February 22, 2009

First Native pro mascot?

Cody Hall lands a ‘Nugget’ of a jobHall, 31, was planning to buy season tickets for the Rapid City Rush, a South Dakota-based expansion franchise in the Central Hockey League.

But then, after reading in his local newspaper that the squad was looking to hire a mascot, Hall, at the urging of some friends, auditioned and got the job.

“My friends were telling me, ‘You’ve got a real good personality and you’d be perfect for this,’” Hall said.

For his new position, Hall dons a donkey suit and is known simply as “Nugget.”

Besides receiving $100 a game to perform at each Rush home contest, Hall had appeared at more than 30 other events in the community by early February. These events range from children’s birthday parties to school visits to corporate gigs.
And:Hall, who is Sioux, said because of his new job he has also managed to connect with various other mascots who work for franchises in the National Hockey League, National Basketball Association and the National Football League.

Hall said he is frequently exchanging e-mails and talking on the phone with other mascots.

“It’s really crazy. I’ll get calls from guys all over the U.S. And they’ve really helped me out a great deal. They’ve told me what to do with some of my promotions and how to interact with people.”

Hall said he has yet to come across any other Native who works as a mascot for a professional sports franchise.

“I think this is kind of like a groundbreaking thing, especially being Indian,” he said. “We’re just two steps below the NHL.”
Comment:  I'm not sure the Rapid City Rush qualifies as a "pro" sport, but never mind.

As long as Hall isn't portraying a stereotypical Indian, there's no problem with his being a mascot.

For more on the subject, see Team Names and Mascots.


dmarks said...

I believe that a sports team/league/etc can be called "pro" if it is entirely a business endeavour and the players get paid. The Rush fit this.

Rob said...

One definition of a professional is "a person who earns a living in a sport or other occupation frequently engaged in by amateurs: a golf professional." Another is "a person who is expert at his or her work: You can tell by her comments that this editor is a real professional."

It isn't clear to me how expert these minor-league players are. Are they better than the best amateurs in college or on the national Olympics teams, for instance?

Also, it isn't clear to me if they actually make a living from their minor-league salaries. It might be more accurate to call them semi-professionals than professionals.