Everyone else in the world seems to be hyped about the World Cup, but for the past four days, the only football chatter I saw online was about was the new would-be mascot for Lobos BUAP, a team in Mexico’s Liga MX.
Photos and videos of this absolute lad started circulating on Twitter earlier this week. Without researching its provenance – I don’t know Spanish and I just assumed it was a cool Underworld Lycan / Dog Soldiers mashup costume someone wore to a convention – I tweeted a dumb quip and moved on. Then word started spreading on Twitter and in the media that this was actually a controversial new mascot for Lobas BUAP, whose previous mascot designs had been a bit more conventional.
I love this bit of editorializing from La Verdad [translated from Spanish]:
The primary objective of having a mascot is to capture the affinity of the little ones and to be able to interact with the fans in the stadiums, but the new Lobos BUAP team mascot has generated controversy due to its fear-giving aspect, having a height of almost two meters.
I can only speak for myself, but seeing a two-meter-tall werewolf roaming the crowd at a stadium when I was a little one would have made me a football fanatic for life.
News sources couldn’t pin down whether this horror-centric new design was a gimmick or a longer-term change established for the duration of Torneo Apertura 2018. That’s because the whole “new mascot” story was a misunderstanding that got blown out of proportion as football and pop culture sites repeated it. According to an article posted to Mileno today [translated from Spanish]:
The supposed werewolf mascot that went viral in social networks is nothing more than a project separate from the professional team, since its developers were only visiting the University Stadium.
The suit is actually a project by brothers Erick and Ivan Olarte, pictured above with their family. The latter is an architect who graduated from UAP, and he and his brother created the suit in their spare time for the sake of the challenge. The Olarte brothers have worn “Licaon” – as the suit is called – to a variety of events in the past few years, and while the media attention of the past week has been a wild experience, they are already setting their sites on their next project.
Disappointed? I am too, a little, but I also personally find “two brothers made a radical animatronic werewolf suit in their garage” a more exciting story than “football team tries to psych out its competitors by terrorizing fans”.