Being Sparty isn’t just anything. It’s a big deal.
It also holds great responsibility and passion. Those who put themselves in the costume must bleed 343 Green.
Two former Spartys’ shared their experiences, and they were not all that pleasant. But it’s the spirit and joy that the costume can bring out that makes it worth it.
Due to the secrecy of the bodies inside, those interviewed will remain unnamed.
First of all, the suit consists of pants, a body suit, gloves, big shoes, and the head.
There are certain rules that must be followed as Sparty. You can’t talk. You must wear the Klogs, not your own shoes. And of course, you must keep the headgear on the whole time.
On hot days, there is a five minute break every 20 minutes. Ice packs are used to keep cool. And the costume certainly is hot.
One Sparty who wore it during homecoming weekend when the temperature reached the 90s claimed that it was “90 degrees outside and probably 1000 degrees inside the suit.”
The second Sparty, who wore it at a football game continued on this point. “That suit sucks when it’s hot out. I was sweating in 45 degree weather. Even when it’s cold, you’re sweating in that suit.”
The no-talking rule can sometimes be costly. On homecoming weekend, Sparty was approached by NBA Head Coach and Castleton Hall of Famer Stan Van Gundy. Van Gundy wanted a picture.
Unfortunately for the person inside, he or she could not say a word to the famed coach. Still, he or she sort of met Stan Van Gundy.
Other times, children might avoid Sparty at all costs. One little girl would not give a high-five, fist bump, or even a quick glance at the mascot. You have to be able to handle being ignored.
Then of course, you have to entertain. One Sparty danced at halftime of a football game. The other took fake pictures with a crowd and of himself. One of them even got to cruise around on a hover-board.
He or she must be a comic and a crowd pleaser. It’s all about making the families laugh.
And that right there is what makes it fun. The smiles and laughs are the best part of it all.
“I like putting a smile on the little kids’ faces. I didn’t know how much the community enjoyed seeing Sparty,” said one Sparty.
“It’s fun, it is. It’s fun because seeing all the kids smile, and even parents and grandparents, it’s fun. It’s something that, a lot of people don’t realize, it’s a big deal around here,” said the other Sparty.
Although the suit may be heavy and hot, bringing upon a major physical toll on the body inside, being Sparty is a huge honor here at Castleton. You have the ability to bring out happiness to all ages, to make an entire crowd get involved in something. That experience is an amazing feeling.
Then of course, one can forever say that they were once THE Castleton Spartan.