Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Letter to My 19 Year Old Self...

Yesterday I spoke with someone from the Michigan State Alumni Association.  They had called me looking for a donation and to check up on their files, I'm assuming.  Whether or not he was being completely honest or trying to butter me up for money, the kid who called me mentioned he was thinking about trying out to be Sparty and wondered if I thought it was worth it.  I simply told him, there is nothing better you can do with your time.   This got me thinking of a better way to express to the younger generation of mascot performers, the importance of following your dreams and desires and what to expect in the trials and tribulations of being a professional mascot.  So, I decided to write a letter to myself when I was 19 to preview some lessons I've picked up along the way.  Obviously I can't change my history, but if any younger performers out there heed any of my advice, hopefully it will be beneficial to them in one way or another.  Here we go!

Dear 19 Year Old Brad,

You are about to embark on the path less traveled.  It's not going to be easy, or glamorous.  You're going to work harder than you ever had in your entire life, physically and emotionally.  You're going to make friends for a lifetime in just a few short years.  You're going to learn that building bridges is more important than burning them and you'll learn that even petty politics can trump talent every now and then.  But there is one thing about your current endeavor that no one will ever be able to take away from you. The Laughter.  You're not going to make as much money as your friends the first few years, but you'll be doing what you love.   You're going to get burnt out.  You're going to perform in front of millions of people and bring them happiness, through the simple act of becoming a character.  You're going to have to explain your profession to anyone who finds out about your job.  You'll do this seemingly every day of your life when you meet new people.  You'll come to understand that being a successful mascot is harder than being a successful actor, there are less jobs.  Don't let this stop you.  Understand there aren't perfect situations and perfect jobs.  Every one has red flags, every one will also have an upside.  Focus on the potential of a character, not the past.  Remember to have a life outside of your character work.  Don't confuse your character with who you truly are.  Take care of your body, it will make your life easier and your performance better.  Try to be as original as possible.  Understand that the right path takes time, be grateful for opportunities and seize the right ones.  Even though you think it's possible to do this on your own, listen to the ones who have been successful before you, their advice will change your life for the better.  Accept the fact that you should never stop learning.  Finally, the most important piece of advice I can give you is to live your next 10 years with no regrets.  At the end of the day, be glad you took your chance at following your passion, it's one of the things in life that truly counts.

29 Year Old Brad
The only picture of me when I was 19 I could find on my laptop.


  1. Great letter! Definitely some good advice in there for future mascots!

  2. This is really inspiring! I'm 17 and quite interested in taking mascotting up and this really is inspirational and damn honest.