My Most Embarrassing Moment
by Jim Harris
In 1980, I was the Philadelphia 76ers then-mascot, "Big
Shot". My bosses told me to roam about and be funny, but
"NEVER go into the stands". Of course, I immediately
began going into the stands, even unto the third-tier, cheapo,
nose-bleed seats. Did I mention that I usually warmed up before
a game with a half-pint of gin? I found that it calmed the butterflies.
Actually, it vaporized the butterflies. Anyway, on one such jaunt
into the boondocks, I encountered some rather belligerent teenagers
who were obviously not given enough love in their wonder years.
One of them sized me up, saw that I was talking though a mesh
patch in the costume's neck, then hauled off and punched me in
my real, actual mouth, splitting both my upper and lower lips.
I became suddenly filled with an intense desire to kill this young
man, and severely maim his friends. I chased them up the aisle
and out into the concession stand area. They were fast, and I
was carrying a fifty pound rug on my back, but I occasionally
got close enough to kick one of them. This was of little consolation,
however, as my shoes were enormous, foam rubber affairs that bounced
harmlessly off of the scurrying perpetrators. Every now and then,
I was aware of childish bystanders' voices saying "Look.
mommy, it's Big Shot". I hope this incident did not scar
any of them permanently.
Finally, I tackled one of the bad boys and fell on him with a
with a loud "ooomph". His friends then piled on top
of me, tearing at my fur. I was beginning to lose consciousness.
It was at this precise moment that I heard the "time out"
buzzer sound. It was the fourth quarter of a game with the Celtics.
These are the big-money moments that mascots live for. I arose
like the Phoenix, brushed off my pint-sized tormentors like so
many flies, and looked for the shortest route to the court.
Seeing double, gasping for air, I ran through the broadcast booth,
down the fire escape steps, and through the catered VIP buffet
room, all the while hearing muffled shouts and shrieks all around
me. I kept muttering, "Make way dammit, I'm Big Shot.. .
. Make a hole! . . Comin' through!"
I burst onto the floor to the loudest , most raucous greeting
I had ever heard. My music started and I danced. I danced like
I had never danced before. Possessed, I was, and I was giving
those fans the performance of a lifetime. I could feel their energy
and I was feeding off it.
Afterwards,as I stumbled down the tunnel, I slowly began to be
able to distinguish individual words from the cacophony. Suddenly,
the vice-president of operations himself was standing in front
of me, red faced and bellowing, "You idiot, what the hell
were you doing out there like that? Your suit was half off".
Turns out the Bowery Boys had unzipped the whole back of my suit
in the tussle, and I danced with my best Homer Simpson underwear
exposed to twenty six thousand people. A few weeks later I was
Nothing bothers me anymore.