Running out on the field with the football team for the first time was the most exhilarating and scariest run I have ever experienced. Questions like “What if they don’t like me?” or “What if I mess up?” ran through my head at a mile a minute. But you can’t worry about that once you put on the head, because you are Grizzwald.
My older brother, Jaden, was offered a chance to be Grizzwald, but it was going to be his senior year, and he didn’t want to miss events. So, as a sophomore, I offered to be Grizzwald. I never thought that decision would change my whole life. When I first put that suit on, I wasn’t the shy little girl who couldn’t be around a group of people; I was Grizzwald, the Logan High mascot who is extremely energetic and social.
Through the years, I was not able to go to games as myself. I, however, was at most games. I made the decision of not telling any of my friends, so I became adept at lying. There were some events that my friends really wanted me to go to, but I told them I couldn’t. My junior year, for the homecoming football game, every single one of my friends told me that I needed to got, but I was busy being Grizzwald. My parents were going to the game as well, so I couldn’t say that I was staying home with them. My excuse was that since I didn’t get asked to the homecoming dance, I was going to visit my aunt for the weekend and relax with her.
"I became paranoid when my friends started wondering about who grizzwald was."
Even though I was lying for a good cause, it took a huge toll on me and my friends. I was always worried someone would find out, and I became paranoid when my friends started wondering about who Grizzwald was. However, it did calm me down when they listed other names and not my own. I felt that if I told anyone that they would act weird around Grizzwald knowing that it was me. When some of my friends tried to get me more involved in my “friend group,” they thought I had depression and didn’t want to be around them when I kept saying no. Little did they know that was always there.
My favorite part of being the mascot was the kids. Having them run up to you with so much excitement that they can’t contain any of it, and then giving them a high five or hug, is indescribable. I learned that when you are giving anyone a hug, you cannot be the first one to let go, as you never know how much they need it.
I had the incredible opportunity to be Grizzwald for “Bear Hugs.” Seeing the kids’ faces light up either when they saw Grizzwald, Jazz Bear, or ½ Bear made me feel lucky to be a mascot. The hardest part was not crying; I had to be energetic and excited for the kids. When you see kids buy food for their parents, clothes for their sibling, or even flowers for their mom; it makes you thankful for what you have but sad because they don’t have it.
Personally, I was hoping that the time for me to be revealed would never come, but it did. So when we were planning it, I was really scared and nervous. Questions ran through my mind once again: “What if they are disappointed?” “What if they don’t believe it was me?” But when the day came, I decided that it didn’t matter what people said, because I had the best time and wouldn’t ever regret it.
Carson and I switched throughout that game, and when the time finally came, I didn’t know what was happening. I stood there, and looked over to the announcer to see if he was going to say anything, but the next second, I was tackled to the floor. I had a hood on to keep my hair concealed so when the boys took off the grizzly head, they couldn’t tell that it was a girl. When I took it off, they were surprised to find out that Grizzwald was a girl. I was shaking so bad when they announced me, but when everyone stood up and clapped, I started to cry from relief and pride. My secret for three years was finally out.