My name is Timmy Parks and I am a senior accounting major at Saint Joseph’s University. In my almost four years on campus I have made countless memories, but perhaps some of my most unique and precious memories have come through my role as The Hawk mascot for the past two years. Here are my top five memories as The Hawk. Enjoy!
5. First Pitch at Phillies Game
During the summer of 2015, SJU went through a major change: Dr. Reed took over as president of the University. Once he took the reins, the Phillies invited President Reed to throw out the first pitch before one of their games. The Hawk was invited to accompany Dr. Reed as he took the mound at Citizens Bank Park.
It was a pleasure to be one of the first students to meet Dr. Reed. Afterward, my family and I were invited up to a suite to watch the game. The suite featured not only President Reed and his family, but also the national anthem performer, Miss America.
4. Flapping as Pope Francis drove down City Avenue
Perhaps the biggest event to occur during my time at SJU was the visit of Pope
Francis. Since the Pope was staying at St. Charles Seminary, he had to come down City Avenue to get into Center City for his events.
He passed SJU many times, and of course as Pope Francis came down City Avenue, The Hawk had to be there flapping him on!
3. “Hawk Mate” Weddings
I do not know if this happens at other schools, but at SJU, if two Hawks get married, they are referred to “Hawk Mates,” and what better way to celebrate the nuptials than an appearance by The Hawk.
To date, I have attended 18 weddings as The Hawk, including Brienne Ryan, Hawk #32. Every wedding is different. Sometimes The Hawk is invited by the bride or groom and other times a friend or family members invites The Hawk as a surprise. It is amazing to spread Hawk pride at weddings. Everyone is always so excited to see The Hawk and take pictures with the best mascot in college sports!
Maybe one day, The Hawk will appear at my wedding reception. 🙂
2. Red Envelope Deliveries
Nothing speaks to the University community more than when students and admissions staff, as well as The Hawk, take time to personally deliver admissions envelopes to students.
Last year, we left campus in the morning and traveled to six different local prospective students’ houses to hand deliver the good news. It was amazing seeing the smiles and reactions from the students and their families. This was a tradition established in 2014 and I am proud that have been able to take part in it. If you haven’t watched the video from last year, I would highly recommend you watch through this link.
1. Winning the Atlantic 10 Championship and Winning in the NCAA Tournament
While being The Hawk means being a figurehead for the University community, the main part of the job is flapping alongside the men’s basketball team at all their games. Nothing is more exciting at Saint Joseph’s University than when the basketball team goes to the NCAA tournament.
2015-2016 was a special team, compiling one of the best seasons in school history. The regular season was very successful, finishing 24-7 and earning the fourth seed in the conference tournament. The
Atlantic 10 tournament took place in Brooklyn at The Barclays Center. The Hawks were just about on the cutting line for an at large bid for the NCAA Tournament so we needed a strong showing in Brooklyn to earn the bid.
The first opponent was George Washington. We went into the locker room down 14 points, but the Hawks rallied to come back to win. We then went on to Dayton the following day by three points for a berth in the championship.
The night before the championship, head coach Phil Martelli asked my fellow basketball manager if we had packed a pair of scissors, because we would be needing them to cut down the nets after we beat VCU.
The Hawks beat VCU 87-74 on Sunday to capture our second Atlantic 10 championship in three years and an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. Following the game, the trophy was presented to us and each member of the team and staff got to cut a piece of the net to commemorate the championship. From there we returned to our hotel to watch the selection show with our families, friends, and fans who had made the trip. When they announced that we were going to be the #8 seed playing in Spokane, everyone became excited.
We flew out to Spokane, Washington and began our NCAA journey with a matchup against Cincinnati. In one of the best games of the tournament, Isaiah Miles hit a three pointer to put the Hawks up two to clinch the victory. That night, the whole country was tuned in to our game and people were fascinated with The Hawk. The Hawk even got its own Snapchat filter.
While the game vs. Oregon may have ended in a loss, it was still one of the best experiences of my life and the memories will stick with me forever.
Serving as The Hawk for two years has defined my college experiences and provided me with memories that will last a lifetime.