UMass Beacon Bares All

Ryan Thomas and Charlie Peters

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When Paul Finnegan first established athletics at UMass Boston in the early 1970s, the campus was in Park Square and, instead of using places like Clark Athletic Center and the soccer field, athletes had to use Boston Common and the Greater Boston YMCA. My, my, how times have changed.

Now we have the Internet, a campus on Boston harbor, the GPS device and we have our mascot, Bobbi Beacon. What would we do without him? Sure, we’d still cheer for our teams, but not like Bobbi would. The fun-loving, push-up-happy lighthouse took time out of his sort-of-busy schedule to talk to The Mass Media. The Mass Media: First off, how does it feel to be multi-colored?Bobbi: Playing the race card one question into the interview?

The Mass Media: What’s the history behind the school’s athletic teams being known as the Beacons and your place in that history?Bobbi: UMB has been known as the Beacons since 1974, but didn’t have anyone to represent them in the way of a logo until 1982, when my vision was created. It wasn’t until a few years back that I was actually physically born. I’m not sure exactly how long my physical being has existed, as my parents (and birth records) were tragically lost in a mascot brawl. I can’t be much older than five years old, so to be in college makes me a prodigy. Not to brag or anything.

The Mass Media: What drives you to be loud and obnoxious at games?Bobbi: I’m not loud, due to a laryngectomy gone wrong at the age of 4, or obnoxious. But what drives my passion? The spirit of the fan base at home games. Despite the small numbers, I get pumped because the people who show up genuinely care about the athletes who’ve put everything on the line to prepare for their sports.

The Mass Media: What’s your favorite sport to root for?Bobbi: Hockey is very exciting, but the stands are too cramped for my act. Soccer is played outside when it’s really hot in my suit, and volleyball is frustrating for me because the ball moves so fast and I have vision issues. With that said, I love basketball. My favorite is explaining to referees why they are wrong-despite my vision problems-and messing with opponents shooting free-throws. My goal is to get kicked out of a game for being too passionate.

The Mass Media: I noticed last game that your lamp was out. Why the power outage?Bobbi: It takes a lot to get me going. For that light to go on, I need my engine to be revved a little bit, ya know what I mean? Either that or my parents (the school) need to pony up the cash and fix it!

The Mass Media: With the humiliation that comes with being a life-size lighthouse, what was your childhood like?Bobbi: Pretty tough-for all the other mascot children. Every time someone gave me trouble, I simply bulb-butted them with the top of my head. I didn’t make too many friends around the mascot world, but then again, who needs them?

The Mass Media: Some people think it’s goofy to name a team after a lighthouse. Your thoughts? Bobbi: It might seem weird, but the school is right on a harbor. Also, beacons guide ships through tough times. I think the school was trying to use an analogy for its students, enduring in the darkest times and whatnot. In any event, it can’t be worse than being the Campbell University “Humpers” or the UC Santa Cruz “Banana Slugs,” right?

The Mass Media: Say you’re out at a bar and you see some tail. What would your pick up line be?Bobbi: Some lame answers to this question might be, “You light up my world” or “I’m lost without you.” Stupid Beacon-related stuff. My most successful line has to be, “It’s not all blue and white under this suit, baby.”

The Mass Media: On the topic, what’s your marital status right now? Is there a Mrs. Bobbi Beacon?Bobbi: Why? Are you interested? You’re handsome and all, but I don’t cheer that way, if you know what I mean. In all seriousness, I am single right now. Just like my job, I’m playing the field.

The Mass Media: What’s life like for you when you’re not at the games? Any part-time jobs to make ends meet?Bobbi: Nothing that I’m prepared to discuss with a media source. The FBI can read, you know.

The Mass Media: I’ve heard that you were a little soft in your younger years. True?Bobbi: Here’s the deal. My first image was a little … cartoon-ish. About five years back, right before my birth, I was “reconstructed” to fit the tough image that properly represented our sports teams.

The Mass Media: Your smile can be intimidating. Ever thought of plastic surgery?

Bobbi: While I need a face lift, cosmetic surgery for a school icon (i.e. me) apparently isn’t in the school budget. My mother always said, “You have a face for radio!” But my calling was mascoteering.

The Mass Media: Got a signature move?Bobbi: That’s what she said…Some might say my belly laugh or intense push-up work out. But to see my best move? You’re going to have to buy me a drink…or six.

The Mass Media: You get to meet any mascot. Who would it be and why? Bobbi: The UMass Minuteman. He’s got another thing coming. I know we’re supposed to be nice to him because he’s in-state and all…but let me tell you, that nickname isn’t an accident. He’s been talking trash about the rest of the UMass mascots, but know this: that musket of his is firing blanks, if you catch my drift.