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This item originally appeared in the September 30, 2004 issue of The Tech Talk.

By ERIN HOPKINS

Staff Writer

Two people are behind the mask of Tech's mascot, Champ, but, according to Bulldog tradition, their identities are to remain a mystery.

In the past, there has only been one person to carry the responsibility of Champ.

"It helps out, especially during football and basketball season, when there are two to three games a week," Jennifer Canterbury, spirit coordinator, said.

Canterbury said the students behind the mask of Champ put a lot of enthusiasm into what they do. The students take pride in doing things a little differently, all for the fans' entertainment.

Canterbury said to prevent the student mascots from getting too dehydrated and worn out from game to game, they alternate the responsibility of being the mascot.

"Being Champ is a great opportunity to travel, have new experiences and meet new people," one of the two students who portrays Champ said.

When Champ is around, his importance can be seen in the fans' reactions.

"I love bringing excitement to the fans by doing things outside of the box and acting crazy," the other student who fills the role of Champ said.

"It's fun interacting with the fans, especially if they don't know you," Champ said. "You can do crazy things with them."

For the students filling the role of Champ, interaction with the fans is an important part.

"Getting the crowd involved and getting in the spirit of everything, that's what being a mascot is all about," Champ said.

During the games, Champ can be seen on the field entertaining the fans, young and old, with various antics.

"The greatest reward is the look on the kids' faces," Champ said.

"If I got anything out of being Champ, it is that I made a kid's day. They make it worthwhile."

During the football game against the University of Louisiana at Lafayette on Sept. 11, Champ was on the field spraying fans with a water hose each time the team scored a touchdown.

"What gave me the glory about [spraying the fans] was the fans loved it, and they loved that I got on ESPN, too," Champ said.

Canterbury said anyone can become part of this tradition.

"I hope that this is something that we can keep doing," Canterbury said.

"[Tech] hasn't always had two students behind Champ. It just depends on how many people are interested."

Canterbury said anyone can come to her office in Tolliver Hall and pick up an application. If enough people are interested, she said she will hold tryouts during the spring.

Canterbury said Tech is also trying to incorporate Champ into more of the cheers to bring more fans to events.

She said some fans go to a game just to see what Champ is going to do.

Champ said one thing is to always be remembered.

"Champ is more than just somebody behind a mask," Champ said.

"It's the spirit of the person behind it."


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