PHILADELPHIA, PA (WTXF) The Saint Joseph's University Hawks have been tipping off their season the same way for 106 years, but this year there is something different--a new mascot.
FOX 29 Photojournalist Bill Rohrer has the story.
Timmy Parks was awarded the prestigious position this year as the Hawk mascot, fulfilling a lifelong dream of his.
"Growing up I just went to all the games," Timmy Parks says.
As Timmy became older, he hoped one day to be part of the Saint Joseph basketball team, not as a player, but as the Hawk.
Before this years' game against Drexel University 36 students had worn the Hawk uniform--Timmy Parks is now the 37th.
And becoming the Hawk was no easy task.
The credentials include having a letter of recommendation from a faculty member, writing an application an essay, and enduring several interviews, including one with Head Basketball Coach, Phil Martelli.
"This kid was born and raised to be the Hawk. Not a Hawk. We have 4000 hawks on campus, but to be the Hawk," Martelli says.
The reward for the process is well worth it. If you earned the position as the Hawk, not only are you given the privilege of representing the University, you are also awarded a scholarship for the entire school year.
The tradition of the mascot is that throughout an entire basketball game the hawk will never stop flapping his wings; whether it's on the sidelines, team huddles, or even during timeouts.
It is estimated that the Hawk flaps his wings about 3,500 times in one game.
"I think my biggest fear is when I am running my figure 8's. Obviously you don't want to fall because that would be really embarrassing," Parks says. "The beginning part is actually the hardest, the first five minutes, then after that, I am comfortable I feel like I can go all day."
Parks is proud to represent his university and his background growing up as a Saint Joseph's University basketball fan makes the job that much more meaningful.
"It is like a childhood dream come true in one day. This is something I always wanted to do. I remember being a little kid I would flap my wings at a game," Parks says.