Beyond the mascot

Joshua Berggren, MSUM Documentary/Photojournalism Major

FARGO, N.D. – When fans of the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks baseball team arrive at Newman Outdoor Field, most recognize the manager, coaches and players. All, however, recognize Hawkeye, the bright red hawk who is the team’s mascot.

Ironically, few know the actual man in the bird suit – his identity remains secret. That is, until now.

Living the student life

MSUM sophomore Aries Serrano is Hawkeye.

Aristides “Aries” Serrano, a 19-year-old mass communications and film studies major at Minnesota State University Moorhead, leads a quintessential college life, with more friends, classes, homework and extracurricular activities than the day has hours for. He is a resident assistant in Dahl Hall, contributes to the campus T.V. news and radio programs and is a member of Kappa Sigma – the only fraternity on campus.

As the 2012 spring semester came to a close, Serrano decided to find a part-time summer job.  What he found was unusual and unorthodox, but turned out to be the job he always wanted – becoming a team mascot.

 

Aries earns his feathers

Most jobs have a dress code: a uniform, suit and tie, or protective gear perhaps. But how do you land a job wearing a 6-foot-tall red bird suit complete with talons and wings? Sometimes, things are easier than they seem. Aries explains all in this question-and-answer session:

Q: How did you get the job being the Redhawks’ mascot?

A: I got an email from the MSUM student server list … and the Redhawks sent an email saying, ‘Do you want to be a mascot?’ And in the email they asked if I wanted to be Scorch (MSUM’s mascot) or Hawkeye, so I replied to the guy for the Redhawks.

Q: Why did you want to be the mascot?

A: I’ve always wanted to be a mascot ever since I was little because, looking at sport events, (the mascots) are the life of the sport, especially for little kids.

Every job has its ups, downs and those behind-the-scene quirks that you wait eagerly to share with friends at first chance. Being a mascot is no different, and the answers may surprise you.

Q: What’s your favorite part of the whole job?

A: When the camera’s on me and I’m on the big screen and I start dancing ridiculously. I do the Stanky Leg, the Bernie and some other ridiculous moves – I can’t say off the top of my head right now. The Macarena, that’s another good one. People usually get a good laugh out of that one.

Q: What’s the worst part about being Hawkeye?

A: Autographs, because sometimes you almost write your own name, but then you have to force yourself to write your character’s name. It’s like, ‘Oh, oops! Not the right name.’ One time I actually wrote my own name and then just scribbled it out and put, “Hawkeye” underneath.

Q: What is the most unusual aspect of being Hawkeye?

A: (The suit) is extremely hot! I have to wear a bandana just so the sweat doesn’t drip on my eyes … I remember specifically to bring a bandana each time.

Hawkeye dances with a girl during an evening game at NDSU’s Newman Outdoor Field.

Monopolizing the mascots

Besides performing as Hawkeye, Serrano has also performed as MSUM’s dragon, Scorch, as well as NDSU’s bison, Thundar.

Though Serrano doubts being a mascot will provide qualifications for future jobs, he believes it will show potential employers his strong communication skills and ability to work closely with others. After finishing his degree, Aries desires to return to his hometown of Kissimmee, Fla., to work as an anchor at a local news station.

To see the Redhawks’ season schedule, find game statistics or purchase tickets, visit their website here.

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