Pacer mascot Loren Lamson: hear the word straight from the bird

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For most of his school career, Loren Lamson was simply one of the masses. Well liked by everyone, Loren Lamson was thought to be a bit shy and introverted by his classmates.

“I really wanted to show everyone more of my true personality,” Loren Lamson said. “But it was hard. I’d walk down the hallway and not really talk to anybody except my closest friends.”

That all changed one winter night about three years ago. It was just another evening of Switzerland County basketball, and Loren Lamson was preparing to play in the high school pep band. Friend Mike Fox had assumed the role of the “Roadrunner” — the Switzerland County High School mascot — but on this particular night he needed a favor.

“Mikey asked me if I’d be the mascot that night,” Loren Lamson says with a smile. “I guess that’s when all of this got started.”

“All of this” is a three-year run as perhaps the best-loved mascot in southern Indiana. Full of high jinx and plenty of fun — Loren Lamson finally found a way to introduce others to his true personality.

“Most people wouldn’t have thought that I was a mascot kind of a guy,” Loren Lamson says. “They think I’m reserved and shy, but as the Roadrunner things just start to happen.”

For the past three years he has lugged the big blue Roadrunner suit — please don’t call him a blue chicken — onto countless buses for trips to high school gyms all over the area. Boys and girls games, home and away — the constant is the Pacer Roadrunner.

“I just feel like the Roadrunner needs to be at all of the games to help the teams,” Loren Lamson shrugs. “Besides, it’s also really a lot of fun.”

Ask Loren Lamson how he and the Roadrunner are similar, and he will tell you that the two are really one in the same, just his way of showing people who he really is.
And how are the two different?

“Well, I guess it’s different because my first two years of high school seemed to be harder for me. I didn’t get to know many people. But when I’m the mascot, I get to know everybody. It’s fun to walk down the halls everyday and talk with everybody. Everybody knows me, and that’s nice.”

What’s the best part of being the Roadrunner? Loren Lamson says that’s an easy question.

“Everybody likes him,” Loren laughs. “It’s fun to see the reaction on people’s faces, both young and old. I really like seeing the reaction I get from people. I think everybody has a good time when I’m around.”

The worst part?

“Referees,” he smiles. “Actually, I’ve only had two referees who have given me any problems. One told me that I couldn’t wear a referee’s shirt; and another told me to make sure that I stayed off of the court while the game was in session. Actually, most of the referees really like it. Most of them play along.”

In reality, Loren Lamson says that the worst part of being the mascot is not getting to watch the whole game. He admits that he’s got a pretty good view down wandering the sidelines, but says that being the mascot makes you watch the game in a different way than the average fan does. Staying in character, Loren seldom takes off the mascot head. Instead, he refrains from yelling while in costume, and uses body language to cheer on the teams.

There’s also one other downfall to being the mascot that Loren Lamson has been working on over the years because it bothers him more than anything else — sometimes he scares little kids.

“That’s the worst,” he says. “Last year was the first time that I made a little kid cry. Since then I’ve learned how to approach them. You don’t rush at them, you just sort of let them get close and show them that there’s nothing to be scared of. You have to act a little shy around them and they’ll warm up to you. There are two little girls who were both scared of me last year who run up to me and hug me this year.”

Loren Lamson has also developed quite a following of people who watch his on court antics, from reading a newspaper while the other team is being introduced to harassing an unsuspecting referee during a timeout.

“Tim Swango gives me lots of ideas about the types of things that I might do,” Loren Lamson reveals. “He had the newspaper idea. Most of the time I just sort of go out there and see what happens.”

Any other helpers?

“My mom,” he smiles. “She helps me with all types of ideas. She’s really good at thinking things up.”

The suit itself is not as hot as many people think it is, Loren says. The school purchased a new suit this year, and the wearer says that the new one is much cooler and lighter than the old one. He says that different gyms have different temperatures, but the hottest is when he’s at home in the Pacer gym, because that’s when he’s most excited.

And seeing out? Loren Lamson says that it’s amazingly easy to maneuver around, noting that he doesn’t wear his glasses while in costume, and that he can see everything just fine.

Sometimes, without warning, the Roadrunner just sort of takes over Loren Lamson’s body. That’s when some really strange things can go on.

“At the Rising Sun game all of a sudden I hear the music and I found myself out on the gym floor in front of everyone dancing,” he says. “That was pretty strange.”

So what does a person think about while he’s wandering around dressed as a big blue bird?
“Well, sometimes I catch myself thing about sitting out in the crowd and seeing myself do this,” Loren Lamson says. “I wonder what I look like when I’m out there and what different moves look like to the people who are watching. I wonder if I would like seeing what I’m doing.”

As he heads down the home stretch of his mascot career, Loren Lamson says that he’s really fired up to hit the floor at tomorrow night’s girls sectional game. He says that a misunderstanding of the IHSAA rules kept him from being on the floor last year (the rules say no live mascots; but that has been clarified to mean that a team can’t have a live animal, such as a real dog, in the gym). Now cleared for flight, Loren Lamson is looking forward to hitting a larger stage for a sectional audience.
“It should really be a lot of fun,” he says.

With just a handful of games left before he hangs up the mascot suit, is there anyone — um — waiting in the wings to take over?

“Not yet,” Loren Lamson says. “There’s a lot of people who would like to do it, but nobody’s been picked yet. I would like to think whoever does it feels like they have some big shoes to fill.”

What qualifications does Loren Lamson feel that the next mascot needs to have?

“Well, they need to be able to be caring and funny,” Loren says. “They need to be able to make people laugh. They need to know when to put on a show and when to stop, which is very important. I guess they just need to know how to show school spirit.”

One last question: Are you gonna miss him?
“Yea. Oh yea,” Loren Lamson says as he runs his fingers over the eyes of the bird head and smooths the blue fur. “It’s kind of silly, but I’m really going to miss him. I guess I hope the school and the community miss him, too. It’s been really fun, but someone else will do it next year. I hope they have as much fun as I have.”

*
Loren Lamson is the son of Loren and Marla Lamson of Vevay. After graduation, he hopes to go to Western Kentucky University to study physical therapy.For most of his school career, Loren Lamson was simply one of the masses. Well liked by everyone, Loren Lamson was thought to be a bit shy and introverted by his classmates.

“I really wanted to show everyone more of my true personality,” Loren Lamson said. “But it was hard. I’d walk down the hallway and not really talk to anybody except my closest friends.”

That all changed one winter night about three years ago. It was just another evening of Switzerland County basketball, and Loren Lamson was preparing to play in the high school pep band. Friend Mike Fox had assumed the role of the “Roadrunner” — the Switzerland County High School mascot — but on this particular night he needed a favor.

“Mikey asked me if I’d be the mascot that night,” Loren Lamson says with a smile. “I guess that’s when all of this got started.”

“All of this” is a three-year run as perhaps the best-loved mascot in southern Indiana. Full of high jinx and plenty of fun — Loren Lamson finally found a way to introduce others to his true personality.

“Most people wouldn’t have thought that I was a mascot kind of a guy,” Loren Lamson says. “They think I’m reserved and shy, but as the Roadrunner things just start to happen.”

For the past three years he has lugged the big blue Roadrunner suit — please don’t call him a blue chicken — onto countless buses for trips to high school gyms all over the area. Boys and girls games, home and away — the constant is the Pacer Roadrunner.

“I just feel like the Roadrunner needs to be at all of the games to help the teams,” Loren Lamson shrugs. “Besides, it’s also really a lot of fun.”

Ask Loren Lamson how he and the Roadrunner are similar, and he will tell you that the two are really one in the same, just his way of showing people who he really is.

And how are the two different?

“Well, I guess it’s different because my first two years of high school seemed to be harder for me. I didn’t get to know many people. But when I’m the mascot, I get to know everybody. It’s fun to walk down the halls everyday and talk with everybody. Everybody knows me, and that’s nice.”

What’s the best part of being the Roadrunner? Loren Lamson says that’s an easy question.

“Everybody likes him,” Loren laughs. “It’s fun to see the reaction on people’s faces, both young and old. I really like seeing the reaction I get from people. I think everybody has a good time when I’m around.”

The worst part?

“Referees,” he smiles. “Actually, I’ve only had two referees who have given me any problems. One told me that I couldn’t wear a referee’s shirt; and another told me to make sure that I stayed off of the court while the game was in session. Actually, most of the referees really like it. Most of them play along.”

In reality, Loren Lamson says that the worst part of being the mascot is not getting to watch the whole game. He admits that he’s got a pretty good view down wandering the sidelines, but says that being the mascot makes you watch the game in a different way than the average fan does. Staying in character, Loren seldom takes off the mascot head. Instead, he refrains from yelling while in costume, and uses body language to cheer on the teams.

There’s also one other downfall to being the mascot that Loren Lamson has been working on over the years because it bothers him more than anything else — sometimes he scares little kids.

“That’s the worst,” he says. “Last year was the first time that I made a little kid cry. Since then I’ve learned how to approach them. You don’t rush at them, you just sort of let them get close and show them that there’s nothing to be scared of. You have to act a little shy around them and they’ll warm up to you. There are two little girls who were both scared of me last year who run up to me and hug me this year.”
Loren Lamson has also developed quite a following of people who watch his on court antics, from reading a newspaper while the other team is being introduced to harassing an unsuspecting referee during a timeout.

“Tim Swango gives me lots of ideas about the types of things that I might do,” Loren Lamson reveals. “He had the newspaper idea. Most of the time I just sort of go out there and see what happens.”

Any other helpers?

“My mom,” he smiles. “She helps me with all types of ideas. She’s really good at thinking things up.”

The suit itself is not as hot as many people think it is, Loren says. The school purchased a new suit this year, and the wearer says that the new one is much cooler and lighter than the old one. He says that different gyms have different temperatures, but the hottest is when he’s at home in the Pacer gym, because that’s when he’s most excited.

And seeing out? Loren Lamson says that it’s amazingly easy to maneuver around, noting that he doesn’t wear his glasses while in costume, and that he can see everything just fine.

Sometimes, without warning, the Roadrunner just sort of takes over Loren Lamson’s body. That’s when some really strange things can go on.

“At the Rising Sun game all of a sudden I hear the music and I found myself out on the gym floor in front of everyone dancing,” he says. “That was pretty strange.”

So what does a person think about while he’s wandering around dressed as a big blue bird?
“Well, sometimes I catch myself thing about sitting out in the crowd and seeing myself do this,” Loren Lamson says. “I wonder what I look like when I’m out there and what different moves look like to the people who are watching. I wonder if I would like seeing what I’m doing.”

As he heads down the home stretch of his mascot career, Loren Lamson says that he’s really fired up to hit the floor at tomorrow night’s girls sectional game. He says that a misunderstanding of the IHSAA rules kept him from being on the floor last year (the rules say no live mascots; but that has been clarified to mean that a team can’t have a live animal, such as a real dog, in the gym). Now cleared for flight, Loren Lamson is looking forward to hitting a larger stage for a sectional audience.
“It should really be a lot of fun,” he says.

With just a handful of games left before he hangs up the mascot suit, is there anyone — um — waiting in the wings to take over?

“Not yet,” Loren Lamson says. “There’s a lot of people who would like to do it, but nobody’s been picked yet. I would like to think whoever does it feels like they have some big shoes to fill.”

What qualifications does Loren Lamson feel that the next mascot needs to have?

“Well, they need to be able to be caring and funny,” Loren says. “They need to be able to make people laugh. They need to know when to put on a show and when to stop, which is very important. I guess they just need to know how to show school spirit.”

One last question: Are you gonna miss him?
“Yea. Oh yea,” Loren Lamson says as he runs his fingers over the eyes of the bird head and smooths the blue fur. “It’s kind of silly, but I’m really going to miss him. I guess I hope the school and the community miss him, too. It’s been really fun, but someone else will do it next year. I hope they have as much fun as I have.”

*
Loren Lamson is the son of Loren and Marla Lamson of Vevay. After graduation, he hopes to go to Western Kentucky University to study physical therapy.

Is he aware that Western Kentucky has a big, red, furry mascot?

“I’m aware of that,” he grins.