The identity of sports teams around the world pretty much revolves around their badges. The colours, the elements and the symbols help in bringing out the fundamental principles of a team, with the mascots helping in engaging fans far and wide. caught up with the official mascot of the recently concluded Nagpur leg of VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 5 and discussed how the job was important in the larger picture, and what challenges the mascots encountered day in, day out. Here are some excerpts.   

With so many star players in VIVO Pro Kabaddi, what kind of a role does a mascot play in the game?

I don’t think there is a comparison between the mascot’s input and the player’s input. A mascot comes in the picture when there is a dull moment in the match. During such times, I come forward and do some funny stuff to get the crowd cheering and going.

How do you help the home team stay encouraged at all times?

I can’t speak to the players before the match because they have to focus on the match. I interact more with fans because if fans are pumped up then they transfer that energy to the players by cheering them on. After the match, I go to the players and congratulate them on winning or motivate them if they have lost the match.

What age group is the easiest to interact with?

It’s the kids, definitely!

How do you feel to be so close to the match?

It really feels good to be so close because not everyone gets that chance.

What are the difficulties you face being a mascot?

There are some people who are really engaged in the match and don’t want any disturbances. So, if I come in they don’t like it. Secondly, I would say that different stadiums have different challenges. In Hyderabad, the audience was very close to the mat but in Nagpur, they sat very far. So, there is this distance factor. The costume is also a challenge because the head is very heavy and to move in that costume is quite difficult. So these are the big challenges.

What do you do when you feel exhausted?

I have to take a break after every 20 minutes because it’s really tiring. But sometimes, if I am pumped up then I take a break after the match. It’s exhausting. We are connected with walkies, so if we have any difficulty, the team guides us and gets things sorted.