By Matthew Laurrie
Features Assignment Editor
As the first basketball game of the season approaches, players are busy practicing, cheerleaders are warming up and students are anxiously awaiting tip off. But there’s another key player in the mix of all the hustle and bustle of the upcoming games: St. Bonaventure University’s school mascot, the Bona Wolf.
Bona Wolf tryouts for the 2012-2013 men’s and women’s basketball seasons were held last Saturday and Tuesday in Butler Gym. Tarrah Herman, head cheerleading coach, said it is important for whomever fills the paws of the school mascot to possess an energetic demeanor and an outgoing personality.
“We’re just looking for somebody who’s comfortable in the suit, that can wear the suit and can represent the team … because that’s what the main focus of the wolf is,” Herman said. “They need to be funny and they need to entertain the crowd.”
Herman explained some of the main duties and responsibilities of the Bona Wolf throughout the basketball season.
“The mascot will perform at both the men and women’s games as well as other functions that the athletic department holds,” she said. “The mascot is present as the fans are finding their seats before the game. He takes pictures with fans, walks around and gets people excited for the game. During the games he dances, gets the crowd pumped up and works with the cheerleaders to get the fans involved in cheering during the game.”
This year, the first successful tryouts took place to fill the position, according to Herman, who is in her first year as cheerleading coach. She said whatever student embodies the mascot best will become an emblem of Bonaventure pride.
“I think it’s cool because somebody can hide behind the suit and act like a total goofball and be the wolf,” Herman said. “Everybody knows who the wolf is!”
Tim Harfmann, last year’s Bona Wolf, said although he decided not to continue his position for the upcoming season, he is grateful for the opportunity to represent St. Bonaventure athletics last season.
“I figured I could help build a lot of positive energy in the Reilly Center and have a good time doing it,” said Harfmann, a junior journalism and mass communication major. “Overall, I loved doing it and I wish I could still do it, but as a JMC major I want to do other things, especially go in to sports broadcasting.”
While the Bona Wolf may not attend every away game, Harfmann said his favorite part of being the ferocious mascot last year was traveling with the team.
“I got to go to all the A-10 and NCAA tournaments,” Harfmann said. “Last year when we were going to the tournaments, I really got to see the amount of people who support Bona’s – they were just so positive. He’s (the Bona Wolf) definitely unique, and he’s definitely the best in the A-10’s.”
Herman said this year, the team selected a main mascot to become the face of Bonaventure athletics, as well as two alternates.
Kyle Ryan, a junior accounting major, will take on the role of the Bona Wolf this year. He said he looks forward to promoting school spirit.
“I’m a pretty wild, energetic kid, so I feel like it’d be the perfect job for me,” Ryan said. “I’ve always wanted to be a mascot. I’m a nice kid, I’m fun loving (and) I respect the rules, so I know not to fight other mascots. I think it brings the school closer together at basketball games.”
Win or lose, one thing is for sure – the Bona Wolf will always remain an unwavering representation of Bonnie pride.