What it’s like to be Ralphy

An anonymous interview with the current senior mascot


Helen Beebe

Student asks for a photo with the mascot during lunch. As a senior, it’ll be the mascot’s last year.

The school’s mascot name is retained from the reader as requested by the mascot themself.

After pulling up their socks, putting on pieces of their suit — one with a broken fan inside — and adjusting their helmet, the mascot was ready.

Entering the field, the mascot would make their way around the cheerleaders, mimicking their movements before going towards the stands and pumping up their feathers. Joining the band, the mascot took a drum set. Watching the drummer next to them, they played along to the band’s song.

“It was very fun,” the senior mascot said. “Little things like that are one of my favorite parts of it because it’s once again something I wasn’t going to do otherwise and I’m glad I got to do.”

The Ralphy mascot tried to become the mascot in their freshman year, to no avail, but it wasn’t until junior year that they got the job.

“At Cardinal Camp in my junior year, [when I asked my friend if the school had a mascot, Cassie Wills said no],” they said. “So [Wills and I] walked to find Coach Perez that day and then I was the mascot. It was quite a simple process. [A parental consent form and a student physical exam were the only requirements.] A lot of people asked me ‘how?’ but there was no trial.”

Many students came up to the mascot for a photo. Sophomore Italy Paddio strikes a pose with Ralphy the mascot during first lunch. (Helen Beebe)

After the mascot got the job, that was it. The mascot didn’t share practice with the cheerleaders, which they said was nice, but it was also an issue because the mascot didn’t have access to any practice or guidance, so they didn’t know what they were doing. Without sixth period practice, the mascot winged it on the field, following the cheerleaders’ performances at the games.

“My first game, I had no idea what I was supposed to do,” the mascot said. “I thought the coach was mad at me, she wasn’t. There was a lot going on at the beginning, but after a while it’s easier.”

When the mascot went to games, they would hang out with the cheerleaders and do their cheers and dances with them before going to the student section to “try to hype them up a bit.”

Recently, in the last couple of games of the season, the mascot would start hanging out with the band, sitting between the Belles and the band in the stands.

“I don’t know if their coach appreciated that very much, but I had a great time,” they said. “I made friends with a lot of the Belles which was really awesome.”

Despite putting on the costume and acting more expressively, they don’t become “Ralphy,” they’re still themself. Their movements may be more dramatized for the performance, but they are not someone else.

“I do have different relationships with people though,” they said. “The little freshman football assistants — they know who I am outside of the costume, but I don’t talk to them. Although at the games, I like hanging out with them; I call them all my besties. I love them so much. Since we don’t talk outside of the classroom now and the football season is over, I don’t talk to them anymore, which is kind of sad.”

Out of all of their time as the mascot, they have only had a few poor experiences out of so many others. One student tried to take off the mascot head and recently a student attacked them. The mascot was not hurt, but claimed that the two only physical experiences were disorienting.

“One time I was changing in the bathroom, starting to take off the costume, and a freshman girl came in, giggled, took a picture and left,” the mascot said.

After exiting the changing room, the mascot is approached by Senior Maysa Busaidy, a friend. They then both join together for a hug. (Helen Beebe)

The mascots’ close friends know their real identity, with the addition of their teachers.

“My teachers know now because I went to school the day before homecoming wearing the mascot uniform,” they said.

As for everyone else, no one knows. Inside the costume, a lot of student peers will ask “who are you?” and “are you a boy or a girl?”

“I think it’s really funny because there are some people that I never interact with outside of the costume,” they said. “Wearing the costume, I just don’t tell you. They don’t know. It’s great.”

They have been the mascot for two years, and as a senior, this will be their last year as the mascot.

“I definitely am very glad that I did it,” they said. “It was an experience that is unique and I wouldn’t be able to get elsewhere. When I went to my last football game, I wasn’t very sad. I loved being the mascot but it was time.”