Pristap was home-schooled, but that never changed his passion for Springfield athletics, and the mascot brought out the best in him.

HOLLAND, Ohio — A mascot can add so much to a sports experience. If you’re at a game, they can pump up the crowd or liven up the event.

But for Jackson Pristap, it helped get him off the field and into the game.

Sometimes we can’t measure success by winning on the field or court. Sometimes the gain can be measured by how much we give to others.

“I always thought Springfield was just a community,” Springfield cheerleading coach Megan Cantu said. “What can we do to attract as many people as possible? Including people who don’t necessarily call our school home, but want to support us. Every time someone from our community reaches out to us, it really shows that Springfield is strong and how we go in there and perform and each one of us is part of the family.”

Jackson Pristap was home-schooled, but that didn’t change his passion for athletics at Springfield. Being a mascot has always been at the top of his dream list. He fell in love with the idea as a child and knew it was exactly where he was meant to be.

“I’ve always loved Muddy the Dirty Chicken and Spike the Walleye,” Pristap said. “I wanted to see what other professional teams had. I went through all the different professional leagues and saw what mascots they had. I just fell in love with the concept and wanted to be a part of it at some point in my life. When I had the chance to do it, I thought, “Why ask me?” Of course I will.”

The connection started with a simple email. Jackson’s father asked if there was an opening, and luckily there was. That was four years ago and he has never looked back. The skills he acquired behind the mask began to be applied in his everyday life.

“When I was in eighth grade, I had a really hard time talking to people outside of my friend group,” Pristap said. “While it’s still not very easy, it’s definitely easier than it used to be.”

“I think it helped a lot with his confidence,” said Jackson’s father, Mark Pristap. “It gives him something to be excited about every year, something he really loves to do.”

Jackson’s time as the Blue Devil mascot has come to an end, but he got his moment of glory on the first day of the football season. He was able to remove his mask for the first time in four years to reveal himself to the crowd. It’s a moment he won’t soon forget.

– It’s bitter, – said Pristap. “I had a great time during senior day last year, even though I knew it was my last football game. All the support that everyone gave me, especially during my senior years, it’s sad that it’s coming to an end, but I’m happy because people look up to you now in that regard.”

Jackson’s life has changed as a result of being the Blue Devils’ mascot for the past four years, but he’s also helped a lot of people in Springfield.


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