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:: By Mary Ruth Yoe

:: Photography by Dan Dry

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In Every Issue ::

Lite of the mind
(a light-hearted look at all things Chicago)

photo:  something to squawk aboutSomething to squawk about

Two people, one plush phoenix costume: for the past two years Paul Kremsky, ‘07 (the beak-less guy on the left), and Mike DiGiovanni, ‘08, have shared crowd-rousing duties as Chicago’s mascot. They’ll be back on the sidelines this year for home football games, basketball doubleheaders, and special events. Although their costume was conceived by Classique Creations—the same Chicago firm that animated Wisconsin’s Bucky Badger—the phoenix has no given name. But sometimes, says Molly Parrott, the appropriately named assistant women’s basketball coach who oversees the cheerleaders and mascot, she calls him “Phil.”

Asked by the Magazine to describe life on the inside, Kremsky—no surprise—did all the talking. The costume, he says, is “hot, sweaty, and stinky. It’s pretty easy to lose five pounds of water weight during a football game.” Despite experience as a cannon for the Cannons, Boston’s major-league lacrosse team, Kremsky says being Chicago’s mascot is a “dangerous job. For one thing, members of the wrestling team are always attacking me from behind. ... Everyone wants to take down the phoenix.”

There is a plus side, however: “The best part is when I’m walking toward the game, but I’m not there yet. Because people who aren’t at a football game don’t expect to see a six-foot bird, and when they do, it makes them ask a lot of questions.”