A Mascot Memory

It's all fun and games in the regular season.
Tim Derk spent 21 years as the Spurs' mascot - The Coyote - before retiring last year. In August, Derk was named Manager of Mascot Development for Spurs Sports & Entertainment and continues to speak about his unique story and experiences. Recently, Spurs.com asked Tim how things change from the regular season to the Finals...

To give you the best example of how it’s different mascoting the NBA Finals vs. a regular season game it’s easiest to compare appropriate comedy material.

For example, during the regular season I once dressed up as a Christmas Tree head to furry toe.

I announced that due to inclement travel weather that The Coyote wasn’t in attendance that night much to the chagrin of the fans. I then proceeded to really be there but enter disguised as an adorned Christmas tree and then I’d slyly sachet over to the opponents bench and pretend to jot down their play by scrawling on a makeshift clipboard I had. I would then give “the play” I jotted down covertly to our coach as my way of helping “spy” on the opposing team. Cute and cuddly fun.

In the finals, I had a character I called “Baron Von Yoteymeister” who was much more gruff. Fans are less interested in Barney and more interested in Terminator come playoff time and the emphasis is on team spirit.

Things get more intense in the playoffs.
I came out in Playoff Game #1 in a tux with a guitar case and music stand. I was a guest conductor.

As if I didn’t notice there were 6 HUGE letters behind me spelling out the opposing team name; these letters happen to be made of popcorn boxes fully loaded that day in my garage! In my guitar box I had a big red bat and I stripped the tux to reveal a caveman outfit and my more aggressive side.

I began directing an imaginary violin orchestra until I “noticed” the letters. The music changed to “The 1812 Overture” and I scaled the steps and blasted each huge letter in unison with the music. Fans cheered as the popcorn flew. The letters were crushed, comedy was secondary, and Spurs home spirit was at its height. Less cute more intense; and more appropriate.

I only wish that all my “Furternity” brothers (NBA mascots) could experience the fun that come with making it this far. Next year guys!

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