The final game wearing your high school uniform is usually an emotional one for every student-athlete.
Even if that uniform is The RC Lion mascot suit.
Andre Mosley slipped into the lion uniform for the final time when RC defeated Pope John, 57-45, in the Tournament of Champions final on March 23 in Trenton.
“After the game when we won and after all the pictures were taken – maybe even as the game was ending – I teared up a bit because I realized that was it,” Mosley said. “The last time I was in the lion suit was very bittersweet.
“When I was sitting by myself in the tunnel watching the girls’ (T of C final, which preceded the boys’ game), I was just thinking about how that was my last time in the suit. On the bus ride down (to Sun National Bank Center) I was really quiet and was listening to music like I usually do, then I got this really cool text (from a classmate) saying how much everyone at RC appreciates me doing this job and stuff and how I dedicated all four years to doing it. I honestly think I teared up a bit reading it but it made me really happy.”
Mosley (5-11, 150) is believed to be only the second Roselle Catholic student sport the lion suit during all four years of his/her scholastic career, joining Eleni Kostis (RC ’01), who’s also acknowledged as the first female to wear the traditional costume.
Rick O’Brien (RC ’84) was the first student to wear the lion suit after Roselle Catholic became a co-educational institution in September, 1983. Charles McBride is regarded as the first RC Lion, suiting up during the 63-64 school year.
“I am extremely proud to say that I was the Lion all four years at RC,” said Mosley, who graduated with Roselle Catholic’s Class of 2015 on May 31 in The Lions’ Den. “It means a lot to me. After my sophomore year, I kind of realized that this was my job, not like I had to do it but I loved doing it. I’m going to miss being to Lion because it was almost like an extension of me.
“I was even doing events that weren’t sports, like the Scholastic Olympics, which was a really cool event to do. Since I was the Lion for all four years I feel like I’ve left a legacy at RC, which is pretty amazing to me.”
But not surprising to Mosley’s classmates or teachers who knew him well.
“It was an honor to share the “Most School Spirit” senior superlative with Andre Mosley because I know how much he loves Roselle Catholic and how many different ways he conveyed his passion for RC,” said Ashley Skrec, valedictorian of RC’s Class of ’15.
Early in his career as the RC Lion, Mosley maintained a sense of anonymity, sometimes shocking schoolmates and members of the community when he revealed his identity.
“Miss Murin would say that if she had to guess who was in the suit she wouldn’t think it was me because I’m usually quiet in school but I was like a completely different person in the suit,” Mosley said of his English teacher.
“I was surprised that he was the mascot because it goes against the person I saw each day,” said Maureen Murin, chairperson of the RC English Department. “I thought of Andre as quiet and shy, but as the mascot he was fearless. I loved watching him with the little kids; he was so good with them.
“Andre is one of those kids that I’ll truly miss. He was a pleasure to teach. Always prepared, kind of my go-to kid because I knew he had done the work. In a day and age when people can easily say bad things about high school kids, we can point to Andre with great pride and say he was one of our nicest kids.
“The most impressive thing about Andre is that no matter what, he showed up in his mascot costume. He came out for Scholastic Olympics, Senior Nights, photo-ops when needed. Basically, he said yes frequently and took on a lot more than mascot duties.”
Indeed, Mosley, a Union resident, was far more than just The Lion, albeit an impressive one, during his scholastic career. Mosley’s list of extra-curricular activities included varsity volleyball, practice squad, a group of boys who compete against the varsity girls’ basketball team on a regular basis, Campus Ministry and Chess and Gaming Club.
For all of his contributions, Mosley was a co-winner of the Matthes Memorial Award (along with Christina Truncale) at RC’s spring sports Convocation. The Matthes Award is presented to an RC senior student-athlete who’s notably demonstrated dedication, perseverance, sportsmanship and commitment that sometimes might go unnoticed on a day-to-day basis.
“When I think of RC as a Marist school, a school that tries to instill values of humility and simplicity and presence in our students,
Andre is the quintessential example,” said senior religion teacher Tim Hagan (RC ’03), who also coaches girls’ basketball, volleyball and moderates the Chess and Gaming Club. “Andre has been involved in so many aspects of RC life, and in everything that he connects himself to he adds his humor, hard work, compassion, and intelligence to the equation.
“He is a natural leader in the sense that he pays attention to what is going on around him, recognizes what needs to be done, and then either does it himself or encourages someone else to step in. As the president of the Chess & Gaming club he brought the right balance of initiative and encouraging the underclassmen to organize events.”
Like many of the basketball players, and all student-athletes, he supported, Mosley followed the same pre-game schedule for contests in The Lions’ Den.
“I would always try to watch the JV games before the varsity played,” Mosley said. “No matter how close the game was, I would usually go to get changed with around (4:00) left in the game. After I was done changing I would wait outside in the Large Instruction Room, next to the Library, where the teams would run into the gym and wait a few minutes then go out.
“With a minute left of warmups I would slowly make my way to center court that way when the buzzer went off I was there. I would stand there for the national anthem and player intros, high-fiving our team. Then I would run a jump and try to touch the backboard, which was hard without grip because of the feet, but I somehow managed to do it. Then I would go stand at the top of the bleachers close to the entrance to the gym. It seemed to work because we rarely lost at home especially this past season where neither varsity basketball team lost at home.”
Performing as the Lion, at least to Mosley, involved some thinking to go along with the fun and games.
“There is a mental aspect of being The Lion,” he said. “I would get pumped up before every game. That way, when I went out in front of everyone I was always interacting with people or just high energy, especially for when exciting plays happened. Listening to music helped me get pumped up for games. I walked around with headphones before games listening to music because it would help me get pumped up.”
This RC Lion never seemed to sleep. In or out of the mascot suit, Mosley could usually be spotted supporting his schoolmates at some Roselle Catholic game or activity.
“It seemed like Andre was always there to support the girls’ basketball team, whether it was as a reliable member of the Practice Squad, the Lion mascot at our home games or just as a fan at our away games,” said Ashley Skrec, member of a team that posted a combined 50-5 record the past two seasons. “When we played at New Providence last season – and their section of the bleachers had a big and loud student section – I can vividly recall seeing Andre and fellow practice squad members supporting our team in the bleachers. By the end of the game Andre and our students were as loud as the New Providence section.
“Andre provided tremendous energy to the Roselle Catholic community at a wide variety of events. Following Andre, the next student to wear the RC Lion costume is going to have very big shoes – or paws – to fill.”
Mosley is ready to become a Nittany Lion. He will major in computer engineering when he attends Penn State Erie: The Behrend College.
Whether he wears a mascot uniform or not in college, Mosley leaves Raritan Road with a treasure chest of memories as the RC Lion King.
“After the last basketball game, it was really cool having a lot of freshman and sophomores come up to me asking if they could be the Lion next year,” Mosley said.
“Even though I have no control over that, it just felt cool to be looked up to like that.”