"Baaaaahhhh": Shadowing the ChivaFighter
During last weekend’s final game of the season, cdchivasusa.com shadowed one of the most popular members of the team. He has been a part of the Red-and-White for years, he loves making kids happy and he has posed for countless photos with the team’s biggest fans. Jonny Bornstein? Paulo Nagamura? Nope. The ChivaFighter.
The ChivaFighter has been defending the honor of Chivas USA and making fans smile for years. On non-gamedays, he can be found taking naps on the practice fields, lifting weights and visiting kids in the local community.
On game days, the ChivaFighter is especially busy. He gets to the stadium a few hours before kickoff to make sure he can greet as many fans as possible. He spends most of the pregame strolling through ChivaTown, leaving a trail of smiles in his wake. It’s truly impossible for fans of any age to see the ChivaFighter and not break into a smile. There is just something about the way he interacts with fans. He poses for pictures, gives hugs and high-fives to young fans, and even signs a few autographs. He enjoys sneaking up on fans, and tapping them on the shoulder, delighting in their surprised reactions when they turn around to see him.
One young fan was especially excited to meet the ChivaFighter. After getting a high-five, the boy gleefully yelled “I touched the goat!!” to everyone within earshot.
Though his mischievous attitude is omnipresent, the Chivafighter can adapt to any situation. About 30 minutes before Saturday’s game, he made an appearance in one of the Home Depot Center’s corporate suites, adjusting his friendly high-five into a more professional handshake. The mood in the suite changed quickly, as the ChivaFighter walked around, mingling with the business suit-clad adults, and even jokingly smuggling some food from the catered buffet.
Right before kickoff, the ChivaFighter heads out onto the field. He walks around hyping up the fans, and helps set up the high-five line. During the national anthem he takes his place in line with the Chivas USA starters, and poses in the team’s pre-game photo. Seconds before kickoff, he whispers some last minute advice to a few of the players. While it’s unclear how many of Chivas USA’s players actually speak “goat,”striker Justin Braun seemed to be listening intently to the ChivaFighter’s tips.
During Saturday’s first half, the ChivaFighter walked around the stadium’s track, tossing shirts into the crowd, and helping the Halloween-costumed Chiva Girls pass out candy.
After a lap around the stadium, the ChivaFighter was a bit tired. Back in the locker room, he lifted the top off one of the giant Gatorade coolers and drank deeply. He needed to be ready for halftime, when he would play ‘keeper against Chivas fans in a penalty shootout.
Though he didn’t make many saves in the shootout, the ChivaFighter had a legitimate excuse. In snubbing goalie gloves, our brave mascot was taking a risk. He got a hoof onto a hard shot from one of the fans, and while he acted as if nothing was amiss during the remaining kicks, his right hoof was in real pain.
The ChivaFighter spent the remainder of halftime in the trainer’s office, eventually leaving with a taped finger, ice, and a splint. While other mascots may have taken the rest of the night off, the ChivaFighter knew it was his duty to fight through discomfort for the fans. He put on a brave face and got back to work in the second half, doing another lap around the stadium and tossing more shirts into the crowd. He even continued to high-five fans, but cautiously, and with his other hoof!
All in all, it was a good night for the ChivaFighter. The injured hoof is healing up nicely and he is happy to get some rest, but he is sad there are no more matches this season. During the offseason, he’ll continue to patrol the Home Depot Center, meet with fans at community events, and stay on the lookout for his archrival Cosmo. But he is already counting down the days to next season- The Home Depot Center can get a little lonely during the winter.