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Loser Team Mascot

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The aura of loserdom is exponentially enhanced if the mascot is a chicken.
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It's not easy being the mascot of a school sports team. While the Dumb Jocks and cheerleaders get all the attention, you're stuck wearing an itchy, stinky costume that really isn't designed for running around in a gym or field.

You may be the one pumping up the crowd, but you'll also be stuck on the sidelines, giving out high-fives and t-shirts while the real members of the team win the championship and get all the love. And it's not like you can just move up in the ranks, either, because chances are you only got the spot because you failed at tryouts — after all, who would want to be the mascot?

Well, if anyone's going to get stuck with the job, it's probably not going to be someone with any real social status or athletic ability. It'll be someone with no skills to bring to their team beyond running around like an idiot with their face covered; or at best, someone crazy enough to actually find the role fun, despite the mockery they'll doubtless receive. This of course means the person stuck in the mascot costume is likely to already be considered a loser, and if they've avoided that fate so far, getting the position will be what makes them a loser. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy: if it's the losers who play the mascot, then that makes the mascot a loser.

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The natural habitat of the loser mascot is a high school or middle school setting, though they are occasionally found at the elementary or university level, or out in the wilds of professional sports.

In middle/high school, they're more than likely to get unwanted attention in the form of The Bully, be a source of embarrassment to their friends, and suffer humiliation that will last them the rest of their lives. Even if they're not actively mistreated (such as in works where High School Rocks rather than being hell), they're still not likely to be a treated as a "real" member of their team.

Whether luckily or not, people may not even know who is inside the costume... meaning that even if there's any genuine praise to be given for the mascot's performance — such as if their newfound anonymity grants them a confidence they lack while out of costume — the poor sap in the costume may still be considered a loser regardless, right at the bottom of the Popularity Food Chain.

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Subtrope of Goofy Suit, Bad Job, Worse Uniform, and, of course, Mascot. Dreaded Kids' Party Entertainer Job is similar, but with kids' parties instead of sports.


Examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • In one Archie Comics story, Betty's team has a rule that whoever turns up to the game late has to be the mascot as punishment.

    Comic Strips 
  • MAD once suggested that a way to improve attendance at football games would be to add a new rule: each team would score extra points if the opposing team's mascot is tied up and held hostage by fans for a sufficiently long period.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Detention, self-loathing Cool Loser outcast and Granola Girl Riley Jones hates being the mascot, and considers it demeaning. When she gets in trouble for a video of her breast being groped at the party where the star athlete died, the coach angrily claims that being the mascot is a proud tradition, contrary to Riley's personal outlook.
  • Played With in Hatching Pete. Pete's best friend Cleatus is the school's mascot, and has to run around in a dumb chicken costume. However, Cleatus is actually allergic to the suit and needs Pete to wear it for him. Though Pete turns out to be an amazing mascot and makes "The Chicken" popular amongst the students, Pete himself gets no love, as his identity is kept a secret. Despite everyone in school loving their mascot, the person inside of it is still seen as a loser, and only ended up in the suit because his best friend was the original Chicken- and his struggles with the suit only made him more of a loser.
  • Played with in Easy A. Olive's crush Todd is the school mascot, which used to actually be pretty cool, since they used to be the Blue Devils; he'd go shirtless, paint himself blue, wear devil horns, and kick off each basketball game with a dunk. However, they recently switched to being the Woodchucks, meaning he now has to try and do that same dunk while wearing a full-body woodchuck costume (complete with an oversized head), with often limited success. This has earned him the nickname "Woodchuck Todd." However, while the mascot is seen as a complete joke by the students, Todd himself is still reasonably well-liked.
  • Freaky: Cool Loser protagonist Millie is shown in the school mascot costume during a football game. After a game, the Blissfield Butcher ends up finding her while she's waiting to get picked up, kicking off the plot.

    Literature 
  • In Dave Barry's Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need (by Dave Barry, natch), it says that Walt Disney World enforcement puts people in the Goofy suit as punishment for breaking the rules — like trying to leave Walt Disney World (which is strictly forbidden) or not having a sufficient mood of childlike wonderment. In the column "Iowa's Safe But You'll Be Sorry," Dave Barry notes that these costumes "would make ideal disguises for terrorists."
    Walt "You Are Having Some Fun Now, Yes?" Disney Resort and World and Compound, a place where your dreams really do come true, if you dream about having people wearing enormous cartoon-animal heads come around to your restaurant table and act whimsical and refuse to go away until you laugh with delight. This happens to you constantly at Disney World. I think it's part of a corporate discipline program for Disney executives. ("Johnson, your department is over budget again. You know what that means." "No! Please!" "Yes! Into the Goofy suit!")

    Live-Action TV 
  • In 100 Things to Do Before High School, the school's bear mascot costume is notoriously hot, stuffy, and hard to see out of, which causes the mascot to keep walking into walls. At one point, the coach remarks that he's lost three bears this way, causing CJ to wonder how you can lose three bears in a week. In "Say Yes to Everything For Day Thing!", CJ becomes the new mascot and has to wear the bear suit.
  • Subverted in Blue Mountain State, Sammy manages to get a job as the team's mascot early in the series, which actually improves his social standing, but only because he was already the Butt-Monkey.
  • In the The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode "I Know Why The Caged Bird Screams", Carlton becomes the mascot of his football team and it's made pretty clear that he's only tolerated because he happens to become their good luck charm. When he ends up late to a major game and Will first tries to motivate the team by pretending to be Carlton with the mascot outfit and then with an extremely blunt and dreary "motivational speech" once he's found out (which obviously kills their drive and makes them lose), Carlton's status as a "luck charm" is gone and the episode ends with him being bullied by the team.
  • In the Good Luck Charlie episode "Double Whammy", Amy convinces Teddy to tryout for the school mascot, due to how she herself was the mascot as a teenager. Teddy tries to throw the tryout, but being the only one to go for it, she gets the role by default. After a fight with Amy, Amy ends up in the mascot costume instead, and gets kidnapped by the rival school's team in the process.
  • In the Hannah Montana episoe "Mascot Love", when Miley and Lilly both tryout for the cheerleading team, Lilly is accepted... but Miley, whose tryout was considered below average, got stuck playing the mascot Pirate Pete. On top of the mascot head smelling disgusting, she was forced to drive around the gym on a tricycle and was humiliated by Amber and Ashley, who did make the team. After fighting with another mascot in an effort to pump up the crowd, she ended up kicked off entirely.
  • Played With on House of Anubis. When the school was having their inter-house dodgeball tournament, Fabian was very eager to be on his House's team, earnestly wanting to help his friends. However, everyone was convinced he'd be a poor player, being the nonathletic nerd and all, so Eddie gave him the "most important job"... and made him the Anubis House mascot. He spent the entire game sweating in his costume on the bench in misery, unable to even do his job of pumping up the crowd. However, when the team needed one last player in their final game against Isis House, Eddie finally broke down and let Fabian play... and to everyone's surprise, he singlehandedly wins the tournament... but still had to wear the dumb costume while doing so.

    Video Games 
  • In Astral Chain, Marie is treated as something of a fool (having been brought in from traffic enforcement to handle paperwork and cleaning) by the rest of the team. Up to and including being humoured for her belief that her identity as Lappy, the station's mascot, is a carefully hidden secret.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Danny Phantom episode "What You Want", Danny is talked into wearing the Casper High Raven mascot costume for today's football game, which Tucker considers to be "the best seat in the house" and winds up getting trampled by the school football team while he's performing for the audience.
    Danny: (mockingly) Fill in for the mascot, it'll be fun, you'll meet cheerleaders...
  • A variant in Daria: In "I Loathe a Parade," Daria is repeatedly annoyed by someone in the Lawndale Lions mascot costume, who seems determined to have her actually show some pep. It turns out to be Mr. O'Neill, the school's dorky and overly cheerful English teacher.
  • Kim Possible: Ron takes on the role of the school mascot. Kim was less than pleased initially because it cements the belief that he's the school dumbass much more in the eyes of the students.
  • In the King of the Hill episode "What Makes Bobby Run?", Bobby becomes the Tom Landry Middle School mascot, then is told of a tradition where the opposing team's band beats up on the Landry mascot if they (Landry) are winning.
  • Averted in Over the Garden Wall: Wirt's crush, Sara, is the school's mascot (a bee), but seems to be quite popular. Then again, Wirt's school only seems to adhere to the Popularity Food Chain in his own mind.
  • In the Rocko's Modern Life episode, "Spitballs", Rocko and Heffer go to a baseball game in the hopes of catching a foul ball to replace the previous one destroyed by Mr. Bighead. At the game, the O-Town Zeros' mascot is a shrimp named Gumbo. When Gumbo enters the field, everyone starts booing and jeering at him, and throwing whatever they have at him. Heffer asks Rocko why everyone hates Gumbo, and Rocko tells him it's because he's the mascot.
  • The Simpsons episode "Dancin' Homer" revolves around Homer's extremely short-lived fame as a mascot for the Springfield Isotopes. He was beloved in small-town Springfield for a few games, but when he was traded to Capital City, the jaded big-city people took to this trope big time and booed him off the stage.


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