Yes, I was a mascot. And yes, that is me in the photo. Meet Trax, the lovable, seven-foot tall railroad conductor that served as my job between 2011-12.

Trax is the mascot for the Eau Claire Express, a baseball team from my hometown in Wisconsin. The team is a part of the Northwoods League, which is very similar to the Minor Leagues. The Mankato Moondogs are a part of this league and will be playing the Express this year.

Anyway, it all started in college when I was looking for a summer job. I saw the job posting and thought it would be fun. I called up the general manager, and he had me do somewhat of a “tryout” where he and I went to an event and he watched me interact with kids. He told me out of four or five applicants, I was the best and he offered me the job.

The gig involved 35 home games each summer, along with numerous appearances outside of the games as well. During the games, I played a role in some of the on-field activities in between innings. One of the games involved Trax racing a little kid around the bases. Other than those responsibilities, I pretty much did whatever I wanted. Walk around the stadium, dance a lot, hug kids, and give high fives. One time I counted: I gave over 500 high fives in one game.

I really enjoyed being a mascot, but sometimes it was a love-hate relationship. I loved being the center of attention and making kids happy, but the suit itself was awkward to wear, heavy and very warm. There were several 100 degree days which was not fun. Imagine wearing a full body winter coat for three hours straight during a 100 degree day in the summer, and that’s what it felt like.

How did I survive you ask? I took a lot of breaks and drank a ton of water in the locker room during the games. The worst part was the stench that I created in the suit from sweating in it so much. About once a week, the interns would throw the suit in the wash which was nice.

Overall it was a really fun experience. I would love to do it again. It would be so cool to be a professional mascot like TC or something. Maybe I’ll apply.