Eric Topolewski, a recent history graduate and BHC Scholar, plans to pursue his dream of becoming a professional sports mascot. He's gained experience from working at Walt Disney World as a performer to serving as UCF's very own Knightro for the past four years! Eric is now interning with the Indianapolis Colts, taking on the role of their mascot Blue, developing the skills necessary to become a professional mascot.

What will you be doing with the Indianapolis Colts? Why were you interested in pursuing this?
I am working as the 2020-2021 intern with the Indianapolis Colts mascot, Blue, assisting him with gameday operations, school shows, social media, and performing as his backup as needed. During my time with the Colts, I will be learning the ins and outs of being a professional mascot and gaining the experience and exposure needed to jump into the professional mascot world. Blue has one of the best mascot programs in the nation, and he offers this internship to help train and develop future professional mascots.

How did you achieve this? What extracurricular activities/leadership positions have you been involved with at UCF?
I spent my four years at UCF as Knightro, the best college mascot in the world. I also served as the Orlando Solar Bears mascot, Shades, the Cure Bowl mascot, Cure Bear, and spent time working at Walt Disney World as a performer. I fell in love with character work my freshman year when I saw the impact Knightro had on the community. I had the opportunity to hold various leadership roles within UCF Athletics such as team captain and [as] a member of the student-athlete advisory committee. I participated with Knight-Thon all four years at UCF, serving as the Spirit Team captain for Knight-Thon for two years, and was the recruitment director on the Knight-Thon executive board my senior year. The past four years, I have had the pleasure and privilege to witness lives completely changed by the characters I have portrayed. Whether it was a little kid that got to meet Knightro, or a guest that I got to make magic for at Disney, seeing the result has changed my life. All these positions have helped build my resume and prepared me for the life of a professional mascot.

What is your long-term goal? How will this help you get there?
My end goal is to become a professional mascot and work with a professional sports team. Blue’s internship is focused on developing the skills necessary to land a professional mascot job, as well as assist in the professional job hunt.

What advice do you have for others interested in doing this?
Not many people want to be professional mascots. However, if anyone is interested, my advice is the same I would give to anyone: never give up. I have been laughed at, not taken seriously, and ridiculed for my choice to follow my dream. Being a mascot is fun, but who could ever make a living at it? Why would I willingly want to do something like that? Why not get a “real job?” These are all real questions people have asked me when I tell them about my dream and my passion. Life often throws these same questions, or at least variations of them, at everyone. If there is something in your life that you truly believe in and have a passion for, never give up on it.

What is your favorite quote?
Walt Disney said, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” As the first one to graduate college in my family, at times this journey felt impossible. Getting a job in a field those closest to me knew nothing about seemed impossible. Doing something so risky terrified me. Time and again in my life, it has felt like the impossible was stacked against me. Time and time again, I did the impossible, and it truly was so much fun to do. My second quote really hits home for anyone that has a passion for serving others. P.T. Barnum said, “The noblest art in life is making others happy.” I have had the honor of living out this quote for the past four years, and I can truly say there is nothing more satisfying.