Senior revises league of Wallace

After two years of not having a school mascot, senior Levi Payton took on this role. Payton and the cheer team both try to hype up the student section and the band at home football games. Wallace the Wildcat is back. 

“My role as the mascot is to hype up the student section and also work with the cheer team,” Payton said. 

According to Payton, teacher Michael Spencer used to be the mascot. The Student Council used to be in charge of the mascot, but now the cheer team owns Wallace the Wildcat now. 

“I enjoyed doing it because since I’m in a costume and people don’t see me as Mr. Spencer, it’s like having an alter ego where I can act differently than I normally would,” Spencer said. 

For Spencer, the costume was very difficult to take on and off, especially without help, and there was no peripheral vision when looking out of the head of the suit. He wasn’t able to hear well either, so he had to pay extra close attention to listen to what people were saying. 

“If it wasn’t so blind and sweltering with the head on I would’ve wanted to do it more,” Spencer said. “I’d even try to be like one of those mascots that jumps off of trampolines to dunk basketballs.” 

According to Spencer, one of his best moments as the mascot was during the first day of school pep rally when he jumped through the circus hoop. His first time ever wearing the Wallace the Wildcat suit, was the HBHS vs. SHS game in 2017. 

“That’s when I charged the Bulldog mascot and tackled him,” Spencer said. 

Spencer never told any of his students at school that he was the mascot to keep his identity a mystery for the kids who are Wallace the Wildcat fans. 

“The cheer coach ended up becoming the mascot owner, and that’s how I found out from her and what to do because some of my friends were cheerleaders,” Payton said. 

Payton practices with the cheer team every day during fourth period and every Friday morning from 6:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. 

“To work with the team, it is a very positive team to work with and it’s something that I enjoy very much,” Payton said. 

In Payton’s junior year, he found out tryouts were going on for the school’s mascot. However, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and no one else decided to try out anymore, so the spot was given to Payton. There wasn’t a big process to the mascot tryout, so the cheer coach made Payton sign papers that explained his mascot responsibilities. 

“The coach just ended up giving it to me, right then and there,” Payton said. 

As the mascot, Payton has encountered some difficulties along the way. 

“Talking in the mascot is really hard to not project my voice while in there because it is hard to get a whole crowd moving without talking,” Payton said. 

Payton’s favorite dance to perform is C-A-T-S Gatos Gatos. He said that it gets the band going, plus the percussion gets to play as well, which involves everybody. 

“Anytime that cheer goes on, the cheerleaders and the silver stars also join in with it,” Payton said. ”That was one of my favorite things to do.” 

As the mascot, Payton has to learn all of the cheer and band dances for Friday night football games. 

“I respect the coach and she is a good coach,” Payton said. “The team is positive to work with, and it is something that I enjoy all of the time.”