When the Winnipeg Blue Bombers lost the final of the CFL West Division on Sunday, he left a large bird on a long branch.
James Deighton, who will mark his 30th birthday as the mascot of birds, known as Boomer – half of the duo Buzz and Boomer – made a commitment a few years ago that he might regret.
He said he would not retire until the Bombers won the Gray Cup again. When the team fell short on Sunday to reach the big game, it extended the drought of the Blue and Gold championship to 28 years.
"It's like a crusade right now, you might say. At this point, I do not want to be the guy who leaves without the job," said Deighton, 55, who spends his days as Air Canada's financial agent.
"In my first year in 1988, we had a win and I thought," This is so easy, winning the Gray Cups, "and in 1990 we won again.I thought:" Okay, every two years we'll win. "
The Bombers reached the championship five times since the last one in 1990 – 1992, 1993, 2001, 2007 and 2011 – but did not go over.
Despite all this time since the team and its players were paraded for the last time in the center of the city as heroes, the fans waited, Deighton said, tilting his hat at them.
"Our fans are fantastic. I have a lot of respect for them and would like to celebrate with them."
Soon at the end of the West against the Steaders of Calgary, Deighton began making plans to make many high fives.
"I thought," That's it, this is the year ", and then things started to fall," he said. "Calgary seemed to be standing up and, sure enough, the bottom line was disappointing."
<p class = "canvas-atom screen text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Replacement of injuries"data-reactid =" 42 ">Replacement of injuries
Deighton, who proudly sports a Gray Cup ring engraved from the last championship in 1990 – given to him as a team gift – began in costume as an emergency call.
His friend was the team's marketing director at the time and invited Deighton to attend a side-line match.
The person who played like Buzz fell with an injury and Deighton got into the rhythm and was "lousy," he said.
People who did not know he was in the costume talked about how Buzz's timing and timing were bad that day. Still, he kept the show moving to Boomer when Buzz was healed.
"I put the work into understanding the audience, our fans, what makes them work, and also the flow of the game, in addition to creating skits," Deighton said.
"In doing so, I learned the mascot job."
From the beginning, he saw about a dozen people coming and going as the Buzz character, as the demands and physical exhaustion of the work charged the price.
"When you're dealing with a very humid day, it's really dangerous. You need to be fit," said Deighton, who goes to the gym every day.
When you are dealing with a very humid day, it is really dangerous. You need to be fit. – James Deighton
Now he trains other people to perform and the duties were spread by several people, with a team of nine sharing the role.
Deighton still does the day-game antics, but the larger group shares the annual public and community appearances of 180 years.
Those include a few this coming weekend.
While not behind a bank with players in Blue and Gold, Deighton (and Boomer) will be at the Gray Cup in Edmonton.
He will perform with a Manitoba Touchdown fantasy, a Manitoba-style social event featuring bands, autographs of players, a silent auction, and Old Dutch fries.
He will also be at Bomber House, the team's official fan base during the Gray Cup Festival.
"And I'll be playing the game, like myself."