Magic Blog: Stuff Happens!
Posted by STUFF, Friday, Nov. 12, 2010, 12:30 PM
On Your Feet, Off Your Seat
STUFF soars over soldiers at Seats For Soldiers night|
I get a lot of pats on the back - recognition for achieving the slightly insane, congrats for sweating buckets in a game or event, thanks for bringing smiles to peoples’ faces, and other accolades that are standard for my profession. By no means do I take these tributes lightly, for I am blessed beyond measure to be in a position of attention that is allowed to affect so many lives. It is a great compliment to hear that I have touched someone or left a powerful impression, perhaps when it was needed the most.
However, at a recent game, the tables were turned, as I was introduced to a truly remarkable person who left a huge impact on my big fuzzy heart – his name is Lieutenant Bobby Woods.
Lieutenant Bob – as he was called by those around him – recently returned from Afghanistan in August, where he was serving as a platoon leader for a revered group of Army Rangers. While making a routine sweep of a highly dangerous area, shots were fired, the first of which struck Lieutenant Bob directly in the forehead. Most people would have cowered in fear and given up. Not Lieutenant Bob. Not only did he continue his course, but made sure his troops exited the area safely and efficiently while sacrificing his own life, believing he would not make it out. In addition, while serving his men, he also called in his own Medivac helicopter, and never once lost consciousness.
STUFF and Magic Dancers in Blackhawk helicopter |
If you saw Lieutenant Bob today, you would know how truly remarkable his story is, because one cannot help but notice that he is currently missing the entire front part of his skull. Medical specialists are currently “constructing” a new titanium forehead for him, which should bring him back to his original look, with only a scar in his temple where the bullet entered. He gets a lot attention for his amazing efforts and ongoing progress, which most people would adore. Not Lieutenant Bob. He prefers to stay under the radar, even reluctant to wear the helmet the doctors ordered him to wear to protect his vulnerability. He once likened the heat factor of the helmet to my own situation (although I told him I love attention).
And if that isn’t enough, when talking about his future, he let me know that he intends to be the first soldier to return to the field with an injury of his kind. I believe Lieutenant Bob.
STUFF salutes the General he met overseas|
At the end of the game, his mother approached me and made a statement, “I don’t know how much they pay you, but it is not enough for what you do!” God bless you Mrs. Woods, but after meeting your son, I will leave those words for him. I humbly accept high fives, hand shakes, and hugs, but the true praise goes out to people like Lieutenant Bob and the other men and women in uniform serving this fantastic nation. For that reason, I am unbelievably thankful.
So as we celebrate Veterans’ Day and the Orlando Magic once again presents Seats For Soldiers….
ON YOUR FEET AND OFF YOUR SEAT for our amazing troops, who truly sacrifice it all for the rest of us – God bless you all!
Dragon My Feet, But Gotta Fly…
Posted by STUFF, Monday, June 21, 2010, 3:30 PM
Don’t Be Blue (That Was My Job)
STUFF shows off his true colors at the Eastern Conference Finals.|
And though the Magic did not fulfill the gigantic expectations of our supporters, let us not forget about the positives that this team gave us.
• We gained two local superstars, Vince Carter and Jason Williams, who have been chomping at the bit to play for this team for years – two of the flashiest players in NBA history – and they did not let us down.
• We beheld some of the greatest plays in basketball to which this team has ever been privy – Rashard’s buzzer beater versus the Celtics, Jameer’s alley oops to anyone/everyone, Vinsanity’s 360 dunk, J-Will’s 6-points in 3 seconds, Dwight’s blocks, dunks, points, and… well, he is Superman!
• We shared in the dynamic growth of players that certainly earned their due – J.J. Redick, Matt Barnes, Ryan Anderson, etc. But like many of you, I still anticipate the drop of J.J. and Ryan’s rap album.
• The Orlando Magic Youth Foundation has raised and distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to programs in the area, helping to change and empower the lives of children in our community (and I have been able to witness many of these powerful changes firsthand)!
• You have been an important part of the Magic’s legendary fans, whose number has grown immensely throughout the world, whose rally rackets have become infamous, and whose antics have proved memorable to those who get to witness – who can forget what I like to call our Blue Zoo at recent games – the Fat Guy, the Loud Guy, the chicken dude, the three blue bodysuit guys, the pink gorilla, the Bee-lieve Bee, even the Easter Bunny?
• You have seen my prominent neon green fur morph to the more traditional Magic blue for the Playoffs…
For those of you who are wondering, I am green again! I only transformed to blue this post-season in order to enter the spirit of our “Blue and White Ignite” Playoff campaign. I unveiled it during the opening moments of the very first Playoff game, and I returned to my incredible hulkish hue the minute it all ended. If you see me anytime during the year other than the Playoffs, I will be my emerald-colored self. I do, however, intend to return to the blue tone each time we reach the Playoffs, so long as it seems fitting – and possibly each time we play the Celtics, as I do not want to be tied in with their green scheme of things. I love being blue, but I am naturally limey, so it will give us all one more thing to anticipate when making the Playoffs!
In fact, I may even consider changing other tints for special occasions – maybe red for Valentine’s Day, Orange for Halloween, pink for Easter, purple for… National Purple-People-Eaters Day?? I don’t even know if that exists, and it is actually very doubtful. Anyway, I am a lizard of sorts, so just consider me a chameleon.
Well, that will finish the blog for now, but stay tuned as I will be blogging all summer, as I travel around the city, the country, and the globe! It looks like I have plenty of appearances already in the books, and they range anywhere from Jason’s 21st birthday party in Orlando to basketball events around the globe in Shanghai, China! If you want me at your event, I can do it! Nothing is too big, and nothing is too small. Call my booking coordinator at 407-916-2675.
Oh, and less I forget, coming up July 15-17 is MY annual charity event – the 18th Annual Celebrity Mascot Games!! Yes, there it is – I just figured out the subject of my next blog. Stay tuned!
Dragon My Heels, But Gotta Fly…
P.S. Follow me on Facebook (STUFF Mascot) and Twitter (STUFF_mascot) for daily updates, photos, video links, prize giveaways, and more!
Posted by STUFF, Tuesday, April 13, 2010, 9:30 AM
Just a bunch of lines until somebody gets hurt.|
Brackets have become an American tradition, no doubt. We find them at every tournament and playoff event, both relevant and insignificant. We see them at the Science Bowl and World Champion Spelling Bee. Kids make them when competing in Four-Square at their elementary field day competitions. For all I know, large families create them for who is going to shower first in their busy homes. They have certainly become a staple of any sports competition.
Most brackets are completely unpredictable, making the process of selecting the winner quite a challenge, and therefore entertaining. Many participants incorporate crazy methods in choosing their victors. Throwing darts is a common option. One can splatter paint across the layout and connect the dots to choose their champions. Letting your baby sister decide with sticky syrupy fingers might work as well as anything. My favorite is picking a winner based on the competitors’ mascot! It’s easy, right? WRONG! It can be just as random as choosing your numbers for the Florida Lottery!
Take for instance the most popular bracket in the entire world – the NCAA Basketball Tournament. NO ONE gets it completely accurate! This year, CBS Sports had several million online entrants for its college bracket in March, and throughout its first two rounds of 48 games, only one person had a perfect sheet – an autistic teenager named Alex Hermann, who claims to be “good at math.” The odds were 1 in 13,460,000… and you thought I was exaggerating about having a better chance in the lottery. Amazing Alex!
What in the… I give up!|
But I have had it up to my nostrils with some of these irrelevant and biased systems of horizontal lines, seeds, and byes. Today, I am here to announce that some of these brackets are rackets!
Thesaurus: Racket (n.) – a.k.a. swindle, con, scam, fraud, scheme…
Take for instance, Doug Gottlieb’s recent “Mascot Madness” bracket on espn.com – a bracket to determine “the best mascot in the nation.” All hail the winner… Pistol Pete from Oklahoma State University. Come on… really, Doug?!? From a tournament that included live animals, mascots who are now retired, wieners that run around a field with human legs, and man-scots (mascots with real human faces and nothing mascot about them), this bracket produced a champion with a 25-pound fiberglass head and human hands and body??? He beat everyone else in the country… really?!?
And how fair is this… I was pitted against the Phillie Phanatic within the “Phillie Phanatic Region!” I mean, I love the Phanatic like a cousin, but please… ridiculous! That is like the World Series taking place between the team from the National League and the team from the New York Yankees League! Sounds a little partial to me.
And then I had to ask… who voted on this, and how were they informed? I didn’t even know I was IN the bracket until I made it into the second round! What information was offered in order for viewers to base a decision? A single, small photo. I know a picture says a thousand words, but does it honestly determine who does the best at his craft?
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the winner – this Burt Reynolds look-alike (only with a smaller head than the actor) – comes out of the school from which Doug Gottlieb graduated… nothing biased about that, is there? Congratulations to Pistol Pete – the best mascot in existence – he must be because he won the bracket.
It doesn’t get any better than this!|
Do they get to see all the other dance teams perform? Do the dance teams submit video footage of some of their favorite routines? Are they judged by action photos and website information? Do they acknowledge the achievements the dancers do in the community? Do people hear about the charity work that many of these girls perform? Answer: no.
This bracket has been won by the same team every single year it has been administered (whose name does not even deserve a mention). Some would call that a dynasty; I call it a joke. Do the fans really have a favorite dance team other than that of their home team? If so, how do they base their judgment without ever visiting another city? It all comes down to this...
But there are rules, right? Of course. Teams are supposed to submit an action photo of the dance team while performing at a game, displaying at least three full dancers in frame. Well, I don’t know what kind of routines most of these teams are doing, BUT when they have three nearly-naked girls, staring directly at the camera, with hands all over one another, while the rest of the team is nowhere in sight… let’s just say that I am glad I am with a team where that is not a standard routine on the court. (I refuse to include the photos to prove it.)If that is what it takes to win, we will never be your champion.
If you want a bracket to truly present a champion, provide a full spectrum of what the challengers represent. Photos are great, but also include some informative facts, website information, videos of the competitors in action, media generation, local feedback, and other goodies like that. Give the participants some respect and dignity, and for the sake of everyone involved… make it fair! Excuse me now, time for me to go create a bracket to figure out which brand of silly string is my favorite.
Dragon My Heels, But Gotta Fly…
Posted by STUFF, Friday, March 12, 2010, 10:30 AM
Party Over Here, Party Over There
Everybody was born. With the exception of Adam and Eve, I can’t think of any other exceptions. (Side note: does mean they do not have belly buttons?) And based on this, we all have a birthday. We may not all celebrate our birthdays, but we all have one. Many like to celebrate this personal monumental occasion with a party. Some get surprised, some throw their own, some get ridiculous, some keep it tame, and some do nothing. Mascots are no exception.
Every mascot in the league has a birthday. Not surprisingly, fitting our personalities, most of us like to celebrate it with a “larger than life” celebration. For example, my birthday was October 27, 1988, when I hatched from a giant egg on Church Street. Many of you may even remember that night. However, I celebrate my birthday publicly at a home game each season that allows me to do so with as many Orlando Magic fans as possible, as well as several of my mascot counterparts from other teams. Hence, that is the reason the date for my “Birthday Bash” fluctuates from season to season.
This season, we celebrated on February 5th as the Magic took on the Washington Wizards. I brought in several of my big-headed buddies: Raymond from the Tampa Bay Rays, Thunderbug from the Tampa Bay Lightning, Rumble from the Oklahoma City Thunder, Raptor from the Toronto Raptors, Burnie from the Miami Heat, and even our rival that day, G-Wiz from the Washington Wizards. Some wild things went down… G-Wiz and I had a big-time boxing battle – on stilts! Even though he started it off with a sucker punch, he got the worst of it by the end. During halftime, we put on a fur-flying dunk show finalized by me dunking over twenty kids, all the mascots, and a giant inflatable birthday cake! And late in the game, we brought in our inflated alter egos (mine is Air STUFF) and danced our booties off. The wildest thing that happened was that the Wizards won the game, much to our dismay, and I had to listen to G-Wiz flaunt it in our locker room!
I have been traveling all over the country attending other mascots’ parties as well. The funny thing is that I have always traveled a lot throughout the year, but no one knew about it. Thanks to social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, many of you now have taken notice and followed my excursions.
And then I attended the largest basketball party in the history of the world when I went to All-Star Weekend in Dallas. Contrary to popular belief, I was not there to perform, but merely to enjoy this one. I typically rotate years when I work and when I play, and thankfully I got to take this one in! The Amway Arena is going to be gorgeous, but Cowboys Stadium is unbelievable… literally! Picture 108,000 people under the overwhelming roof of a gigantic alien ship, all hypnotized by a never-ending feast of ridiculous basketball feats. That’s what it felt like.
I still have a couple more parties to attend: going to Sly’s soiree with the New Jersey Nets and Boomer’s Bonanza in Indianapolis. And then it all comes full circle once again when I hold my “4th Annual Fur-ternity Party” on March 28th, when the Magic take on the Denver Nuggets. I will definitely be bringing in several more of my furry friends, and certainly be trying more crazy games and competitions! Please join me at my annual frat party… and feel free to wear your togas.
But I’m sure most of you already know what I’m doing because I consistently let you know on Facebook and Twitter. And if you do not already follow me, do it. It’s free, easy, and not nearly as creepy as actual stalking. Party on, people!!!
Posted by STUFF, Tuesday, September 8, 2009, 12:31 PM
Time Flies When You’re Having Sun
Where did the summer go? A lot of people ask me what I do when the season ends. Where does a dragon go? What does a dragon do? Why is bad breath referred to as “dragon breath?” With the exception of that final query, here come the answers to those mystical questions in a synopsis of this year’s very brief “off” season:
First of all, let’s face it – it all ended kind of abruptly. I was expecting at least a couple more intense games followed by a presentation of the coveted GOLD trophy, a huge downtown celebration in front of tens of thousands of screaming fans, as well as a ticker tape parade down Orange Avenue grand marshaled by myself, of course. But that didn’t happen. Funny thing is, in the past few seasons, we never had a clue when the season might end. But this season, we knew exactly that it had to end on a certain given week, because the Finals are the absolute end to the season regardless. It just seems there should have been more… coming soon.
As soon as it ended, the Magic quickly launched into its “Thank You Fans” campaign across the city. The Magic staff and I scattered throughout the city, passing out goodies, shaking fans’ hands, hugging kids’ necks, cleaning people’s pools and mowing their lawns (not really), and sincerely acknowledging the fans for their unparalleled support for Orlando’s favorite sports team. Never have the fans been so immersed; never have they screamed so loudly; never have they worn so much body paint.
Following that, I set off on my summer tour, blanketing the city with smiles and laughter at appearances and events. Sometimes it was as simple as blasting into a little kid’s birthday party with confetti and sirens, like I did for little Julien Neris. Other times I could be found aiding a cause at one of many charity functions and fundraisers, such as the Fan Stamp event for terminally ill children at Florida Hospital. And yet other times, I just wanted to be a part of something fun and productive, like the debut of the Toyota Project Rebound Basketball Court at Jackson Community Center. The list goes on and on.
However, no event holds as much significance to me personally as my signature event in July – the Celebrity Mascot Games! When you talk about lions and tigers and bears – oh my… it does not get any more literal than this! I created this epic event 17 years ago in an effort to find out which big-headed creature would win at a myriad of random “Olympic-style” events. No, I take that back – I actually created this event to help raise money for an extremely worthy, local charity called New Hope For Kids, which grants wishes for kids with terminally ill diseases or who are in serious need for grief counseling after losing a close relative. I am eager to report that this one-of-a-kind spectacle has since raised over $250,000… so far!!!
Approximately 30 of my mascot counterparts from all over North America converge on Orlando each year for this outrageous event, pitting the winged versus the scaled versus the fuzzy. This year, keeping to an American Gladiator-style theme, we battled in events such as The Joust, Hit and Run, Powerball, and even the dreaded Eliminator. I won’t brag too much, but I did rather well this year, only to be trumped in the end by a cheating and gloating band of numbskulls, led by the leader of all rebellious revelers – my nemesis and the king of all cheaters, Fin from the Vancouver Canucks! (Just kidding… he’s actually a good friend… but he DOES cheat!)
A couple weeks later, another meeting of the oversized minds took place in Las Vegas, when I joined 30 other mascots for the annual NBA Mascot Conference. Whoa, did you hear me correctly? Yes it’s true. Most people think it is crazy that we actually get together every year to talk shop, but I don’t know why people are so surprised. It is not like we have Elvis impersonators running around our meetings or we all go out searching for Wayne Newton’s crib. We did, however, go see Orlando’s own improv genius in action, Wayne Brady, at his new show and got to hang out with him after. By the way, he really is an extremely amazing comedian and even better person.
Believe it or not, even though all the mascots are in Vegas, we get a lot accomplished when we are together. We share ideas about things such as impromptu performance, social media, brainstorm on skits and stunts, marketing strategies, and all kinds of other stuff that you would probably find boring. I have always said there is a fine line between genius and insanity… I will leave it up to you to figure out where we stand.
And now… the summer is almost over. Seriously. It seems like we just played our last game only a couple weeks ago. I still need a vacation! Okay, I admit I might have been able to sneak away to a couple vacation spots here and there, but I will not share that information, in fear that one of my many stalkers might seek me out for an autograph one day while I am tanning on the beach. Speaking of stalkers, do any of you follow me on Facebook (STUFF Mascot) or Twitter (@STUFF_Mascot)? If you don’t, you should. Oh no… sorry I am rambling again.
Anyway, like I was saying… we are only a few sunrays away from concluding our gorgeous Florida summer and getting on to the fall. Wait… that is when the NBA season begins! Who cares about summer… what are we waiting for?!? Let’s get this tipoff started!!! Let’s BE MAGIC this season!
Dragon My Heels, But Gotta Fly…
Posted by STUFF, Monday, June 22, 2009, 3:30 PM
Weeeeeeee! (Kind of…)
You know how it is when a new ride is unveiled. Billboards go up all over town. The city buzzes about it. The excitement grows. Anticipation builds. Once it opens, thrill seekers from all around the world finally get to check it out, hoping to experience the buzz of a lifetime. The excitement spreads like wildfire through word of mouth, planting seeds of expectation within their individual circles. And it grows and grows from there.
One could certainly draw similarities from this Orlando Magic season. People saw the billboards around town, banners hung throughout the city, even an enormous Superman cape draped from the side of Amway Arena. The city definitely lit up as the drama grew and the anticipation of a championship run hit an all-time high. Everyone came to check it out. People who knew little about basketball were suddenly immersed in the madness. Celebrities from around the world were speckled throughout the crowds. And so it goes, so it goes, until the roller coaster ride finally came to a halt. Some were elated, while others were heartbroken. But what a ride it was!
Here is my “thrilling” analogy of the greatest season we have ever seen:
It started out somewhat slowly as we lost our first couple home games, similar to that slow, anxiety-ridden climb to the top of Thunder Mountain. But it was quickly followed by our first big delight, like the initial drop on The Simpsons Ride, as we had several big wins on the road. Much as if riding the adventurous Montu, we had our share of ups and downs through the first half of the season.
At times some probably felt scared, like we were cruising in the dark of Space Mountain. Other times, the wins piled on like child’s play, more like The Flying Unicorn.
The huge gut check came shortly before the halfway point, when Jameer Nelson went down with an injury, an incredibly scary jolt, not unlike that found on the halfway point of SheiKra. We had three All-Star selections, although only two could perform – this our translation of Journey to Atlantis. Everyone looks forward to the kick of the giant loop, and I think that came when we acquired Rafer Alston, a huge welcome thrill similar to those on Kumba. Some critics felt like we were moving backward, resembling the blind, reverse ride on Revenge of the Mummy.
Although bumpy turns and banks soon followed, keeping us on the edge of our seats like The Starliner, the season proved to be looking up, in the vein of the climbs on Expedition Everest. Many began to compare this team to a certain team from our past, reminiscing much like they did to the old Florida Hurricane.
Once we finally made it back to the NBA Playoffs, the enthusiasm grew drastically. It felt similar to when you get to the front of the line at Kraken after a long, enduring wait. With endless corkscrews and barrel rolls, through the first three rounds, we might as well have been on The Triple Hurricane. It certainly did not help that the refs appeared to have just disembarked from Woody’s Nuthouse Coaster!
As if on the electrifying cycles of Gwazi Lion and Tiger, we went through our fair share of stirring thrills and spills. But after riding on the immense shoulders of Dwight Howard, our own version of The Incredible Hulk, we made it to the final stop: the NBA Finals!
And then the ride ended far too soon, suddenly and painfully… resembling the surprise of ramming into the wall at full speed upon the conclusion of Test Track.
Indeed it has been an exhilarating and a monumental journey. Although I wanted to throw up and the end of the ride, we will use that pain next season to remind us how to improve our experience. Because quite frankly, our goal was not to get to the Finals – it was to win the Finals. Since we did not accomplish that, we did not face the perfect ride.
Don’t get me wrong – it was a blast and I will ride it again and again until they finally shut it down. However, next year, I hope to start off a lot more quickly, like the catapult on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. I can hardly wait! It is overwhelming me already, even more than anticipating a ride on the newest craze, Manta.
I will be this team’s Dueling Dragon any day!
Dragon My Heels, But Gotta Fly…
Posted by STUFF, Monday, June 1, 2009, 6:30 PM
We Want the Gold!
If you didn’t believe in this team before, I hope you do now. If not, you might want to get a job as a statue because you don’t have a pulse! I have never been part of such a hard-working team in my little dragon life. Our guys are focused and determined to win this entire thing, and as Mr. DeVos said following the game the other night, “We are happy, but we are not satisfied!”
As the final ticks of the clock slowly but steadily counted away to zero, I looked around the Amway Arena and focused on the people who made the difference for our team: our sixth man – the fans. I saw the pride in their eyes, heard the ownership in their cheers, felt the admiration in their hugs, tasted the sweet satisfaction of victory, and bore witness to one of the happiest moments in Orlando history. It was a beautiful site, one which I admired for several minutes before moving to the next stage of celebration.
The Eastern Conference caps, fresh off the press, were passed out amongst the staff. Everyone around me had one on their head. Of course, there wasn’t one large enough for my huge cranium, so I simply pretended I was cool as everyone else. It was even more appropriate to see the team and coaches wearing them, crowning them the real “kings” of the court. Hats off to them… or in this case, hats on to them.
And then came the trophy presentation. A gorgeous, silver trophy, delivered and presented by NBA Legend, “The Big O” himself: Oscar Robertson. It was quite a spectacle to see the trophy handed to Mr. DeVos, then on to Mr. Vander Weide, and finally passed all throughout the team. It made its way around the team, until it finally wound up in the enormous hands of Dwight Howard, whose smile gleamed across the trophy’s reflection.
Time to put those hats aside because they really do not do us justice. We want the crown. Time to save the smiles for other times. Like maybe as we brush our teeth. Time to put that trophy back in its box because that trophy was silver. And as Otis Smith so eloquently put it, this team was not put together to be win a silver trophy. We want the gold!
Magic fans, we have four games left to win – FOUR! They may happen in Los Angeles, they may happen in Orlando, but we only have four victories remaining until the Orlando Magic – YOUR Orlando Magic – is crowned the NBA World Champions!
Dragon My Heels, But Gotta Fly…
Posted by STUFF, Friday, May 22, 2009, 2:45 PM
You went crazy. You did a celebration dance. So did Rashard. You couldn't talk for about ten minutes, still unsure if it just happened. You tried to scream but nothing came out. You stared at the TV for a minute, then realizing they had one more shot. You held your breath for what seemed like another thirty minutes, totally uncertain if LeBron would miss the last shot, but knowing he was going to shoot it, but then again wondering if anyone could stop him. He missed. You danced some more. Maybe with strangers. You check if you are still alive from holding your breath so long. You call the doctor to cancel your heart medication.
Until the next morning when you woke up. At which time you still had no idea if it was all just a dream. Did we really battle with the 76ers in a ridiculous series, only to escape a couple games by last-second shots? And also lose a couple games by last-second shots?
Did we really take on the defending World Champions and take every game to the wire, forcing them to another game after game after game? Did Dwight really call out Coach Van Gundy? Did Patrick Ewing really guarantee the win? Did we really live up to his promise and beat the Celtics in Game 7 in their own arena?
You turned on SportsCenter to recap the night. Next subject after the break: "Magic/ Cavs." You waited through the commercials with tired eyes, but never relinquished your gaze on the screen. And then it happened. First, every broadcaster, cameraman, grip, and janitor, patted LeBron on the back and expressed their admiration for him for being so beautiful, and then begged him to let them clean his bevy of cars or cut his lawn or watch his children. Once they were finished with their praise for their King, someone actually mentioned the Magic. And oh yea. reminded everyone that the Magic won!
It is not a dream, Orlando! This is real. This is your town. This is your team. It is time to spread the word: the Magic are contenders. We have a very legit possibility to win it all.
We set out this year with one goal in mind: to win the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy. We may not win every single game from here on out, but we are planning to play for the title and we are planning to be the Champions. Anything else is not good enough, because anything less is not our goal.
Your part is vital to our goal. It is a fact - they cannot win without your support! With only a few games remaining at Amway Arena, I insist you bring your best. If you demand it out of your team, I demand it out of you. Our guys have said it in interviews before every away game: "Our goal is to take the crowd out of this game. Once they get started, it is hard to stop them." We need LeBron and his court of jesters to feel the same way. We need them to know that Orlando does not quit. Orlando will not calm down. Orlando will not go away. Orlando believes in Magic!!!
Screaming, standing, stomping, singing, jumping, high-fiving, chest-bumping, booty-shaking, shaking rally rackets, banging thunder sticks, waving towels. do you have it in you? Nothing but the best from here on out, because next time you wake up from this so-called "dream," I want to be showing you my ring!
Dragon My Heels, But Gotta Fly…
Posted by STUFF, Thursday, May 14, 2009, 12:30 PM
It Is Not Over!
I must admit that I allowed some of this negativity to fester within myself. That lucky fade-away Iguodala threw over Hedo during the last round had us all in shock. The odds would have been just as good if he had closed his eyes, and shot it from California.
Then came the crazy, spinning, out-of-control layup by Thaddeus Young around Dwight Howard. Who, you say? Exactly! He threw it up in absolute fear. Any other time, D12 would have swatted that lob into Tiger Woods’ lap, as if it had been intentionally set for him in a volleyball match.
And then there was the heartbreaking shot from Big Baby. Did you see his face when he realized he made it? He was in more shock than anyone! He knows he should not have made that shot, let alone shoot it. That kid he pushed has a better chance against him in an arm-wrestling match than Davis has of repeating that shot.
But here’s the reality check… it is NOT over! The last time I checked, to win a series, a team has to win four games, not three. That means we must win only ONE more before de-throning the defending world champs. And as far as I am concerned, we only have NINE games to win before I get my first championship ring and I get to Grand Marshall a ticker tape parade down Orange Avenue!
And get this: Charles Barkley has thrown down the gauntlet. He said (while live on national TV, by the way), that Orlando has the worst arena in the NBA, as well as the lamest fans. Although I strongly disagree, I really want to make him eat his words at the remaining games. I have noticed some other teams create a riot from tipoff to 0:00, while we sometimes let up when it becomes too comfortable. For instance, even when we were beating Boston by 19 points in their city, their fans still erupted every time they made a shot, as if they had won the series. We need to do even more.
So… do whatever you have to do to blow the roof off the Amway Arena in the upcoming games. Bring your rally rackets, rally towels, thundersticks, sirens, blowhorns, pet elephants, tugboats, screaming babies, whatever! And please, please, please, react to EVERYTHING throughout the entire game with all the mojo you can muster. Our Boys In Blue need it. And I guarantee if the noise is as intense as it was during last game’s fourth quarter, the Cavaliers will sweat in fear, because they know that they are next.
I promise it ain’t over until the fat dragon sings… and in case you haven’t noticed, I don’t have a mouth!
Dragon My Heels, But Gotta Fly…
Posted by STUFF, Friday, May 1, 2009, 4:33PM
The Playoffs – Where STUFF Happens!
All senses are enhanced.
The city is abuzz.
People talk about the Magic at work every day. Some errantly use the word “Magics.”
Banners and billboards pop up all over the cityscape.
Everyone has a blog. And mySpace. And Facebook. And Twitter.
You can find mine at www.stuffslair.com or follow me on Twitter @STUFF_Mascot
Pep rallies, watch parties, and random gatherings, just to watch a basketball game.
The smell of fresh popped popcorn two hours before the game.
No tickets are still available, except from a high-priced scalper. Still worth it, so they do.
The pre-game carnival outside Amway Arena looks like a beehive.
Fans enter as soon as doors open, even if only to get a glimpse of the shootaround.
T-shirts, rally towels, thundersticks – something on every seat.
The lights shine brighter.
The music is more intense.
Kids are dancing more in the stands.
So are adults.
People scream at the top of their lungs.
Inhibitions are out the door.
Blue and White ignites the building.
Scotty B must have drank ten energy drinks.
I come flying in from the ceiling and surprise the crowd.
The place explodes at the tipoff. It continues until the clock strikes 0:00.
No empty seats.
People love wearing their Magic jerseys – Shaq, T-Mac, Sasser… it doesn’t matter.
The halftime show is even cooler than before.
The Magic Dancers are even hotter. (Is that possible?)
I get crazier. (Is that possible?)
There are no breaks, no easy baskets.
Coach Van Gundy screams.
Coach Van Gundy smiles.
Coach Van Gundy screams again.
High fives from strangers, even in the bathroom.
Crazy makeup, wigs, and posters. I find a couple posters with my picture on them.
Flags are being waved all around the arena.
You can hear the sneakers squeak a little bit louder.
Superman flies higher.
Rashard seems he cannot miss a trey.
People are talking about Marcin Gortat.
Nicknames are created (see: The Polish Hammer, Prince of Poland, Polish Machine).
Women love J.J. Redick even more.
Women are trying harder to understand what “goaltending” and “charges” are.
Women stop caring about rules, because JJ Redick just went in the game.
Broadcasters create catch phrases.
Plays of the Year are being seen LIVE. Duh duh duh… duh duh duh!
Everyone stays in their seats for the entire game.
Every team is a contender.
Each day is a challenge.
Still the Magic win.
And win again. And again.
16 wins later…
I get a photo holding a trophy the size of my body!
Dragon My Heels, But Gotta Fly…
Posted by STUFF, Monday, April 6, 2009, 3:32PM
Break a Leg, STUFF!
Others thought it was some type of publicity stunt that would soon be over. I think they expected me to sprint toward the trampoline, cast and all, soaring high through the sky for a magnificent dunk, wooing the crowd and winning their hearts. Six weeks later… still milking this “joke” – still no dunk. Truth be told, I just could not stand Jameer getting all the attention from his injury, so I thought I would take some of the pressure off of him by hurting myself.
I guess it’s like “the boy who cried wolf,” and I have pulled so many pranks on so many people that no one wants to be the next to be fooled. But you aren’t going to see any punch line any time soon. Why? Because my leg really is broken. Seriously! This X-ray is authentic and it is mine.
I call it the “Dragon Dive”: I spot someone sitting in the middle of an aisle – usually one of my Dragon Keepers or an usher – and I plan the attack. I quickly calculate their height, and then I run down the stairs, straight toward the unsuspecting squatter. About two steps away from their perch, I take flight just over their head, performing a high-arcing dive roll to the unforgiving steps below them. The impact creates an enormous thud, causing dozens of gasps and stares of disbelief – the perfect reaction – the one that I am looking for! I then brush off my shoulders and belly, and nonchalantly walk away, as if nothing ever happened.
Well, this time was different. I got the reaction from the fans I desired, of course, but my own reaction was not the same. I was in pain, and I didn’t know if it was bad. As I got up from my roll, a little boy shouted, “Yea, STUFF!” and gave me a fist pump. I quickly gave him my staple “two thumbs up,” then winced in pain as I realized it was serious, and quickly hopped out of sight. I had to call it a night, early that game, only to find the next day that the stair on which I had landed, had snapped my fibula into two fibulas.
Since I haven’t been able to get around to everyone in the stands like normal, I have been signing autographs during halftime of some recent games. Also, some of the people from the Magic office created a gigantic “Get Well Soon” card that has been on display in the concourse. I would like to get many of you to sign it for me to keep as a memory of my unmerciful clumsiness. Many have asked where to send me a note, and if you would like, email me: email@example.com.
Thanks to all of you who have already written me and expressed your sympathy and prayers. Just to let you know, I am doing great and it can only slow me down, but it cannot stop me. To be honest, I am more annoyed than anything that I can’t do all of my normal antics! I can’t get this cast off soon enough!! I saw Jameer getting all the attention from his injury and I could not resist getting my own! See you all healthy in the Playoffs!!!
I always sign off by saying, “Dragon my heels, but gotta fly…,” but now I am literally dragging my boot and cannot fly!
Dragon My LEG, But Gotta Fly…
Posted by STUFF, Monday, February 23, 2009, 5:47PM
A "Sick" Birthday Party
A “frenemy” – combination of both friend and enemy – for those who don’t know, is a companion who is also a competitor. And on February 8th, I had several of my frenemies in town to celebrate my latest birthday, and the party was butter (out of this world)! Rolling (hanging out) with me this year were Sly from the New Jersey Nets, Rocky from the Denver Nuggets, Harry from the Atlanta Hawks, Crunch from the Minnesota Timberwolves, and Bowser from the Indiana Pacers. Fyi (for your information), these guys are not sketchy (troublemakers), but are all my wingmen (partners in crime), so please don’t trip on (get mad at) them.
The game was off the chain (unbelievable), as we filled it with a ton of good entertainment. To start it off, the six-pack (six of us) came in from the ceiling during the introductions! Each character was in spotlights, holding a letter of my name in bold colors of neon green and electric pink. When we hit the ground, my crew (group of friends) surrounded me with a hyperactive version of S-T-U-F-F!
We filled the halftime show as well, doing a literal edition of Mascot Bowling. Many of you have seen me do this before – sitting on a sled with wheels, and then being reeled across the court by a giant slingshot at 30-40 miles per hour, aimed at some unsuspecting obstacles at the other end of the court. Well, the unsuspecting obstacles this time included the fudge (fool) Sly, the mascot from the New Jersey Nets, whose team we were playing that night! As he stood blindfolded and hog-tied, each mascot took a shot at him, but to no avail. But don’t you worry… your boy, STUFF, got the final shot and owned (made a fool of) him, landing him right on his booty (rearend)!
No mascot performance would be complete without the addition of some rim-rocking acrodunks, which we were happy to dish out (give). Under the legs, around the back, a huge reverse, even some sweet tandems to one another. It was punctuated by me flying over all five of my posse (group of friends) in addition to one enormous inflatable birthday cake!
I have to say that my 20th birthday celebration was among the finest I have ever been a part of, thanks to the addition of those guys and those who attended. Seeing fans in the audience with homemade signs, STUFF hats and dolls, and even custom-made STUFF T-shirts, also really made it special.
Speaking of birthdays, a very special BFF (best friend forever) of mine also recently celebrated her birthday, and I got to be a big part of it! People often think I cater only to nuggets (children), but forget that I love all Magic fans that aren’t afraid to show their grill (smile). Season ticket holder, Annie Keidser, may not be in elementary school, but she is definitely a child at heart! And quite possibly the “biggest” STUFF fan of all – literally!
Congratulations Annie and happy birthday, and thank you so much for being my BF4L (best friend for life)!
Maybe you have a big gig (event) coming up as well that seems to be bunk (lame) and needs to be jazzed (add excitement). No matter who, where, or why, I can come to your 911 (emergency). For more 411 (information), holla at (call) Jeanine Thomas: 407-916-2675.
This has been a fun topic. Now imma (I’m going to) be chillaxin (relaxing) for a minute (little while) back in my hood (neighborhood).
Dragon My Heels, But Gotta Fly…
Heeeere Come the Magic… and a Birthday Boy!
Hello everybody! It has been a fantastic 2009 already for the Magic, and we have only just begun! We have been holding our spot among the top of the league the entire season, even reaching the number one position for a little while. We have continued to stay strong while on the road. We broke an NBA record for 3-point shots recently. And now, we have three Magic players in the All-Star Game, not to mention the defending Slam Dunk Champion ready to repeat – and who is also coaching the Sophomore team in the Rookie Game! I don’t know which feat is the most exciting, but I’m all wound up just thinking about everything.
For the record, I will be traveling to Phoenix to watch the All-Star Game in February. However, this time I will just be taking in the sites and festivities rather than performing. I was determining my participation on whether Dwight was going to enter the Dunk Contest again, but by the time he made his decision, all mascot spots had been filled. That’s okay with me though. I need the break! My body agrees full-heartedly! I have given him some sick ideas for the dunk contest though, and I can hardly wait to see what he pulls out of his sleeves this year. I have no doubt he will easily take home another trophy. I see it coming down between D12 and Nate Robinson – aka David vs. Goliath – but we all know Nate needs 19 tries to get his dunks done and my man only needs one = easy decision.
How crazy is it though that none of our guys are in the 3-Point Shootout?!? We are not only the most trigger happy team in the league, but also the most proficient. Rashard is leading the league in most 3-point stats, Jameer and Hedo are also pretty outstanding, and we all know what kind of shot J.J. has. We just broke the all-time NBA record for most 3-pointers made in a game… come on!! I find it pretty odd, to say the least, that not one of our guys was offered a spot.
Before All-Star weekend though, we will be celebrating my birthday at a Magic game, and you don’t want to miss it! I am having an outrageous party at the game on February 8th with five other NBA mascots coming into town to add to the chaos. A lot of people ask me why my birthday changes every year, and while my birthday is October 31st (always), we like to celebrate it with Magic fans on a date that best suits our schedule, as well as those I would like to invite from out of town. This year, I have invited Rocky from the Denver Nuggets, Bowser from the Indiana Pacers, Crunch from the Minnesota Timberwolves, Harry the Hawk from the Atlanta Hawks, and Sly from the team we are playing that night, the New Jersey Nets.
Expect the unexpected with all my furry friends in the house… there will be a lot of surprises! Who knows when a birthday cake can take a sudden right turn onto someone’s face? I can tell you there will be a surprise hilarious dance routine that night involving all of us with the Magic Dancers, as well as some high-flying dunks and some very special entry stunts that will shock you. I have also put together a very special halftime with all my buddies, but you have to be there to find out more about that! And for the first 5,000 fans to come in the door, each will receive a STUFF toothbrush holder to go alongside the soap dispenser we gave away last year, in addition to a commemorative poster you can get signed by all of us before the game!
I have a lot more to say about things going on, but I’m going to wait until after my birthday. Write me and let me know if you are coming to see me… then meet us on the concourse for pictures and autographs when the doors open! See you soon.
Dragon My Heels, But Gotta Fly…
Posted by STUFF, Wednesday, December 17, 2008, 5:27AM
Who is STUFF'd?
Speaking of thanks, how was everyone’s Thanksgiving holiday? I made my way up to New York City to watch the Macy’s Parade. I have literally been in hundreds of parades. I was actually honored as the Grand Marshall for the first Macy’s Parade here in Orlando at Universal Studios in 2004 (see photo), but this was my first to SEE the “mack daddy” of all parades. The floats were incredible and the balloon characters were enormous – even bigger than Air STUFF. And then add to it the celebrities and performers—quite the spectacle.
I had a huge dinner after the parade – probably my favorite part about Thanksgiving – filling that big belly of mine. Some people eat turkey, others prefer ham or pork, but you know what I had this year: duck. I know it is weird (even for me), but I moved on from the parade over to Chinatown in the city, and enjoyed a very untraditional Thanksgiving dinner. Reminded me of that time we roasted some Atlanta Hawk for the Christmas. Needless to say, I got STUFF’d!
This season has started out on a pretty fantastic note, thanks to our fans. You have been inspirational to not only the boys on the court, but also to me. Perhaps you have seen me flipping off high places, dunking with the dancers, sledding down the stairs, all with reckless abandon. I do all this because of the support I have been shown lately. You have STUFF’d my heart with joy so far, so I am working on some brand new tricks that I am pretty sure you will enjoy even more: a rollerblade dunk, biking the stairs, a zip line entrance! Weeeeeeeee!
Oh yeah, I’m sorry to the lady in the Raptors jersey the other night who took on six cans of silly string. And my deepest regrets to the man in the Kings jersey whose face was STUFF’d with an entire chocolate cake. And to the little boy who chose to wear his Rockets jersey on the front row of MY court, my condolences for spilling your bucket of popcorn… on your head. Whoops! I take it back – I’m not sorry. Woe to those who wear the jersey of another team into my domain! Man, woman, boy, or girl… front row or upper echelon… expect to be STUFF’d by the wrath of a dragon scorned.
I love my job!
Now I’m off to hang my HUGE stocking, so it can get STUFF’d too! See you at a game!
Dragon My Heels, But Gotta Fly…
Posted by STUFF, Tuesday, September 8, 2008, 5:33PM
DID SOMEONE SAY "OFF" SEASON?
So many people ask me the same question: what do you do during the off-season? In other words, what do you do between the time the Magic season ends and the next one begins?
When I'm on the road, I LOVE to take in sporting events, scouting what other teams and their mascots have up their sleeves. The Tampa Bay Rays are having an extremely exciting year, and I attended Raymond's birthday party this summer. Also, I typically visit Jackson deVille from the Jacksonville Jaguars, Stanley C. Panther from the Florida Panthers, and T.D. from the Miami Dolphins for their big fiestas as well. I also saw the Toronto Blue Jays, Harlem Globetrotters, Columbus Blue Jackets, and a few other games during my travels. This is one of my growing traditions during the summer.
STUFF and several of his big-bellied buddies celebrating Raymond’s birthday at Tampa Bay Rays game
In July, I hosted the 16th Annual Mascot Games here in our beautiful city. Nearly thirty mascots from all across the country invaded the Amway Arena to "compete" in a three-day, fan-friendly, chaos-filled event that I started so many years ago to raise money for New Hope for Kids. This year, with an American Gladiator-type theme, the four teams battled it out in popular events, such as Powerball, Hit and Run, the Joust, and even the Eliminator! I shouldn't have to tell you who won. but I will! Nope, it actually wasn't me. No big surprise!
STUFF hosted his 16th Celebrity Mascot Games this year in Orlando with mascots from around the globe
Never missing an opportunity to improve, I try to advance my skills during my summer as well. I joined my NBA mascot buddies in Toronto this year for our annual NBA Mascot Conference, at which we share our best practices from the previous season and collaborate on ideas and goals for the upcoming one. During this week, we generate a lot of great skits, design new breath-taking stunts, share the latest and greatest big boy toys, and trade stories about our perspective teams. It also never fails that we come away with fantastic stories from our furry follies, and this year was no exception. Benny the Bull from the Chicago Bulls and The Coyote from the San Antonio Spurs should know exactly what I am talking about!
I will also attend an acro-dunking camp in Fargo, North Dakota, in a couple weeks to progress my trampoline abilities. And don't be surprised if you see a lot more tumbling, dangerous stunts, and even unicycling this season. All of this in an effort to keep you - the fans - smiling, laughing, gasping, and all but choking on your popcorn as you watch me "do my thing."
|Not to be outdone by the average athlete, I joined Superman this summer in Beijing, China, for the 2008 Olympics! I was invited there to train the five Olympic mascots - commonly called the Fuwa - and to help out with the entertainment during every basketball game throughout the three weeks. My favorite mascot was Ying-Ying! The time in China was far from a joyride, as we sometimes had four to six games each day, every day, and for both men AND women! For that designated time period, every team, from Iran to Korea to Argentina, was "my team." Nonetheless, nothing brought me greater joy than seeing our own American flag raised high into the rafters for both the men's and women's gold medal ceremonies. and then looking over to see my buddy, Dwight Howard, loudly and proudly singing the National Anthem, as was I.
STUFF’s protégée, Olympic mascot, Ying-Ying, soars like Superman in Beijing
STUFF throws down a monster dunk before a gorgeous background in Yokohama
|I then spent a week in Japan, between both Tokyo and Yokohama, for an NBA Madness event. These spectacular events are produced in numerous locations around the world to get the NBA name into various locations, all the while promoting basketball in areas where the sport is still growing. This particular event included a skills competition, a dunk contest, a 3-point shoot off, and a 3-on-3 tournament. I entertained between all of these events. Joined by Detroit Pistons player, Arron Afflalo, we promoted the event around the area and were celebrity guests throughout our stay (and very well-treated, to say the least). It is not too often you will see me teaming up with a Pistons player, but for the evolution of our sport, I made this event an exception!|
STUFF and Pistons player, Arron Afflalo, celebrate with Japan’s 3-on-3 champions
|And now I am back, only a few weeks away from the Magic pre-season. I am firing on all cylinders right now, promoting the team, filming commercials, preparing skits, and appearing all over central Florida. I have dunk shows at Disney on my calendar, private birthday parties, business grand openings, school rallies. and oh, so much more! I would estimate that what I do at games is only 25% of my total performance. So to say I have an "off-season" still brings a smile to my fuzzy face.
Needless to say, I am extremely excited about this year's team, and I can hardly wait to see them on the court. Better still, I am even more amped about getting myself on the court. I am working hard to ensure that my game is better than ever and that every time you catch a glimpse of me, you know the fun will come. And it will! You don't want to miss this season, the 20th Anniversary of our team. We have so many exciting things that we are doing this season, including a STUFF toothbrush holder AND my first children's book!!
Which reminds me - I have a lot more to do still. Get your tickets so I can see you at the games!!!
Dragon My Heels, But Gotta Fly.
Posted by STUFF, Friday, April 25, 2008, 8:54AM
I LOVE THE PLAYOFFS!
Wow, what an amazing season it has been! Stan turned this team into a contender, we clinched over 50 games, Dwight easily won the dunk contest, Hedo will probably be named the Most Improved Player in the NBA, and me… I haven’t had any major injuries. That in itself is amazing. And the best part is… we’re not finished!!!!
Ladies and gents, we have launched a new playoff campaign: Blue And White Ignite! And we are scorching the competition. This is the time when everybody starts with a clean slate, where every team is legit. This is where champions are born and pretenders are humiliated. This is where I do crazier things than ever before in an attempt to light up our arena and the fans it holds, and hopefully make someone think, “Oh my goodness, he really is insane!”
Did you see the first game opening ceremonies? I came in from the rafters, plummeting from 90 feet in the air, finishing amidst the massive flames on the floor below. See this picture? I’m the little green spot hanging upside-down by the MagicVision on the right.
The intensity in these games has been ridiculous! The noise is absolutely amazing, and surprisingly not at all annoying to anyone! The blue and white shirts are so cool to witness from the floor! The signs in the crowd are very clever and getting better and better each game! The blue and white chests, the blue and white hair, the blue and white chest hair... weird, but AWESOME!!
And now a few notes to some very special people, who I have seen at recent games and deserve recognition:
· To all the people wearing STUFF hats or shirts, holding up STUFF signs and dolls: I see you out there and sincerely appreciate your support. I will continue to try and recognize as many of you as possible when I pass by. Send me your pictures and I might post them on my site!
· To the beautiful dancer, Heather, who never lets me walk by without a hug and a smile: thanks for letting me dream… as if someone like you would actually like a big, fat, green dragon like me! But can you at least teach me to dance?
· To the guy in the Jose Calderon jersey (who apparently forgot he was in Orlando, and therefore soaked up an entire arsenal of my silly string): it was NOT an accident!
· To the Fat Guy, who has done tons of 4th quarter running this season: if you keep this up, you won’t be “Fat” Guy any longer. You will only be Guy.
· To 7’1” Primoz Brezec (on the Raptors bench, because he never plays): I haven’t forgotten what you did, and I still think you are a punk. Dragons never forget, so beware or you might get burned.
Thanks for all you are doing, Magic fans! We’re not finished and you are a HUGE factor in that!! Let’s make it “ignite” every night…
Go Blue! Go White! Go Green Dragon!!!
Oh yeah, one more thing: we just added a clever new game to our website that features someone I think you will love—YOU! Really it does! Check out www.stuffthegame.com and perhaps, in the process, I can teach you a few of my sweet dance moves. Thanks EMBARQ!
Dragon My Heels, But Gotta Fly…
Posted by STUFF, Friday, January 11, 2008, 3:47PM
So much for that New Year’s Resolution of getting in better shape. All the cake, ice cream, and Mountain Dew from my birthday just increased my waist line yet again. No use fighting those inches off. Oh well… it was a great resolution for those three days! I think I will make it again next year… who doesn’t?
By the way, did you see the birthday cakes that were made for me? Talk about works of art! There were five cakes, each with a three-dimensional model of yours truly. I ate the head off three of them.
And if you were there, certainly you couldn’t miss the ridiculous life-sized balloon art versions of me, created by my buddy, Stupendous Stu. He has always done some incredible work, including numerous versions of your big green buddy. However, this time he outdone himself for real… it took him 10 hours each to create these masterpieces! Incredible work, Stu! Thank you so much.
The entire game was insane. Although the Magic did not manage the win, my fellow mascot buddies and I had a crazy time – and thus felt we pulled off a victory in our own small way. It included a sick dunk show, at which time Clutch from the Houston Rockets somehow ended up running off the court in a thong! We also had a hysterical inflatable dance-off, where one small boy was eaten by one of the huge airheads! And the halftime was awesome, particularly because I overcame and overwhelmed each of the visiting mascots in an action-packed battle of medieval jousting!
Special thanks to my furry brothers for coming to visit my town: Rocky – the high-hopping and hilarious mountain lion; Hooper, the jiggling and juggling horse; G-Wiz, the big, bold, and blue whatever-he-is; Rufus, the fluorescent and friendly feline; and yes, even Clutch – the thought leader of bears around the world!
Oh, and by the way, if you missed this game, you have a second chance to get in on the fur-filled action… I will be having five new critters in for a game on April Fool’s Day (April 1st) for my “2nd Annual Fur-ternity Party.” I like to call it Animal House! Bring in the kangaroos!
Now go hug your kids… and let them eat cake!!
Dragon My Heels, But Gotta Fly…
Posted by STUFF, Wednesday, January 2, 2008, 1:19PM
ICE CREAM AND CAKEY-CAKE!!
Lock up your pets and hide your toys… It’s that time of year again!
A time of new beginnings. A time of celebration. A time for presents and lots of food. A time of friends, family, and fans. A time of surprises and laughter. A time to party!!
Nope, not Christmas. Uh uh, not New Year’s either. It’s my BIRTHDAY!!!!!!
Definitely one of the most entertaining games of the year at the Amway Arena is when I bring in a bunch of my buddies from all over the country to celebrate me getting old. Nineteen this year!! I know I don’t look like I have aged a bit since I was born on Church Street in 1989. No gray hairs, no voice changes, no saggy belly… er, two out of three isn’t bad.
This year we will celebrate my birthday on January 4th, as the Magic beat the Houston Rockets. In fact, just to make it more interesting, I am even bringing in the Rockets’ mascot, Clutch. That should be fun… (insert evil laugh here)! He will be joined by four other mascots: G-Wiz from the Washington Wizards, Rufus from the Charlotte Bobcats, Hooper from the Detroit Pistons, and Rocky from the Denver Nuggets. A cast of clowns, in my opinion, but you can rest assured that it will be a blast!
You will see T-shirts and silly string flying all over the gym. We will also be soaring ourselves when we perform a high-intensity dunk show in between the first and second quarters. There will also be several of our inflatable buddies bouncing around the floor late in the game. And halftime – well, let’s just say it will be worth staying in your seats for – far better than popcorn and soda!
And wait! Did I mention we are giving away soap dispensers that look like me to the first 5,000 fans? You can clean your hands with the stuff that comes out of my nose! My birthday gift back to you for all your love and support.
So get your tickets now – if there are any left! Once this blog hits, I am sure tickets will sell like hot cakes. And get there early, because all the mascots will join me in the concourse for photos with you before the game. Can’t wait to see everyone there wearing their STUFF apparel and holding their best STUFF signs!!
Can you imagine… six of me running around during the game? Needless to say, it will be a… circus show. See you there!!
Dragon My Heels, But Gotta Fly…
Posted by STUFF, Wednesday, December 19, 9:58AM
Sayonara Japan and Korea! Part Two…
So without further ado, I present STUFF’s Tour Four Awards…
Robin Williams Award – Most Random Behavior: Sometimes I think Brooke must be from another planet, but she is easily one of the most entertaining to hang around. She doesn’t even need an audience. She simply does “her thing” everywhere she goes. Most likely, others are being entertained in her midst.
Spongebob Squarepants Award – Craziest Laugh: Have you ever heard a laugh that just makes you turn around and wonder if it was even real? So funny, the laugh itself makes other people laugh? Trinity has one of those deep within her core… not necessarily every time she laughs, but when it bellows, passersby beware!
Dracula Award – Biggest Night Owl: I’m pretty wired myself, usually from dusk until dawn, but if I know one person that is going to rival my lack of sleep, Deanna is easily that gal. No coffee, no Red Bull, no ginseng necessary. As long as people are moving, Deanna is going be awake to watch them.
Mother Goose Award – Most Stories: Everyone likes a good tale every now and then, so if you hang out with Shana, you will get your share. You name a subject and she has a story about it. You name a place and she’s been there and even tried their peanut sauce. Often better than reading a book, just request Shana to talk, then sit back and enjoy.
Jessica Simpson Award - Biggest Airhead Moment: This award is definitely the hardest to narrow down – you can only imagine! But I am going to give this one ultimately to Kim M. for almost missing the first plane – before we ever left Orlando! And why, you might ask? Well, she thought her seat number on her boarding pass was actually her gate. So she went through three different security checks before ever finding her plane and narrowly escaped missing the entire trip!
Paris Hilton Award – Biggest Luggage: If you read my previous blogs, you already know my sentiments about the girls’ luggage. However, Kelly not only had two gargantuan pieces that she checked into cargo, but somehow believed a third expandable piece was necessary to carry onto the plane. Too wide for the aisles and far too fat to fit in the overhead… what can you possibly need to bring on the plane that makes your bag so thick like my thighs?
Rumpelstiltskin Award - Most Likely Not To Get An Award: This one is also a tie. I don’t want to say they are boring… boring… boring, because that is far from the truth. However, the words drama-free are probably more appropriate. Erin and Kim C. just go with the flow. They both love to sit back and laugh at everybody else but refuse to make themselves look goofy, even when I need a good story. Great for them, but not-so-much for my award ceremony.
Caboose Award - Most Likely To Be Last: Last but not least, there is absolutely no contest for this award. It was truly comical to watch, but no matter what we did or where we were, Christy would be the last to do it – absolutely ALWAYS. When it comes to procrastination, she definitely takes the cake, but takes it last.
Thank you most all to the Orlando Magic, who allowed me and the Magic Dancers to participate in not only one, but four of these amazing journeys over the years. And to all the soldiers and veterans around the world, I salute you for who you are and what you do! You are true American heroes! God bless you all and I hope to see many of you again someday.
Dragon My Heels, But Gotta Fly…
Posted by STUFF, Monday, December 10, 2007, 12:23PM
Sayonara Japan and Korea! Part One…
Oh yes… the boys are back in town and so am I!!! After thousands of miles, hours of performance, tons of luggage, hundreds of autographs, and cases of hairspray and Febreze, the Magic Dancers and I have finally made it back home. Now it’s back to real life. And real life equates to more mileage, more performing, more autographs, and more hairspray and Febreze!
But before I leave behind my Adventures In Asia, let me share a few of my observations that I have found while being away. And then, later this week, I give out a few awards to those crazy girls who traveled along with me:
· Do Asian people not throw things away? One of the hardest things to find in any Asian country, including China during the pre-season, was a trash can. Maybe I’m used to Disney having them every eleven feet, but trash can hide-and-seek stinks!
· If I was going to start a business in Japan or Korea, I would definitely start by selling vending machines. You couldn’t find a trash can, but there were multiple vending machines outside of EVERY building, including some homes. No exaggeration! And they all sold the same things!! But where do they put the stinking cans when they are finished with their drinks?!? You can’t find a trash can.
· My second choice of business would be to sell bicycles. I saw more bikes fly by me than you could see at the Tour de France! And why wouldn’t one ride a bike? They fly by the ongoing motor traffic. Not so much because the bikers are so fast as much as the car traffic is so incredibly slow. We were told it takes about three hours to go forty-five miles in one city we visited.
· And tolls? I will never complain about tolls in central Florida again. At one base in Okinawa, it cost a soldier approximately $40 in tolls to go right down the road to see our show - twenty minutes away! Suddenly I think the Beeline in Orlando seems neither congested nor expensive!
· All fast food units are not created equal. If you order a Whopper with cheese in central Japan, it probably won’t taste anything like that of central Florida. If you get a Mountain Dew from the fountain of KFC in Korea, don’t be surprised if it isn’t even yellow. And what the heck are Shaka-Shaka Potatoes? Do we have them in our McDonalds?
· What about the dancers? Some of the nonsense that comes from those girls’ mouths was the most entertaining thing about the whole trip, because quite frankly, you really never know what you are going to get. Stories about beans, songs about badgers, dances choreographed about luggage, girls calling their cats to make sure they are being good! Oh, you think I am kidding too probably. Ever heard the words, "balzary," "chicka," or "finey?" No? Really? Yeah, me neither. Even funnier when coupled with the fact that they don’t know some real-life terminology – words like pro-rated rent, rice patty, and liaison.
These were just a few of my silly observations along the way. However, as I sit and soak in my enormous STUFF-sized hot tub and reminisce about this trip, a few more important things also come to mind. For instance, we were able to stand on the border of North and South Korea, where American soldiers face their enemy every single day. We were allowed to fly in Blackhawk helicopters, crafts that are still being used for battles in the Middle East. We stood aboard the USS Kitty Hawk, an enormous vessel that harbors thousands of crew and sails in the deepest and most dangerous waters. We were enabled to experience some absolutely unique opportunities while taking this remarkable trip, but we went along merely as onlookers.
I am blessed to be part of a country where men and women are out fighting my battles that allow me to do what I do. Their duties are huge, and despite any political disagreements, their sacrifices are real and ongoing. And all the while, I get to clown around and dance around like a monkey! I met a lot of amazing people and they made me feel like I was someone special. They should get the applause, however, not me. And for those I didn’t actually get to shake hands with, nice to meet you anyway!
That is it for now, Magic fans, but please read my blog later this week to hear about the awards I am giving to the dancers who joined me on this trip. Some great things happened along the way, and honoring them with these recognitions only seems appropriate.
Posted by Stuff, Thursday, November 29, 2007, 5:14AM
WE'RE OFF...AND IT'S LOADS OF FUN!
So I am sitting here in my pajamas at 5:12 AM, typing up this blog, wondering what the readers want to know - and then trying to filter what I should actually tell about this trip thus far. It has only been three days (I think... I lost track), and so much has already happened that is nonsensical that I just have to laugh inside my enormous cranium and try not to wake up any nearby soldiers.
Let me start at the beginning:
Traveling non-stop for over 24 hours to Japan has surprisingly been the easy part. All the subsequent travels since have been the most taxing. Not that I am complaining because obviously getting this opportunity to do such amazing work with such incredible people truly has no downside. But after a quick flight to Atlanta, then the long fifteen-hour haul to Tokyo, a bus ride to Nagasaki, another two-hour flight to Haseda, then another two-hour bus ride to our base, you can imagine how excited it is to finally get to our destination! Then following our arrival, we do a dance clinic and show in Sacebo City, hop back onto a plane, fly to somewhere else, get in a bus for another short jaunt, perform our second show at Camp Zama, and then we leave in a few hours from now to travel to our next appointment. At this point, I honestly don't even know where I am or where I am going. And I love it!
People tell me all the time how awesome it must be to travel with the Orlando Magic Dancers, that it must be all rose petals and sunshine, every minute of every day, traveling with them so often. Well, don't get me wrong... it is not a bad gig... but I have one small obstacle that I would like you to think about.
Have you seen the size of the suitcases that these girls bring with them? Are they even still called suitcases when they are the size of a manatee? I can't imagine that some of these girls' apartments, while going to school, are much larger than the bags that they are toting! The wheels on some of these bags have been taken off a Honda Civic. I mean, seriously, when they are given a two-bag limit, they must have all gone to the "Biggest Suitcases In The World Emporium" and bought out the entire inventory! And not just one girl - ALL of them!
Then they expanded their suitcases' sides, filled them up with everything known to mankind, sat on them, stuffed in an extra twenty pounds of unnecessary goodies, bounced on them some more, lubed up the zippers, and with the help of all their friends, somehow managed to inch it shut. When the airport personnel open up some of these bags for inspection, the contents shoot out like a jack-in-the-box! The airline workers want nothing to do with re-packing these bags, so most of the time they quickly let them pass without hardship.
And what in the world do they put in them? It is like Snoopy's doghouse inside some of these bags, or Oscar the Grouch's trash can... every possible thing known to man is inside them. Sure, they have their typical girlie goodies, such as clothes, makeup, snacks, stuffed animals, toiletries, curling irons, blow dryers, chis (didn't know what that was until traveling with them), tons of shoes, credit cards, and every magazine containing Brad Pitt's picture. But who knew you could bring an ironing board, two vanity mirrors (because you never know when you might need an extra), a shoe rack, a small salon, a dishwasher, and a pet chihuahua in a pink outfit, along with you on the plane?
I often hear things, such as, "Does anyone have a microwave with them?" coupled with the answer, "No, I couldn't fit it in my bag, but I do have an easy-bake oven. Will that work?"
One girl has a "carry-on" the size of an asteroid. I really think I could put Mini STUFF inside the bag. She literally has been stopped every time we walk onto a plane. But then after batting her eyelashes and playing the Jessica Simpson card, somehow she always manages to get it on board the aircraft. And beyond that, she even gets some unsuspecting onlooker to help her empty some of its overloaded contents and squeeeeeze it into an overhead compartment.
And do you know who has to load all these bags onto the trucks and busses when we travel? I'll give you one hint. It's not them.
So as we continue on this amazing journey, though I'm not asking for a sympathy card or a poem to be written for me, I want everyone to realize that we are working out here in Japan. And it is worth it! We are giving back a small piece of ourselves for those soldiers who sacrifice it all for us, lest we forget. They are doing amazing things overseas for us, not only in Iraq and Afghanistan, but even over here in Japan and Okinawa and all over the world. So keep all of them and us in your thoughts and prayers as we continue on today.
Oh wow, the sun is up, the birds are chirping, and it is now 6:44 AM and the soldiers are starting physical training. I'll put in another update as soon as I get a chance. But as for now, I'd better go... I think I have another plane to catch!
Posted by Stuff, Saturday, November 24, 2007, 8:45PM
You want to hear some RIDICULOUS stuff? Well, while reading this blog, you are going to get plenty of it! Read on for the road to ridiculousness…
The United States government spends over $16,000 per second, twenty-four hours a day.
The Orlando Magic started the season off with a 7-0 road win streak, leading the entire NBA! That is crazy. It is our best 12-game start and our best road streak – ever! That’s nineteen years of basketball and our best start yet? Yes… ridiculous.
There is a street in Italy that is less than 1.5 feet wide.
At the time of writing this, the Orlando Magic is leading our division by a large margin. Not to speak too soon, but this is insanely exciting! In fact, we are second in the entire league in winning percentage, only to be topped by the Boston Celtics… who we have already beaten! Can we keep it up??? I don’t know. We’ll see.
Three out of every 100 photos taken in America are snapped at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, or EPCOT Center.
Dwight Howard is tied for second in the league for rebounds and fourth in field goal percentage. He also leads the league in double-doubles this season. To add to the madness, Keyon Dooling is third in the league in free throw percentage. D12 is having a decent start at shooting free throws himself this year! In fact, won a game for us earlier this season with his foul line shots!
Arnold Schwarzenegger was paid $21,500.00 for every word he spoke in Terminator II.
Bo Outlaw has just been waived. Bo has been one of my best buddies since his first time with the Magic. I know everyone will miss his passion, his personality, his work ethic, his energy, and his smile. He will always be one of the few men I picture when I think of the Magic!
The owners of Cracker Jacks have given away 15 billion prizes!
We have four of our Magic players on this year’s NBA All-Star ballot – Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis, Jameer Nelson, and Hedo Turkoglu. Although it is unlikely that all four will make the roster, it is impossible without utilizing your votes. You can (and should) vote daily for your favorite NBA players (those listed above). I will be there as well this year, so you can expect to add one more to that “all-star” status. Hey now… I’m an all-star… yes, I know… ridiculous!
The tune of The Star Spangled Banner was an old English drinking song. It was not made the official national anthem until 1931.
The Magic Dancers and I will embark on a twelve-day journey, starting on Sunday, November 25. We will travel to Japan and Korea to entertain our troops and their families, who unfortunately are not able to be home for the holidays. This will be my fourth military tour with Armed Forces Entertainment and my nineteenth country to visit since the Magic’s conception!
Although I’m definitely not mad to be traveling with twelve of the most beautiful girls in Orlando, I will certainly miss my precious things back home and look forward to returning to that which I love so dearly. I want to get busy with this ridiculous season that we have begun!!
Please follow my blog throughout the next twelve days as we visit the other side of the globe. I will definitely give you a candid dragon’s-eye-view of our journey. You won’t get all the dirt, but I will do my best to keep you entertained. Until then, pray for us and our troops!
Happy Thanksgiving Magic World! Be Bold. Be Blue. Be Thankful.
Posted by Stuff, Friday, November 2, 2007, 10:22AM
Boo! But Not Boo Hoo!!
Wake up everybody… it’s time to party!!!
It looks like the pre-season trip to China was a huge success and worth all the hard work. And let me tell you, it was a phenomenal trip, thanks to the Magic and the NBA! Basketball is a rapidly-growing phenomenon in China, now the second most popular sport in the country. Can you say, “Thank you, Yao Ming?” The Magic worked over all the competition – both the China All-Stars, and the Cleveland Cavaliers twice. Good start to a great season!
The Chinese fans were also the most responsive and excited crowd I have encountered in a long time. They loved the game (who wouldn’t?), they loved the dancers (who doesn’t?), they loved it all (why not?)! They highly embrace any American entertainment, and seeing that the dragon is their most respected symbol, guess who was a star? Yep, all eyes on me! With one beat of the drum, the entire audience joined in with claps. One time, I stood behind the basket during a Cavaliers free throw and lifted my shirt to distract him… the entire arena erupted in laughter. I thought they must have had a “LAUGH” sign prompting them. What a crazy feeling. I want more of that at Amway Arena!
Which leads me to the main topic…
How exciting was Opening Night?!? If you weren’t there, you missed out on some great entertainment. There was an awesome Thriller opening, complete with zombie dancers and Michael Jackson (this just in… it wasn’t really MJ). Our head honcho, Bob Vander Weide even got in on the action, dressed in full vampire makeup and reciting the lyrics to Thriller on MagicVision during the opening. The world-renowned BCC drum line beat the tar out of their bass drums and snares. The Blue Man Group made a huge mess but also gave a “unique” performance at halftime. The Dunking Dancers soared through the sky once again with an amazing show of grace and power. And then there was me… enough said.
Combining Opening Night with a Halloween theme was super fun. Not only were people all dressed up throughout the crowd, but I also got to display a few of my outfits throughout the night. I started with a bubbly pumpkin, changed into the Grim STUFFer, and finished by doing my dunk show in a Blue STUFF mask and garb. Not to mention, my Dragon Keepers looked pretty fabulous in their cat outfit, banana, and whoopee cushion.
Most importantly, the Magic did not trick anyone as they treated us with a ton of surprises! Thank you Rashard for earning that cash – led the boys with 26 points. But he still shared the ball enough to let Hedo get 24 points. Dwight not only did his normal double-double thing, but also let us be part of his block party – 16 points, 12 rebounds, 7 blocks – and hit 80% of his free throws! Magic entered three-point city – 36 points from behind the circle! Jameer signed a contract extension for five more years. The greatest story of all… a huge win by almost twenty points against a pretty decent and healthy team!!
It’s going to be a really exciting season! I don’t remember being this amped for a season in a long time. I’m expecting huge treats from this team and you can expect huge tricks from me. Buckle your seat belts, Magic fans… we’re going for a joy ride! Hope you don’t mind if we stop and pick up some rings when we reach our destination.
Posted by Stuff, Monday, October 8, 2007, 9:37AM
Welcome To mySpace…
“The Time Is Upon Us”... no, too cliché.
“It’s About Time”… nope, not that either.
“What Time Is It”… doesn’t exactly work here.
“The Time Is Now”… yes, that’s it! That is my new slogan for this season! What? It’s already taken? By who? Of course, the Orlando Magic have already claimed the perfect tagline.
Maybe I will use something else, such as “Be Bold” or perhaps “Be Blue.” No way!! They have taken both of those too?!? No fair.
Oh well, I guess stuff happens… Wait, that’s perfect. I’m a dragon genius!!! “STUFF Happens”… my personal catchphrase. And a sweet one, I might add.
Now that the hard work is done, let’s move on to some summer news in the land of the dragon:
Needless to say, I have been incredibly busy this summer. It has been so worth it though. I have seen a bit more of my world, own my own website domain now, have my own “space” now, have a new arena home on the way… what an exciting year it has been, and what a season it is going to be!! I can’t wait to see all of you at upcoming games. Preseason starts October 8th; regular season starts October 31st; I started a long, long time ago.
But the time is now, folks. Be bold. Be blue… or green!!!
Posted by Stuff, June 27, 12:08PM
Let’s Get Ready To Stumblllleeee…
Well, the season is complete, and though it did not end exactly like we desired, I must remind everyone that we were once at a point where we were just hoping that we would even make the playoffs. Well, we did that. And though I do not want to rest in my laurels (primarily because I do not know what a laurel is and probably do not own any), I also want to remind everyone that our future looks even brighter than before. With key components in place on the court, Otis Smith running the helm, and Coach Van Gundy taking control of the court, I assure you that we have very little to worry about regarding our upcoming season. For now, however, it is summertime – the time I use most just to chill and to heal.
People do some crazy things when the sun beats its brightest in Central Florida! I think, perhaps, because the heat and humidity begin to affect our brains. For instance, some people use the summer to lie and bake on the beach, directly beneath the open rays, hoping not to peel later like an orange or shrivel up like a stick of beef jerky. Others think it is a good idea to hop in a car and drive across the country in a sardine can on wheels, when it seems so much more practical just to hop on an airplane and get there in a fraction of the time. I’ve even heard of some choosing the summer to propose to a lady, as if the feel of the fresh breeze and the scent of fresh flowers are going to aid them in solidifying the ever-so-frightening “yes.” (Apparently it is working for many!)
Similar to some of these dangerous challenges, I use the summer to partake in some crazy elements myself – not nearly as dangerous as those listed above, but more of what I like to call “fun.”
Have you ever seen a dragonfly? Sure, some have seen the four-winged bug hovering around the water. But have you ever seen a dragon fly? If you check out this video, you can. Just a couple weeks ago, I gathered my Dragon Keepers together and took them over to the Space Coast and jumped my hefty tail out of a perfectly good airplane from 15,000 feet in the air – all to prove a point! After being challenged by the NBA league office to come up with a publicity stunt to promote the NBA Finals on ABC, I wanted to show everyone that these pink wings are more than just flimsy decorations. Since I am writing this blog today, I guess I was right… thank God! Watch for the video to play at the Amway Arena early this upcoming season.
You want more crazy? How about thirty mascots getting together to compete in the ultimate battle of mascot mania – all for a worthy cause? That is exactly what occurs each and every summer right here in Orlando at the Celebrity Mascot Games! Founded and initiated by me fifteen years ago, what used to be a small event has turned into an extraordinary showcase of talent, brotherhood, and extreme fun. Themed up once again with our friends at Pirates Dinner Theatre, it is certain to be an exciting and family-friendly week, going on from June 28-30. Proceeds will go to “New Hope For Kids”, a not-for-profit charity that works with families who have members with special needs, or who have lost a member due to illness. For tickets or to bid on our huge array of sports memorabilia, check out www.orlandosports.org.
While my summer is not all work and no play, you can be sure that I will be out all throughout Central Florida, loving on people and promoting love for the Orlando Magic. Maybe I can help out on your special day. It doesn’t matter if you have a birthday for four kids or a huge convention for 40,000 people! If I can be used to enhance it in any way, please give my trainer a call at 407-916-2671. I guarantee I can make it one to remember for a lifetime!!
Look for another blog soon, as I will be relating my experiences from the Mascot Games, as well as my trip to Puerto Rico with the Dunking Dancers in early July for NBA Madness. In the meantime, please join me and my buddies at the Mascot Games. If you wear your STUFF shirts and hold up your STUFF posters, send me some pictures doing so. I will display my favorites online.
Dragon my heels, but gotta fly…
Posted by Stuff, Tuesday, April 17, 2007 - 4:24PM
A Magic Fan, A Magical Friend
Typically in this blog, I write about a whimsical (hopefully funny) topic that makes people smile. Today, based on some recent happenings, I am writing on a far more serious subject, but that will hopefully still make someone smile. Read on, knowing full well that the end result is one of encouragement and love.
Just a few days ago, one of my very good friends and a fellow Magic employee, lost his mother to a difficult and disabling disease. Matt Keller has been a close friend of mine for the last few years, as he first started with the company as an intern, but has since moved up in the world, sometimes even getting to fill the role of Dragon Keeper. He called me immediately after his mom passed, and I could quickly tell that this was not the typical mourning of a person’s death, but more the celebration of one woman’s life.
In the short period that I knew Amy Keller, I knew I had met a very special person – one who left legacies in her wake, not the least of which was her tremendous sense of humor. I visited her at her home numerous times and once during her recent visit to the hospital. Despite her crippling condition, she was never seen without a smile on her face. Not one could miss her jokes and laughter as they radiated throughout the room. This was noted time and time again by those who gave eulogies at her funeral. There was laughter at the funeral, far more than there was crying.
She was also a huge Magic fan, dating back to the original season, which she quickly passed on to her children. She was elated when her son got an internship with her favorite team. Even more impressive to me, however, was that she was a huge fan of mine! She may have been my biggest fan. I say this because most of my fans are little children. She had every STUFF doll, a life-size STUFF cutout, STUFF news clippings, and even things that I don’t have myself. When I visited her in the hospital, her room was lined with my autograph cards! A certain sign that youthfulness is all in the mind.
Another legacy that Mrs. Keller will be remembered for is her undying passion as an educator. For nearly 30 years, she was an innovator and a motivator in teaching kids to read and for trying new innovative techniques in education. Many can thank her for their craving for knowledge. And for that reason alone, I plan on dedicating my first children’s book to her memory, which should be available next season.
There is a special fund that has been set up that will go toward support of the “Amy Keller Book Corner” that is being created at A Gift for Teaching. If you would like to contribute, you can do so by sending a check to: A Gift For Teaching, 6501 Magic Way Building 400-C, Orlando, FL 32809.
On a similar note, one which you may have heard in the news recently, the mascot community also has lost one of its own. The right-hand man, the heart and soul of the University of North Carolina’s mascot, Ramses, was killed in a tragic car accident while at the NCAA college tournament. Jason Ray’s life was entirely too short, but much like Mrs. Keller, he left behind a legacy, as stated in these words by his brother: “He leaves behind a legacy of friendship, laughter, excitement for life and a genuine love for all the people he touched during his all-too-short life."
I hope we can all do the same.
If you would like to contribute to Jason Ray’s Memorial Fund, please send it to: Ray of Light,
Jason Kendall Ray Memorial Fund, Concord Christian Church, 3101 Davidson Highway, Concord, NC 28027
So what is the point of this blog, you may ask? It will only remain on briefly, but no doubt I want to pay respects and homage to two people who have recently impacted my life in a big way. But also, I would like to encourage each of you to hug the ones you love, give a smile to those you don’t, treat each breath with thanksgiving, celebrate life, dwell in possibility, and strive to leave a legacy that will stretch beyond your brief years on this planet.
Just like Amy Keller and Jason Ray.
Dragon my heels, but gotta fly…
Posted by Stuff, Friday, March 30, 2007 - 4:40PM
It is no secret that I love to party. In fact, I probably attend more parties than Paris Hilton! However, the parties that I attend I am typically THE entertainment, not just a circus sideshow causing a scene.
Sometimes it is a child’s school party, sometimes an office party, and sometimes even a pet’s birthday party. (Yes… it has happened!) But I am ALWAYS ready for a good time. In fact, I am going to visit a kid this weekend, where I will surprise him with some pretty sweet gifts, as well as the memory of a lifetime.
If you want to know more about my birthday party opportunities, please check out my website – STUFF’s Lair. You will find all about it and a whole lot more.
Lately, I have also been the guest at many of my buddies’ parties. When I say “buddies,” I am referring to the mascots of several other professional sports teams. Even we freakish fuzz balls celebrate birthdays – just so we can have a reason to party! This year I have accepted the invitation and traveled to the homes of ten honorees, and boy, are my wings tired?
My picks included Jackson Deville from the Jacksonville Jaguars, Benny from the Chicago Bulls, Blaze from the Portland TrailBlazers, Squatch from the Seattle Supersonics, Grizz from the Memphis Grizzlies, Clutch from the Houston Rockets, Sly from the New Jersey Nets, Boomer and Bowser from the Indiana Pacers, Bango from the Milwaukee Bucks, and Raymond from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
I wasn’t expecting to travel to so many parties, but I just love meeting people (and eating cake). You never know who you are going to meet in other cities. People with funny accents, people with weird stories, people with funny jobs.
In one city, I met a little girl who I think had an eye on me after I was trying to help her learn how to tumble properly on the basketball court. I thought she had a crush me, until I realized she wasn’t falling for me… she had actually just messed up her flip and fell to the floor. Can’t blame a dragon for trying though!
Thanks to my peeps here in Orlando who helped take up the slack every time I was away. (That’s you, Matt, Karly, Andrew, Kate, and Christie. I am sure you missed me while I was away, right?)
Similar to the mascot birthday parties which I attended, I hosted my own eighteenth birthday this year as well. Among the attendees were my good friends Benny, Clutch, Raymond, the Raptor from the Toronto Raptors, and Rocky from the Denver Nuggets. We gave away a special illustrated, commemorative poster to the first 2,500 fans who arrived to the arena, drawn by my official artist, Phil Jones.
We also gave out a super slick STUFF coin bank to the first 5,000 kids, and it looked just like me! Only a lot smaller and with a slot in the back of its head. Ouch! Oh yeah, and my birthday cake this year was so cool… five feet long and made of hundreds of individual cupcakes! So cool and sooooo yummy!!
The game at which we celebrate my birthday is one of the most exciting games of the year with lots of mascot mayhem taking place throughout the evening. This year, we showed off some spectacular dunking, some inflatable dancing, and most importantly, a radical halftime performance of “Roller Derby Musical Chairs.”
Needless to say, it was a bit insane and we came away with more than a few bruises. But as we say in the business, “If the fur ain’t flying, you ain’t trying!”
GOOD NEWS THOUGH!!! If you missed my birthday party this year, I am having one more opportunity for you to see some fabulous furry fun on April 1. Seeing that it is my favorite holiday – April Fool’s Day – and it is Kids Day at the Amway Arena, I have decided to bring in some more of my fuzzy friends to celebrate.
I am calling it Animal House: STUFF’s Fur-ternity Party, and it is the first of its kind! You can see Sly, Grizz, ThunderBug from the Tampa Bay Lightning, Captain Fear from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, G-Wiz from the Washington Wizards, and Rufus from the Charlotte Bobcats. Halftime for that game will feature a Slam Dunk Skills Competition, pitting me and my buddies against the Orlando Magic Dunking Dancers. Some of these critters can really get some air, but I trained the dancers myself, and I know it will be hard to show them up.
It will definitely be another night to remember and definitely one you don’t want to miss as the mascots fight for attention and the Magic fight for a playoff spot.
Well, party on, my faithful followers and Magic supporters. And bring your party to a Magic game and all the noise that comes with it. My boys need all the raucous we can muster in this final run. And if you don’t have your party at a game, think about having me out to yours. I promise not to leave footprints in the Jell-o!
Dragon My Heels, But Gotta Fly…
Posted by Stuff, Friday, March 9, 2007 - 3:49PM
No, seriously, where did yesterday go? I say this because, as many of you know from reading the paper or from attending the March 5th game, I had a little accident. It occurred during a skit where I went head on against Bango, the mascot for the Milwaukee Bucks, who was flying across the court on a sled going over twenty miles per hour.
An accident where his knees hit me in the head, and resulted in me leaving the game with a concussion, as well as a slightly messed-up shoulder. Up until this point, memories of the evening are still somewhat hazy, which is probably a good thing. I do not suggest or encourage a similar feat, but it sure makes good conversation. Thank God I don’t get paid for being smart!
Hasn’t this season flown by though? It seems like just the other day when I was handing out turkeys for Thanksgiving, I was watching for reindeer to fly through the Christmas sky, and I was hoping I would find love over Valentine’s Day.
Speaking of which, I want to mention my “Valentine STUFF-Its,” where I went around Orlando delivering beautiful flowers, yummy candy, and adorable dolls of myself to unsuspecting people in honor of their loved ones.
The first girl I visited, whose name was Jaycelle, was so surprised that she broke into tears when she opened the door and didn’t stop until I left and closed it behind me. (See photo.) I thought I must have killed her cat by the way she screamed and cried, but apparently she was just genuinely surprised and extremely excited!
And viva Las Vegas, by the way!! Strange that the NBA All-Star Game is almost three weeks gone, but which seems like it was yesterday. I was there, taking in Cirque du Soleil with Christina Aguilera, strolling the famous strip alongside Nelly, rolling dice with Jay-Z… and oh, almost forgot, cheering on my boy, Dwight Howard!
That was the only reason I was there actually, and I know you agree that D12H got robbed of the Slam Dunk title!! No one else can jump twelve feet and six inches and dunk a basketball on the way down. If I fall from that high, I need a parachute. AND… he had better dunks still to come, whereas the other fellas did their best stuff first and delivered us junk during the final round! Oh, my green face is turning red… I better move on. But watch for me to re-create that dunk in the games to come…
Where does the time go? I went to the Bahamas the same day I returned from Las Vegas. Don’t think it was all sand and sunshine though. It was official business for the Orlando Magic and I worked my big furry tail off while I was there. I know you are feeling sorry for me right now, but to make things harder, I had to go with a Magic Dancer!
We had a great time, playing on the beach, going down insane water slides, and finalizing it all by doing my favorite… swimming with dolphins! And yes, I got very wet!! We are hosting Bahamas Night at the game on March 23 versus the New Jersey Nets. You can check out our video diary that night during the game!
As the time continues to streak by, so does my writing space. I have so much else to share with you guys –namely my 18th birthday party!! I will leave that for my next blog though, so check back in the next week or two. It’s time to go grab some Vitter Sport chocolate bars and get back to work. Talk soon!
Dragon my heels, but gotta fly…
Posted by Stuff, Monday, November 6, 2006 - 11:21AM
So now that summer has ended and the season has officially started, I have come out of my seemingly endless hibernation and… yeah right, I did not stop working for even a day during this past off season. Not that I’m complaining though because I have been amped about what the Magic are about to achieve this season. A longer season means a shorter off-season, and I am quite okay with that. I have been preparing for the best, and since Dwight Howard guaranteed it, I am committed to following the team all the way to the NBA Finals!
Speaking of committed, have you ever felt like you thought on a different plane than everyone else. That perhaps you needed to be “committed” to an institution? Anyone? Anyone at all? No? Oh, me neither. Just checking. However, I have been pondering some pretty deep ideas lately and I think some of them are worth sharing. You can catch many of these thoughts showing up on the MagicVision during games this year – this is what I like to call “Deep Stuff.” Enjoy!
· You know something I realized when I went to China this summer? I really like rice. Rice is great when you are hungry and you want 2000 of something.
· Before you criticize a man, you must walk a mile in the man’s shoes. If he is still bothered by what you say, it is okay because you will be a mile away, and you will also have his shoes. Though his shoes probably won’t fit my enormous feet.
· People always say that whenever I am around, others should “expect the unexpected”. But if you expect the unexpected, wouldn’t the unexpected by expected?
· I went to have some new signs made yesterday, but I was told that all the sign makers were on strike. When sign makers go on strike, do they have anything written on their signs?
· Last time I hurt my knee, I was instructed to go see our head team doctor whose practice deals in arthroscopic surgery. Don’t you find it a bit unnerving that doctors call what they do practice?
· I figure most of you view me kind of like a Slinkie… not really good for anything, but you still can’t help but to smile when you see me tumble down the stairs.
· I heard Coach Hill telling the players one day to dig down deep to that warrior inside of them. Well, if there is a warrior inside of me, I hope he likes hot dogs because that is what he is getting.
That is it for now. If you have some deep stuff you would like to send my way, please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe you will even see your quote show up on the big screen at an Orlando Magic game. Until next time, keep showing up to our home games – it makes my job a lot more fun – and stay committed! (But don’t get committed.)
Dragon My Heels, But Gotta Fly…
Posted by Stuff, Monday, October 2, 2006 - 10:40AM
I'm Their Leader, Which Way Did They Go?
Some say leaders are born; others say they are made. I think I might have just been in the right place at the wrong time to get the vote. You see, every year, there is a meeting of masterminds that takes place that almost no one knows about. It is a time when genius and lunacy collides. It is an event like no other. It is the NBA Mascot Conference.
This grand pow-wow of freaks and furballs is held every year as a method for me and my counterparts to gather together and share ideas of business and performance. Typically, it has been held in the same cities for the past several years, but this time we held a vote. Guess who the lucky winner was… your favorite fat friend…me!
It was harder than Bo Outlaw’s ab muscles to plan this wacky week. But when all was said and done, we had the most productive week in our history of meetings. And of course, we had a fun time doing it. Just picture thirty something of me all sitting in the same room for hours upon hours a day. Hard to picture in your head – yeah, exactly!! And now with the season right around the corner, get ready for new crazy skits, stupid stunts, and outrageous improv. I dwell in the possibilities.
Oh yeah, and speaking of swimsuits…
(I know I was neither speaking nor was I writing about swimsuits, but I had to segue into this section somehow…)
…this past weekend, a certain group of twenty pretty ladies got together for their annual photo shoot. I was forced to attend as well. Try not to picture me in a Speedo, even though there is no hiding my sweet curvaceous body. (I actually wear a two-piece. Just kidding!) Nevertheless, I took a few pictures myself while I was there, and I figured my fans would like to get a sneak peek. Enjoy!
I think it is time for me to get back to doing what I do best – eating hot dogs and making memories. The Magic season is right around the corner. I will see you all very soon. Please get your tickets now – you DON’T want to miss any games this year.
Thanks for everything!
Dragon My Heels, But Gotta Fly…
Posted by Stuff, Friday, August 25, 2006 - 2:18PM
Where in the World?
Call me a globetrotter, call me a gypsy, call me a nomad – as long as you call me. Have you ever heard of living out of a suitcase? Well, it has already been a very busy summer of traveling, and for a dragon that does not know how to pack lightly, I expect that my arms have grown immensely from carrying so much luggage so far. Here is a brief synopsis of the highlights of my summer:
The day after the season ended, I and two Magic Dancers toured mainland China for two weeks, dunking, dancing, and doing shows for a Chinese sports marketing company that had just signed NBA Legend, Clyde “The Glide” Drexler, as its spokesperson. During that trip, we also collaborated with the Houston Rockets, Clutch, as well as the Rockets dance team and an acro-dunking team from the Golden State Warriors. Talk about an all-star cast! What more could an NBA fan ask for?
Two weeks later, I packed my bags again to join the Magic Dancers on our 3rd Armed Forces Entertainment tour, during which we visited various military bases to entertain our troops overseas. This trip lasted another two weeks as we visited Norway, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. While there, we brushed shoulders with country music writer, Thom Shepherd and his band, as well as Choppers, Inc. star and motorcycle builder, Billy Lane. Nothing can top the value of giving back just a little piece of home to the soldiers who are putting their lives on the line for our freedom.
No rest for the weary though, because three weeks following that trip, we boarded the plane again for another trip to the Far East. Luckily, we were able to wash our clothes before we departed for this two-week voyage. The NBA office in Asia recruited us this time to perform at various Junior NBA events in China, a USA Basketball game versus Yao Ming’s Chinese team, and then a Chinese celebrity basketball event in Hong Kong. Not only did we work alongside numerous NBA Legends and local superstars, but I met up with our very own Dwight Howard on several occasions while there!!
We had barely touched ground back in the US before I made my much shorter (but equally important) journey to Philadelphia for the Mascot Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Although I wasn’t nominated for this year’s ballot, it was definitely entertaining to hang out with so many of my furry friends and legitimize the field that we have given our lives to. This year’s well-deserving inductees included the aforementioned mascot, Clutch, from the Houston Rockets, the Bear from the Utah Jazz, and K.C. Wolf from the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs. Hopefully it won’t be long until you see STUFF alongside these legendary greats!
My traveling is far from over, but with the season rapidly approaching, there are many big things still on my plate. After being home for a couple weeks, I will head out to Salt Lake City, Utah, to film several videos with six of my NBA counterparts. These will be the videos that will be shown at various Orlando Magic home games this season. Hopefully you will be there to watch and laugh at some of the dumb things we will be shooting. It oftentimes takes about half a day to film a video that takes about two minutes to play. Please at least try to fake a laugh for me if you see one played at a game.
Be on the lookout for more writings from me coming at you very soon in my blog, “Stuff Happens!” I want to tell you some of the more interesting things that happened on some of these trips – definitely things that you will want to hear and things some people don’t want you to hear!!
Thanks for tuning in, and as always – Dwell In Possibility.
Dragon My Heels, But Gotta Fly…
Posted by Stuff, Tuesday, July 18, 2006 - 5:18PM
Mascot Hall of Fumes
On this day, I proudly salute the Class of 2006 Hall of Fame nominees: Dominique Wilkins, Charles Barkley, Joe Dumars, Jazz Bear, K.C. Wolf, Slider… what?!?!?
The last three nominees obviously were not part of the Basketball Hall of Fame, not the Football Hall of Fame, or even the Bowling Hall of Fame, but rather the Mascot Hall of Fame!
This is not a joke. Check out our site: www.mascothalloffame.com. I know that some readers will look at this and marvel that my fantasy fraternity of fur actually pays tribute to fools who jump around like monkeys and fall on their face for a chuckle, but make no bones about it – we’re serious about having fun!
The Mascot Hall of Fame was created just last year, with our first honorees being inducted in August at LOVE Park in Philadelphia. They were the Phillie Phanatic from the Philadelphia Phillies, the San Diego Chicken, originally from the San Diego Padres, and the Gorilla from the Phoenix Suns. Each of my big-eyed buddies was inducted for his long-time contribution and dedication he has provided to the trade that puts food in our gargantuan bellies. Many laughs, oohs and aahs, and injuries later, we are quite proud of the legitimacy that our own Hall is providing.
When I talk about mascots, I am talking about real professional sports mascots. This does not include Mickey Mouse, Ronald McDonald, Porky Pig, and Big Bird. Believe me, I love what each of these does for his trade, but that does not make any of them a mascot. As a matter of fact, each of the aforementioned characters has provided ideas for mascots such as me, as well as for many others. But mascots do not just shake hands, wave to fans, and pat kids on the head. We break ourselves for our fans. Hopefully you have played witness to this spectacle.
Some mascots have been performing our craft for a long, long time. Longer than Robert Parrish, Cal Ripken, Jr., or even George Foreman. Take the Famous Chicken, for example. He began his journey in 1974 and is still going – and yes, the one and only Chicken, if you are wondering. Don’t let him know that I am mentioning him because his head is already way too big, but it simply goes to show you that what we do is more than just an act. It is a career. It is our passion. It is our lives. (And for a dragon, a life lasts a long, long time.)
I may be silent, but I hope you hear my plea. As I trip my big booty onto the scene in LOVE Park once again this August 15th paying homage to my honored peers by spraying silly string all over their freshly cleaned fur, I hope you will join me in seeing beyond the silliness. I hope you will also note the blood, sweat, and broken bones that we sacrifice to market the brands of our organizations, to build a home-court advantage for our team, to educate our youth, and to put smiles on people’s faces. It makes no difference, however, if you do not recognize it as well.
Dragon my heels, but gotta fly…
Posted by Stuff, Monday, May 15, 2006 - 10:30AM
Editor's Note: In addition to Stuff's first Blog, also check out what he had to say about his recent trip to China with a pair of the Magic Dancers.
To be quite honest, I don't even know what a blog is. It sounds like something that I pick from my nose. Or some type of funky-smelling mushroom. Perhaps one of the sounds that pops on the screen when Batman hits the Penguin, like "Whack" or "Ka-blam" or "Blog!" Nevertheless, this is mine...my blog.
While I have you so completely enthralled, let me ask you to help a dragon out. I am collecting ideas for the craziest, mind-blowing, David Blaine-type stunt that I can perform within the next few weeks to draw attention to the NBA Finals on ABC. It is a stunt competition between all mascots in the NBA that began a couple years ago, and which I have been robbed of during both.
Two years ago, I wrestled a live 9-foot alligator at Gatorland; and last year, I rode the 300-foot Giant Slingshot on International Drive thirty times in a row in a thunderstorm! I got beat by a mascot that sat on a billboard for twenty minutes, and a mascot that rode a ferris wheel for an entire day, respectively. Give me a break!!
They (again, whoever “they” is) are looking for the greatest media and publicity attention, not necessarily the most outrageous stunt. It should be one and the same, in my opinion. Anyway, send your ideas to me…quickly! If yours gets chosen, you can bet you will be rewarded handsomely. Contact the Dragon Keeper at email@example.com. Thanks for your help and see you when I pick my next blog!
Dragon my heels, but gotta fly…