Lindbergh senior Tony Madison lives two different lives. A self-described “shy, nerdy” kid, Madison transforms into a “high energy and outgoing performer” when he dons the The Lindbergh Eagle.
Most of his peers know Madison is the mascot. But he’s careful to keep it from his younger fans, especially the little ones he entertainments before and after the game.
“I went to Lindbergh football games when I was younger, and saw the Eagle mascot take his head off,” he said. It spoiled the magic.
So Madison stays in character for hours on game days. He suits up at home, then travels to the gym for the basketball game. The eagle head doesn’t come off until he returns to his car nearly three or four hours later. “I want the kids to remember him in a position and not negative by staying in character until no one is around,” he said.
From the time the Eagle enters the gym to the time he leaves, the Mascot will embrace at least 40 children, be photographed more than 15 times with students from both home and visiting teams, will do nearly the same routines as the Lindbergh Cheerleaders and play a little hammed-up hoops.
“It’s like doing a workout in a sauna room,” he said after pulling his head off during a water break, carefully out of view of the fans. Beads of sweat roll off his face, and it’s why Madison packs two or more bottles of water to each game.
He started his freshman year, sharing the position with several other students until his junior year when he went full time at football and basketball games. This year is the first year he has also had a complete mascot outfit by adding feet to the outfit. “We wore tennis shoes, it looked a little weird,” he said of prior years.
Madison hopes he could become another mascot in college, like Washington State University mascot Butch or even the Seahawks mascot Blitz.
The hardest job about being a mascot is not talking. “I get kids who ask me all kinds of questions, but I can only answer yes or no,” he said. “Once in a while I will forget and slip.”
Just this season Madison has become more outgoing in his interactions with the crowd or even opposing teams fans. He will fly through the band during timeouts, run down the court to the student section and back. The Eagle even challenges fans to staring contests — but he never blinks.
He is 110% all natural entertainment.
With just a few remaining basketball games, Madison plans to start looking for his replacement. Of the three Renton area high schools, the Lindbergh Eagle is the only continuous mascot. It’s Madison’s parting hope that he can find a student who will continue and improve what he has built over the last four years.
The Eagle’s favorites:
Favorite Food – Cheese Pizza
Favorite subject in school – History
Favorite Book – James Patterson’s Alex Cross
Favorite Music – AC/DC
Least Favorite subject in school – Math