Senior Maggie Barton leaves big hooves to fill

Sports Editor

Surprise, senior Maggie Barton has performed as the St. Edward’s University mascot, Topper, for the last four years. Barton was a cheerleader, but swapped to being a mascot in high school. She has been mascotting for seven years.

Shelby Cole: What is the difference between being a mascot and a cheerleader, besides flips and the mask?

MB: Mascotting is more about maintaining the character of whatever you are. Cheerleading is all about being in uniform and in position and hitting your moves. I do not have to do any of that. I can run around and do whatever I want, like sit in the crowd and mess with people.

SC: Do you get paid to mascot?

MB: I am attending the university on an athletic scholarship.

SC: Does anyone know it is you in the suit?  

MB: My friends do. When I am in character, as silly as it sounds, I take it really seriously. I do not talk. People ask me all the time who I am, and I just shrug. I get asked a lot if I am a boy or a girl, and I just walk away. You are only going to take something as seriously as you want to, and you get out of it as much as you put in. 

SC: Is it hot in that suit?

MB: Yes. I know this for a fact. Inside the mascot suit, it is 30 to 40 degrees hotter than the temperature outside.

SC: Is it legal to make you dance around in that heat?

MB: I take breaks a lot. Any mascot does. You cannot be in the suit for a good half hour and not take a drink of water.

SC: Do you wear those Camelback things?

MB: I did in high school. The Topper suit here has this ice vest that you can wear that cools you down, but I tried it once and as soon as I started sweating, all the ice just melted and I was soaking wet.

SC: Is it hard to move around in the suit?

MB: The way the suit is designed, any way that I bend, you are not really going to see my body. Once you’re comfortable with that fact, it is really about learning how to be aware of your body in relation to your character’s body. You need to make your motions 10 times bigger, even if I am waving.

SC: How long does it take to put that thing on?

MB: Ten minutes, probably. It is not too bad. The suit is one big thing that zips up in the back, and there is a jersey that goes on over that, feet, hands and head.

SC: What’s Topper’s sex?

MB: He is a boy. We have two characters, so Francie [Gremillion, the second mascot who graduated in December] and I wanted to make one a boy and one a girl. Athletics told us no.

SC: What’s the worst part about being Topper?

MB: Everything is great. Honestly, the only worst part is being so hot. Also, people do not really think of it as a sport, but it really is. If I am mascotting the final two minutes of a really close basketball game, I do not want to leave and take a break, just like the players do not want to leave. It is that adrenaline, it is getting really into it, and that is really my favorite part — mascotting to a really good, big crowd.

SC: What do you do if the crowd is super small?

MB: Even if there is two people there, I am still there. I am still going to mascot to those two people. 

SC: It sounds like a lot of work.

MB: When I came my freshman year, my coach told us we had some big shoes to fill. The mascot before us did a really good job of maintaining the character. Topper has a certain way that he walks and a certain way he stands and takes pictures with people. There is certain routine moves that he will do for good things and … for bad things. It is really cool. That element of mascotting is something that a lot of people do not see.

SC: Has it helped you stay in shape?

MB: Yeah. I played very competitive basketball up until college, and I actually almost thought about playing here, but I decided to mascot instead.

SC: Why?

MB: I have played basketball since I was in second grade. I mascotted and played basketball in high school because I was able to. In college, I would not have been able to do that. It would have been two really different college experiences. I had been living one life for so long that I decided to try something else. I do not regret it. I have had a lot of fun. 

SC: What else do you do for fun?

MB: I shuffle. It is really fun because once I was able to do it as Maggie Barton, I could do it as Topper. It is a groove. It is all about what you are feeling. 

SC: What, actually, is it?

MB: It is a style of dancing that is really heavy on feet glides, just kind of moving around with a big focus on tricking people in the direction that you are going. 

SC: Is it hard for Topper to shuffle in those feet?

MB: I started wearing Converse. I can slide those shoes because they are thin enough into Topper’s feet, so it gives me a lot more traction so I can jump around and do a lot more stuff without my feet clanking around. Topper shuffles a little bit differently than I do because my range of leg motion is limited, so there is some moves I can do as me that I cannot do as Topper. 

SC: Besides shuffling, being Topper and being in school, what else do you do?

MB: I am in a band called Maggie and the Sauce. Shameless plug.

SC: How often do you guys perform?

MB: It’s hard because Chase, Joe and I are all in school here at St. Edward’s.We are all very busy. We played two shows during SouthBy, which was awesome. We play … at least once or twice a month. … I longboard, that is another hobby. I tell a lot of jokes. I troll on the Internet all the time.