Yes, that’s a dog watching from the baseline of last night’s Chester High basketball game. This pup has attended a few games this year, but last night was his coronation of mascot acceptance by the student body (more on that later.)
The founding fathers of Chester High must have been drunk when they came up with a Clipper ship as the school mascot. How can a sailboat be a mascot? I’ve yet to see sailboat costume that would be convincing and comfortable for a human to wear.
So, for as long as I can remember, Chester has been virtually mascot-less because of the sins of our forefathers.
We do call our home court the Clip-Joint, but if you weren’t familiar with our Clipper ship connection, I’m sure you confused our gym nickname with a neighborhood barbershop.
For about the last 10 years, Tom Wilmore has served as the unofficial school sports hype man as he outfits himself as Tom-Tom and delights the crowd with his hilarious antics, dance moves, and cheers at the Chester High basketball and football games. Through the years, he’s brought along several different assistants to co-star in his act, but the ceramic puppy is fast becoming the fan favorite. I guess you can call The Pup a service animal.
There was some concern during a game last week when it was 12 degrees outside. Tom-Tom whispered in my ear that he almost had to leave the dog home because it has a tendency to get brittle in the cold and he didn’t want to risk breaking him during a playoff game. Imagine the damage that would have on a little kid who witnessed that?
During the halftime show, Tom-Tom and Pup performed for the crowd as the Chester cheerleaders did their best imitation of the Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover.
Before there was a Clip-Joint, Chester High basketball was played at the Vocational Building, aka The Voc. Getting a ticket to a home game was as difficult as winning the Powerball as students bought all the game tickets as soon as they went on sale in the school and became an early version of StubHub by selling tickets to lucky fans who wanted to see a game.
Last night at the Clip-Joint was the closest we’ve come to the atmosphere of The Voc in a very long time. We actually had a large, vocal, and funny student section last night that stood, danced, sang, and cheered throughout the entire game. Where has that school spirit been hiding?
Needless to say, Tom-Tom was in his element as he led the student section in cheers to all of our delight.
The most touching moment of the night was when the students officially ordained The Pup as the school mascot by raising him to the light for the entire crowd to see. I still tear up when I reminisce on the moment.
Shout outs to the Chester High student section. You guys were incredible !!!!
…and looking good, too.