By Chris Calogero
Over the past decade, Camden County College sports teams have been accompanied by their loyal mascot, the Cougar. As he rallies the fans for an event, many people wonder about the face behind the mask.
There have been multiple students that have worn the Cougar’s uniform over the last few school years, but over the past two, there has been only one person. Wayne Stainrook, who is a sophomore at Camden County College, has filled the costume that so many students recognize.
For Stainrook, leading a wave of cheering fans is not a new thought. He has been walking the path of the mascot since his senior year at Paul VI High School. A long with his old days of pumping up the crowd, Stainrook has even been known to have a few scraps with opposing mascots.
At the annual Spring Fling event that takes place in the court yard of Camden County’s Jefferson Hall building, Stainrook put on the claws for one last time and agreed to let the world in on the life style of the Cougar.
It seems that the best treatment for a quiet audience is simply performing the “Wu-Tang,” explained Stainrook. Apparently in the case of the women department “It can be hit or miss… Mostly miss,” said Stainrook. Evidently the main perks that come with the position stay on the sidelines.
As far as getting excited for a performance, there seems to be an unknown episode that takes over while inside the suit. “There is a strange alter-ego phenomenon that occurs,” claims Stainrook. There is, however, one down side to wearing the uniform. When addressing the issue of going to the bathroom, he simply said, “You don’t”.
The efforts of this young sophomore have not gone unnoticed. Staff member Jacqueline Tenuto has been responsible for assigning the duties of the mascot for 5 years and spoke highly of what Stainrook has accomplished. “I do not have a favorite mascot, but Wayne has always shown pride in his work and has always been there when needed,” said Tenuto.
The complements did not stop with the staff, but were also voiced from the student body. “Wayne does not put on the Cougar outfit. The cougar outfit puts on Wayne,” said Mark Laughlin, who is a student at Camden County College and a friend of Stainrook’s since high school.
As Stainrook moves on and leaves his Cougar days behind him, many ask the question, will the next student to fill his shoes be as impressive? Although that question is yet to be answered, Wayne Stainrook, Mark Laughlin, and the rest of the student body can lead on knowing that when the time comes to closet the Cougar for the summer, it will be saying goodbye to hard earned experience of thrills and cheers.