Riley Baughman is a senior at North and has been donning the wolf costume to help cheer on the Wolfpack at football and basketball games for three years now.
The 17-year-old Dallas resident tried out for the mascot position after participating on the “scream team” his freshman year.
Baughman said he first tried the activity during basketball season and found he enjoyed it.
“You just want to be as funny as possible,” Baughman said. “My sophomore year, I went to every game I could to get as much experience as possible. I even did soccer games.”
Baughman said while there aren’t many tangible perks to the job, entertaining the crowd and raising spirit for the teams is reward enough.
“The biggest perk is giving back to the school,” he said. “If I don’t do it, who will? Seeing those little kids’ faces when they see you is great.”
Baughman wants to go into the military when he graduates high school and said that being a mascot has helped prepare him for that feat.
“It’s a great way to get into shape, because you sweat so much,” he said.
Baughman said that while most of the interaction between other schools’ mascots is playful rivalry, he and the other two mascots at North aren’t allowed to interact with East Paulding (their biggest rival) or Allatoona’s mascots because of previous altercations.
Joe Gilgan, mascot at South Paulding High School, told another rivalry tale.
Gilgan, 17, a Douglasville resident, is in his third year performing as the mascot for South as a Spartan and is one of two mascots at the high school.
“Last year, we were playing Alexander at home, and me and the other mascot thought it would be funny to go prank Alexander’s mascot,” said Gilgan. “I went and bent down behind their mascot and our mascot pushed him. When he stepped back, he fell over.”
Gilgan said this kind of old-fashioned fun is what makes the activity so enjoyable for him.
“Just being able to act goofy and not have to worry about it,” he said. “Being able to make people laugh is the best part about being mascot.”