.

Frank Vespe works full time for a professional baseball team. He also helps train other mascots at a summer camp near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. "I would like to, like, present campers with the skills that I have, and learn new skills along the way."

Caren Simmons dresses up as a bird to represent a restaurant. "I've been doing this for 11 years. It is relief and release. I work full time for the federal government. That can be very tying and very frustrating. This is a physical outlet with a lot of physical fun."

Erin Blank runs the camp. "I started Keystone Mascots about 15 years ago, mainly because there was a need for people like myself to learn performance skills and have costumes that were going to be able to fit them in a more effective way."

Mascots learn how to show emotions. And they learn mascot rules. "Is to promote the organization they represent. Whether it is a sport or a school or even a business or a corporation, we want to be the most positive image they the business can put out into the community."

Erin Blank has been a mascot for years and also builds costumes. "We actually build them so the whole thing is water washable. We like to put baseball helmets in our heads. The hair, there is actually ventilation holes throughout this whole head that allow for the steam to rise out, and the same with the body."

Her costume is soaked in sweat after a game. "Oh, when I put it on, it is probably about five degrees hotter than outside. It is just humid. Right now it just feels like I am in kind of a rain cloud inside my costume." For their graduation performance, Erin Blank takes the campers to a minor-league baseball game.

I'm Christopher Cruise.