Putting on the mask: A teacher’s day as Mocsie

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Mocsie is one of the most recognizable faces on campus, a long-standing tradition and a frequent sight at sports events. As our campus mascot, Mocsie gets around quite a bit, and the students inside the suit have, more or less, remained a secret.

However, at the March 1 basketball game, Mocsie was not played by a student. Instead, Mocsie was played by a teacher.

“I always thought it was a great idea, and it ended up being a dare with my two boys,” Dr. Katherine Loh, adjunct communication professor, said.

The performance seemed plausible to Loh’s student Shane Tompkins.

“She could definitely be Mocsie,” Tompkins said. “She’s very upbeat and funny.”

Mocsie has been a frequent sight at First Fridays, some Fall Festivals at Elementary Schools, orientation, move-in day, Kiwanis and other charity events.

However, Loh’s debut occurred at the game against Rollins. Loh walked back and forth through the crowd, waving and shaking hands with audience members.

Most Mocsies have minders to watch over them while they are performing. In Loh’s case, her minder was her 9-year-old son.

“He thought it was cool,” Loh said. “He was taking his job as my bodyguard and Mocsie escort very seriously.”

However, the suit came with its own difficulties. The different layers that Mocsie has to wear means that it can get pretty hot for the people inside the suit.

“It doesn’t have air conditioning, so it does get hot in there,” Associate Athletic Director Al Green said.

Loh agreed.

“It was hot. Hot,” Loh said. “I cannot fully articulate how hot that suit is.”

The construction of the suit can also limit mobility. Mocsie’s feet are surrounded by foam, which meant that it was a little difficult for Loh to walk and dance. As such, Loh was unable to do some of the dance movies she had researched on YouTube.

There were also other issues.

“That outfit is made for a way taller person,” Loh said.

During the game, Loh set the goal of dancing or cheering with Dr. Anne Kerr, Florida Southern College’s President. During the second half Loh saw her and came up in front of the risers during what Green described as a “tight” part of the game.

“Unfortunately I was then told not to block the view of the boosters and I had to leave,” Loh said.

Although Loh said she would not be Mocsie again, she said that she had a great time regardless.

“I think the kids always make it fun when they come and give Mocsie hugs,” Loh said.

Loh’s Mocsie debut may very well be unique in the history of Mocsie.

“Dr. Loh is the first one, at least since I’ve been here, that has put on the costume and performed before the crowd,” Green said.

It all began when Green came to the communications building to talk to Dr. William Allen. Loh was in the room when Green came in.

“It was fate in a way,” Green said.

Loh asked if she could be Mocsie sometime, and Green kept it in mind. During Spring Break, when many students had gone home, he asked if she could fill in.

“He was gracious enough to allow me to pick a game and be Mocsie for the day,” Loh said. “So I was really excited.”

Before going out onto the court Loh had to go over some ground rules, such as not harassing officials, no touching players, coaches, or officials, no talking and no taking off Mocsie’s head.

Keeping up the illusion is all part of the show.

“It’s interesting that people know that you’re fake, but in their minds you’re not,” Green said.

Around four students play Mocsie, rotating between sports and other events both outdoors and indoors. Green said that they are currently recruiting, and that any student who is interested should contact him.

“Whoever is the real Mocsie, hats off to you, because this is a calling, and they’re doing a great job,” Loh said.