MU
Oak Leaves

October 25, 2019


Manny basketball

Manny Creates Hype at Sporting Events, Promotes Manchester Spirit



Alex Baker

 

Manny the Spartan, MU’s ever-present mascot, does more than bring hype to all sporting events he attends; he promotes Manchester University in a positive way.

Dressed in his yellow-and-black Spartan uniform, with his giant yellow helmet, Manny is immediately recognizable, though his identity is concealed. Although Manny has a good time at events and leaves smiles on other people’s faces, his job is not necessarily easy.

Indeed, just wearing the Manny costume can be somewhat difficult. For instance, the helmet limits Manny’s sight. “He has no peripheral vision,” said Glenna Castillo, Success Center support specialist, and Manny’s scheduler. “Manny’s handler is there to help him not run into anything.” No matter the event he attends, a handler is always present to help Manny navigate, as he can never take his helmet off when he is in the public eye.

To keep him comfortable during hot afternoons, the helmet is equipped with a battery-operated fan inside of it. But it does not cool off Manny well enough, so his costume guidelines include a recommendation to wear a headband, which will help prevent sweat from dripping down. Further, Manny wears a vest under the jacket that contains icepacks. Whether the sporting event is inside or out, Manny remains hot inside the suit. “I try not to have them in the Manny suit for more than two hours at a time,” Castillo said. “If they are in there for longer, then they need to take a break.”

As part of the obligation to be Manny, the mascot must be prepared to stay until halftime at the bigger sporting events like football games. Then, Manny himself makes the decision to whether to stay longer or not. Manny attends both men and women’s sporting events on campus.

Manny takes off-campus trips as well. “He goes to the Tin Caps and Mad Ants games when they have nights dedicated to celebrating mascots,” Castillo said. The Spartan will also be in local parades. Castillo believes that going to these events outside of North Manchester are great for showing off the university. “Basically, wherever he goes, he promotes Manchester,” Castillo said. Manny can be seen as a marketing tool; he idealizes what it is like to be a passionate Spartan. He gives people that are not aware of Manchester an idea of what the Manchester community is like as these outside events rarely happens.

Seven students form team Manny. One of their most important qualifications is that they have to be a certain height. “You have to be ideally five-feet, ten-inches to six-feet, two-inches,” Castillo said. The only prerequisite for weight is that a member of team Manny has to be able to fit in the costume.

Manny’s team prepares for a game just like any other sports team. “They do go through some training,” Castillo said. “Mainly we go through guidelines, what to do and what not to do.” Team Manny meets once a month to go over scheduling and expectations.

One member of Team Manny, known here as “Manny A,” sees the ups and downs of being this prolific character.  Manny A does like the feeling of putting a smile on someone’s face. “It always makes me happy when people want to high-five Manny or take a picture with him,” Manny A said.

However, this Manny’s favorite part has nothing to do with sports. “Being at games and hyping up the crowd is great, don’t get me wrong, but that’s all he does at games,” Manny A explained. “But in marketing videos or other like events where Manny is in the spotlight, there is the ability to do more than just clap when someone scores.”

For this Manny, there is actually one clear problem of being the mascot: the heat. “Being Manny is enjoyable for like the first 30 minutes,” Manny A said. “Then it gets really sweaty and you do not want to be in the suit anymore.”