Let's clear up a few things about Clawed, AU's beloved, fuzzy, flightless eagle mascot.
First of all, Clawed isn't a he. He's a them.
"We usually have three to five people who are part of the mascot team," says Rachel Southall, coordinator of the AU Spirit Program. "The common thread is that they have school spirit, and they want to get involved in athletic events. Of course, I have seen people who just really like being in the suit and giving high fives."
It's not easy being blue (and red and white). Although Clawed's head is made of foam built around a baseball helmet with removable padding and only weighs about four pounds, the entire outfit weighs closer to 20. This makes those who don the suit, well, quite sweaty and stinky.
"It's so hot in that suit," says Teddy McCullough, BA/SPA '15, who nonetheless loved his tenure as a Clawed. "Sometimes people would pester you and pull your tail, but those things come with the job."
Glory, however, does not. Adhering to strict(ish) mascot tradition, Team Clawed members must remain anonymous.
"When people see Clawed—even adults—they get so excited, even though they know that there's a person in the suit," Southall says. "It's a mystical thing. You want to believe that there's a real Clawed, alive and flapping his wings."