A day of Thunder

Thunder mascot suitClaustrophobic, dark, sweaty, and hot (not in the good sense) are words not usually associated with our charismatic and lovable mascot, Thunder. Well, these are words I became far too acquainted with when I was presented with the opportunity to embody all that Thunder stands for and don the suit. I lived a day of thunder and it was awesome.

I was Thunder for two Varsity basketball games and was asked to do so mere hours before tip-off. Of course, I answered with a nervous “yes” because with Thunder comes great responsibility. After I said yes, all the thoughts of expectation and pressure came rushing into my head and I questioned if I had the know-how to do this.

Thunder is a superhero. He brings joy to the university and, like a hero, his identity is a secret (sorry everyone); however, this unique concept allows the students to be Thunder, for he can truly be any one of us and we would never know –  just look at me. Once I understood this and strapped into the suit and put on the helmet, I realized I had been given a beautiful opportunity, a story to look back on and share as I am doing now, and a chance to further build my repertoire of experiences. It was my chance to be the hero.

When I first stepped into the gym I was filled with anxiety and hit a brick wall for I had no idea what I was supposed to do. Then, the music started playing and I began to dance, twisting and waving my arms, and to my surprise the crowd was loving it, pointing and smiling, some dancing themselves (mind you, I am an awful dancer, so it may been out of sympathy). As I slowly but surely settled in for the night, I brought more and more of my own flair and style into the idea of Thunder, ending with me dancing at center court to the tune of Thrift Shop by Macklemore.

Being Thunder is the ultimate exercise in improvisation, but a fun one at that. The suit is heavy and you move as if submerged in syrup, throwing all this mass behind each kick of the leg, or pump of the fist – creating a workout like no other, but I loved each moment of it.

Seeing the smiling faces and hearing the laughter I brought with my own goofy style was rewarding beyond measure. I didn’t even mind the fact that the power went out after the women’s basketball game and I was stranded in the suit for 1.5 hours, nor the few heckles here and there. I didn’t mind because each photo, each child that ran up and challenged me to a dance and the roar of the crowd reminded me that I brought the Thunder!

This experience is one that I will treasure for the rest of my life and, from this landmark, I would hope to pass it on to my fellow students. You never know what may appear on the horizon, but do not be afraid to grasp it, whatever it may be. I was afraid to be Thunder, but I’m glad I pushed through it, for my fears would have deprived me from sharing this moment with you. Do not allow that to happen in your lives.

Finally, I would like to thank the Vikes Ambassadors for helping me out on game night! You guys are awesome. Here is a link https://onlineacademiccommunity.uvic.ca/vikesnation/ambassadors/ to their website. Check them out and volunteer at the Varsity games. Maybe you’ll be the next Thunder!

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3 Responses

  1. Kevin Ram says:

    Thanks for the ambassador shout out! It was great having you portray Thunder at the games!!

  2. Denzel Moodley says:

    Truly a moving piece Kyle.

  3. Denzel Moodley says:

    Truly a moving piece, Thunder.