Mascot wins hearts of students
The Trojan stands on the lawn of the Kappa Sigma fraternity house, looking regal and amusing at the same time. He is a tattered conqueror; his boots are held together with binder clips and his cape with Velcro. He also wears a maroon leather skirt.
A fan calls out to him and he waves back, his padded muscles rippling. Then he runs into the house for an impromptu dance lesson. Dance class is on the to-do list, said the Trojan’s alter-ego, Jeremy Martin, 25, junior international business and music composition major.
The Trojan takes the stage at home games and at events like Welcome Week. The mascot has to “have some fun and do whatever it takes to get the crowd going,” Martin said. He added that the Trojan’s responsibilities include taking pictures with fans, signing autographs and eating a bunch of hotdogs before the game. “It’s their job to be the most enthusiastic fan in the stands, even it they’re not in the stands,” said Patrick Newton, interim sports information director.
UALR’s mascot was the Trojan long before any costume, however. In 1930, UALR’s first football team voted for the Trojan as their mascot, said James E. Lester, Jr. in his book, “The People’s College.” It has been the mascot of all UALR athletic teams since. When the football team was reinstated in 1947, Lester said, Trojan t-shirts were all the rage. Now, the Trojan can be found on anything from hats and flip-flops to pens and water bottles.
School spirit is the idea behind the mascot, Newton said. “It’s a consistent, unifying symbol that everyone can see and associate with UALR athletics,” he said, and added that the symbol helps promote the department, as well.
“The Trojan is a good mascot for UALR because it shows honor, strength and courage,” Martin said. He added that he became the mascot to conquer his stage fright. In true Trojan spirit, he advised anyone with a similar phobia to “just go out there and take a risk. You won’t overcome your fear unless you face it.”