Sun. Feb 25th, 2024

    I play Chiefs’ mascot KC Wolf, and this is why I’ll be wearing SpongeBob SquarePants boxers at the Super Bowl

    Dan Meers has played KC Wolf for 34 years.

    Dan Meers has been the Kansas City Chiefs’ mascot, KC Wolf, for 34 years.Despite a serious accident, Meers continued his mascot career after writing a book during recovery.For the Super Bowl, he plans to wear a lucky pair of SpongeBob SquarePants boxer shorts.

    This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Dan Meers, 57, who has played KC Wolf, the mascot for the Kansas City Chiefs, for 34 years. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

    I grew up in St. Charles, Missouri, just outside St. Louis. I was always involved with sports. We were a family of three boys, and we played baseball, basketball, and football. Well, I should say my brother played. I was more of a benchwarmer. I went to the University of Missouri, and I knew I wasn’t good enough to play at the Division One level. One day I was reading the school newspaper, and I saw that they were going to have tryouts to be Truman the Tiger, the school mascot. I got the job, and for the next four years, I ran around in a tiger suit at Mizzou.

    When I graduated college, I had this mascot résumé, and I had a human résumé. I somehow get my first job working for the St. Louis Cardinals, playing their mascot, Fredbird. Then I get a call from the Kansas City Chiefs. They were starting up a new mascot program — this new KC Wolf character — and wanted to know if I was interested. I’m like, in football they play 10 home games in the fall and the winter. And in baseball, they play 81 games in the summer. I’m not the brightest guy in the world, but I knew that sounded like a pretty good deal.

    So, I interviewed with the Chiefs, and I fell in love with them. I never dreamed that it would turn into a career. I originally thought I’d do it for a couple of years, then get a real job like everybody else. Thirty-four years later, I’m sitting in a Vegas hotel room getting ready to do my fourth Super Bowl.

    Dan Meers has to be careful he doesn’t drive the four-wheeler too fast.

    It feels like I know half the population of Kansas City

    It’s a fun job, don’t get me wrong. I love what I do. But I don’t just throw on a costume on a Sunday morning, do the game, and then wait until the next one rolls around. We do appearances all the time.

    I’ve walked five women down the aisle dressed as KC Wolf. I said, if I’m going to do this, I need to get a tuxedo so I can at least look good. So I went to my seamstress. She’s like, “Yeah, I think I could do that.” Now I’ve actually got a tuxedo that fits KC Wolf. I’ve been the best man in like 10 or 11 weddings. I didn’t even know who the groom was. I stood in a wolf suit, wearing a tuxedo, holding a ring in my paw. Last year, I got to be a flower girl.

    I do appearances constantly. It can be at hospitals, community events, banks, grocery stores, parades, and festivals of all types. It’s always a variety. That’s what keeps the job interesting. The best part is the relationship you build with so many people. When I moved to Kansas City, I think I knew two people that I went to college with. At this point, I feel like I know about half the population.

    This week, ahead of the Super Bowl, we’ve got 42 KC Wolf appearances in Kansas City. And here in Vegas, I would say we will do 15 to 18 plus the game. It’s just crazy busy.

    I did KC Wolf by myself for about 15 years, but it just got to a point where it was so busy that I said I’d have to have some more flexibility because I love being a mascot, but what I love more than that is my wife and my kids. I told the team, “I love this job, but I’m not going to sacrifice my family while I’m out entertaining other people’s kids.”

    I’ve got several guys who help me now. They’ve all got their own costumes. But I’m still in charge of a wolf pack.

    The stunt that nearly killed me

    I also do a lot of speaking. A little over 10 years ago, I just about lost my life doing a stunt at the stadium. I fell about 70 feet. I was only supposed to drop about 20 feet. I broke seven ribs, had a collapsed lung, shattered my tailbone, cracked my sacrum, and got a big gash in the back of my left leg that required a lot of stitches. My worst injury was I broke the T12 vertebrae. The first Chiefs game I missed in 24 years was because I was getting titanium rods installed in my back to stabilize my spine.

    I spent nine days in the hospital and six months off work doing therapy and rehab. The first couple of weeks I wondered what I would even be able to go back and do. But I was on year 24. I’m like, “Who wants to stop at 24 when you’ve got your 25th anniversary right in front of you?”

    I’m very grateful to work for an organization like the Chiefs that supports its employees. During those months off work, I knew I could sit around and feel sorry for myself, deal with all this pain, or I could do something productive with my time. So I wrote a book.

    The funny thing about writing a book is people think you’re smarter than you really are. Then I started doing corporate speaking and learned that if you’re not boring, you can make people laugh, and you’ve got a good message to share that you get invited to other places.

    My SpongeBob SquarePants boxer shorts

    I wouldn’t consider myself a superstitious guy. But I do have one — I don’t know if it’s superstition or not, but I wear a pair of SpongeBob SquarePants boxer shorts under my wolf suit every game. That’s probably more than people want to know about KC Wolf.

    I wore Homer Simpson boxer shorts for years, but we’d get all the way to the playoffs, and then we’d end up losing. And I’m like, “Forget you, Homer Simpson. I’m done with you.” So I got rid of those and got myself a pair of SpongeBob Squarepants, and the next year, we won the Super Bowl. And I’ve been wearing them ever since. I’ll have them on again this Sunday at the game. They don’t exactly look good, but they work.

    I once heard that if you ask a man his occupation, you find out how he pays his bills. But if you ask a man his preoccupation, you discover his life’s passion. I pay my bills running around in a costume, acting like a nut. What I’m truly passionate about is three things: Number one is my faith. Number two, my family. And number three is just using my life to make a positive impact in this world.

    I feel like my occupation and my calling are kind of the same. I get paid to go out and hopefully make a positive impact in this world by bringing laughter and smiles to others.

    Read the original article on Business Insider

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