14 February 2013
A Symbol for Passion and Energy
John Kimble leading the new freshman class in cheers back in August 2012
The mountaineer is way more than just the West Virginia University mascot. Mascots all around the country are more than just a logo for the school. Mascots are a symbol for the passion and energy of college universities. College students are like no other people. They finally have freedom and are able to get out on their own. They no longer are trapped in their homes and have to listen to everything their parents say. With this new freedom comes a tremendous amount of energy and confidence like no other. The mountaineer is a symbol for the life and heart of West Virginia University.
Morgantown is an amazing place to live. It is not considered the cleanest, wealthiest place in the world, but it has an atmosphere you cannot find anywhere else. The great thing about Morgantown is the fact that it is truly a college town. Mostly everyone that lives in Morgantown has something to do with the university, and everyone loves their Mountaineer’s. I got a chance to interview John Kimble, the current mountaineer for West Virginia University. I tweeted at him the night before the women’s game against Oklahoma State, and to my surprise, he tweeted back right away and said he would be happy to answer some questions at halftime. When I arrived at the game it was about what I expected. It was a Tuesday night, and the game was between two women’s college basketball teams that are unranked. The stadium was pretty dead, and I could not even identify a student section. Most of the people there seemed to be parents. When I looked down to the court I saw a familiar scene. The mountaineer, sure enough, was as lively as ever. The way he was chanting, sweating, cheering, and yelling you would have thought it was the biggest college football game of all time. Right then I saw the meaning behind mascots. There is way more to them than just dressing up and jumping around on the sidelines. They have even busier schedules than student athletes themselves, and they have to represent an entire university. Whether or not it is an important game, they have to display an extreme amount of passion and energy. Halftime came and I made my way towards the front row near where John was standing. I motioned for him to come over and I began interviewing him. My first question was a pretty basic one. I asked what inspired him to become the mountaineer. The answer I got was exactly what I was looking for. “It was my first football game here as a student,” John yelled over the band. “I was with all of my friends cheering and I never sat down. I was getting the crowd fired up and they saw how much passion and excitement I had inside of me. They all told me I should try out for the mountaineer, so I did.” This was a response that I was hoping for when I entered the coliseum. John doesn’t get excited and pump people up because he has to. He truly loves seeing excitement in people’s eyes, and he wants to see passion come out of everyone. When I asked John what his favorite part about being the mascot was, he gave me a couple of things. John said that along with leading cheers, he loves the fact that he is a symbol for the school and a role model for kids all across West Virginia. He understands that there is more to being a mascot than putting on a costume and doing push-ups on the sideline. With this role comes a lot of work and responsibilities as well. “Every day you are traveling to different schools around the area,” John said. “There is a lot of recruiting to be done around the country. With that comes a lot of planning, organizing, and time management.” On top of this I had to remember that John was a student at West Virginia as well. When I asked him how he was able to go to all of his classes he laughed. He responded that his number one priority is to always make it to class. John stays caught up…