The Bod’s head was just weighing too heavily on one Washburn University student’s shoulders.
Junior accounting major Nathan Ansley handed over the mascot position this year after he realized juggling classes and the personality behind the enlarged top hat wasn’t possible anymore.
“My class load was just crazy this year,” said Ansley. “I have really hard classes and I knew I didn’t have time for both.”
But apparently, playing the role of Washburn’s pride and joy seems to be larger than life for everyone. To fans, the Bod appeared to still be on summer vacation when the football team hosted No. 5 Chadron State Aug. 25. For Washburn first year cheerleading coach Carly DeDonder, it epitomized the number of people who showed up at tryouts for the Bod position – none.
“I’ve had several requests for information and I got back to them,” said DeDonder. “They haven’t responded. So it’s obvious it wasn’t something they really wanted to do.”
DeDonder posted the opening on MyWashburn several times and has been relying on her cheerleaders to spread the word. But the Bod is still bod-less.
“I think part of the problem is the publicity,” said DeDonder. “I think if I would find a different way to advertise the opening that would help. But I’m not sure if the people before me played it down like the position was terrible.”
Terrible, however, was the furthest thing from the truth for the previous mascot bearer. Ansley explains how being the Bod worked out a lot better than expected.
“I had a lot of fun,” said Ansley. “It’s amazing to be able to do anything you want in a reasonable context. You got to be crazy and nobody knew who you were.”
In fact, only Ansley’s family, close friends and fellow fraternity brothers knew he was the Bod. The ability to try new things under the Bod alias is a must, Ansley says, for whoever takes his reins.
“You have to not be afraid of new experiences,” said Ansley. “It has to be someone who has high energy, can be around people, kids and teenagers and who isn’t afraid to be a goofball and get a reaction from the crowd.”
Ansley once sparked a reaction out of Northwest Missouri fans that turned their attention away from the field to Ansley, the only time Ansley felt in harm’s way. However, several years back the Bod was ejected during a Washburn-Emporia State basketball game for fighting with the Hornet.
Although DeDonder would like somebody that upholds the spirit of the game, at this point she will take anybody who is interested in being the Bod. The Bod would receive a small scholarship and would be held to the same academic standards as the athletes.
“I have the athletic department on me,” said DeDonder. “They ask, ‘Do you have a mascot? Do you have a mascot?’ Of course I have to say no. But I’m sure they’ve heard things from fans, but they haven’t told me any of it.”
The next Bod would be required to attend cheerleading practices once a week and be expected at every Washburn home game. Other than pushups after a Washburn touchdown, DeDonder says that’s about all that’s required to being the Bod.
“There are not a lot of physical requirements other than pushups,” said DeDonder. “You may do some stuff with the cheer squad once in a while but I can teach anybody to do that. There is not really a whole lot other than walking around and greeting kids.”