Ever since news that the Solar Bears were coming back, one of my most anticipated moments was the return of Shades. Seeing how cool he looked back in the day, I became ecstatic when I read that he was going to make his first appearance since the end of the hibernation at the Open House yesterday. I literally tasted rainbows, or maybe it was because I happened to be eating Skittles at the time.
Mascots are one of my favorite experiences when it comes to sporting events. If you got a good one, it'll become the tradition of any team. If the mascot is great, it becomes the legend.
Anytime the Solar Bears are mentioned, one of the first things a fan's mind thinks of is Shades. Just look at how the new management is marketing and describing the Solar Bears, for example the logo, it's Shades holding a hockey stick behind him, not just the mascot, or, a "polar bear" or even a "solar bear." When you read some of their posts on the Solar Bear's Facebook and Twitter they close each message with Shades. Shades is the legend of the Orlando Solar Bears.
Now that we've gotten a little background and history of one of the most beloved mascots of all time, let's assess the new look that Shades has undertaken. My biggest fear is taking a good-looking mascot and give it a makeover, that usually doesn't end well. However in Shades case, the costume used above has been brainwashed and can currently be seen skating around the RDV Ice Den under the presumed identity of Shivers, not the most clever renaming scheme, I will still call him Shades for the lulz. Therefore, the costume can no longer be used and something new must be created. When I saw the new Shades, my first impression was to go back to my car to see if my spare tire was still in the trunk. Did they put some weight on him or what? See, I don't mind the fatness or the pudginess of a mascot, but they have to have the rest of the body equally proportionate. There are, what I call, "big-boned" mascots and just plain fat mascots. Let's take a look to see what I mean:
|Don't you just want to poke his belly?|
|Yeah, I know it's a little slanted, but I had about a split second before he left to take a break. At least when I took this picture, he kind of slanted with my camera to make it look like he was upright.|
|New Shades coming back for some more photos. By looking at the hula hoop support, he just came back after eating some more oatmeal cream pies.|
Aside from the gargantuan waistband, the costume itself is pretty good. The head seems to fit the logo pretty well, and with it being smaller, it won't weigh as much to the performer. The fur also seems of a higher quality, though I didn't get to shake his paw or take a picture with him, but from the looks of it, I could imagine how soft it would feel. There was also a nice touch if you were to see his paw pads, sporting the same color pattern you see on his shades. He unfortunately no longer wears #95 as you saw there. The stockings and mascot shoes are usually fine, but with the belly, it shows the fatness that much more.
While looking through the pictures I took and my own observations, I noticed something that would lead me to this question, and you might think I'm crazy, but hear me out, you are a great reader if you got this far and for that, I thank you. Is the costume complete? "Well duh mr. bloger, are you blind? He was there, of course it's completed. Geez dumbass, what other questions might you have? Is a polar bear's skin white?" (No, a polar bear's skin is actually black, derp) The reason I came to this question is that, if you look closely, it looks as though his shoulders thin out significantly compared to the forearms and hands as if there is no costume padding on the shoulders. If you were to remove the fat pouch, which is removable for the costume and shouldn't be on in the first place by the way, he would now look extremely thin. Then if my theory is right, the costume would only consist of the head, paws and shoes; there would be no body. This actually might bring hope to the new Shades, because it could give the chance to have the body done and get rid of the fat suit by the time they hire the real performer. Yes everyone, Shades was given life by a stand-in.
Nevertheless, as you might recall at the beginning of this novel: Shade is, and will always be, the legend of the Orlando Solar Bears.