A 14-year-old is living his dream as mascot Coco the Cardinal

SAN ANTONIO — He pulls on yellow tights. Then he puts his furry red body over his T-shirt and sports shorts and stretches his fingers into black gloves. That is followed by shoving your feet into a pair of large cardinal clones.

He pulls the chinstrap under his chin and seals a large, red bird’s head atop his 5-foot, 4-inch frame, transforming into Coco the Cardinal.

Acting as St. Matthew Catholic School’s mascot is more than fun, hi-jinks and high-fives for 14-year-old Gavino Garcia – it’s a childhood dream now a reality. Ten years ago, Gavino was with his family at the St. Matthew Sports Complex for a football game. One look at the crimson mascot on the field and the world changed.

The toddler said to his mother, “When I grow up, I want to be a cardinal!”

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Gavino Garcia, 14, gets into character as the school’s mascot, Coco the Cardinal, at the St. Matthew Catholic School Athletic Center on Thursday. Performing as St. Matthew Catholic School’s mascot Coco the Cardinal is more than fun, hijinks and high fives for Gavino — it’s been his dream since he was 4. Earlier this month, Gavino, a National Cheerleaders Association All-American Mascot, represented San Antonio at the Citrus Bowl in Florida.

Gavino Garcia, 14, holds the head of the school’s mascot, Coco the Cardinal, as he leaves the St. Matthew Catholic School Athletic Center on Thursday. Performing as St. Matthew Catholic School’s mascot Coco the Cardinal is more than fun, hijinks and high fives for Gavino — it’s been his dream since he was 4. Earlier this month, Gavino, a National Cheerleaders Association All-American Mascot, represented San Antonio at the Citrus Bowl in Florida.

Gavino Garcia, 14, is pictured with the head of the school’s mascot, Coco the Cardinal, at the St. Matthew Catholic School Athletic Center in San Antonio, Texas, Jan. 19, 2023. Acting as St. Matthew Catholic School’s mascot Coco the Cardinal is more than fun, hijinks and high fives for Gavino. – It has been his dream since he was four. Earlier this month, Gavino, a National Cheerleaders Association All-American Mascot, represented San Antonio at the Citrus Bowl in Florida.

Gavino Garcia, 14, carries the head of Coco the Cardinal leaving the St. Matthew Catholic School Athletic Center on Thursday. Performing as St. Matthew Catholic School’s mascot Coco the Cardinal is more than fun, hijinks and high fives for Gavino — it’s been his dream since he was 4. Earlier this month, Gavino, a National Cheerleaders Association All-American Mascot, represented San Antonio at the Citrus Bowl in Florida.

“As a mother, I was so happy and proud,” said Christiane Garcia. “He entertains the crowd and brings a smile to everyone’s face.”

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For the past three years, the eighth-grader has entertained classmates, families and teachers at St. Matthew’s football, basketball and soccer games.

Gavino performed with 38 other mascots and more than 600 cheerleaders at the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl in Orlando on January 2. His parents, Christiane and Rene Garcia, and older sister, Tiannah, watched Gavino on a pre-show as he strutted with an assortment of larger-than-life mascots on the 45-yard line.

Gavino Garcia, 14, gets into character as the school’s mascot, Coco the Cardinal, at the St. Matthew Catholic School Athletic Center on Thursday. Performing as St. Matthew Catholic School’s mascot Coco the Cardinal is more than fun, hijinks and high fives for Gavino — it’s been his dream since he was 4. Earlier this month, Gavino, a National Cheerleaders Association All-American Mascot, represented San Antonio at the Citrus Bowl in Florida.

“I was excited to represent St. Matthew and San Antonio at the Citrus Bowl,” Gavino said. “It was really fun.”

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Rene Garcia said he was very proud to see his son on the field, “shaking his tail feathers.”

Last July, Gavino attended the National Cheerleaders Association Cheer Camp at the Horseshoe Bay Resort. Gavino was one of four middle school mascots competing against a field of high school students. He is a two-time NCA All-American Mascot and back-to-back Best All-Around Mascot.

Jubilation runs in the family. Gavino’s mother was a cheerleader at the University of Texas at San Antonio; his sister, a sophomore at Antonian College Preparatory High School, is also a cheerleader.

“It’s not just a matter of putting on a costume, walking on the field and waving,” athletic director Chris Juarez said. “They are actually part of routines on and off the pitch. Our cardinal symbolizes our school. The kids run up to him and take pictures. He’s like a celebrity.”

Gavino’s fan base spans all ages. At an away football game, a little girl ran up to him and shouted: “Coco is my best friend!”

Gavino Garcia, 14, steps into oversized shoes and gets into character as the school’s mascot, Coco the Cardinal, at the St. Matthew Catholic School Athletic Center on Thursday. Performing as St. Matthew Catholic School’s mascot Coco the Cardinal is more than fun, hijinks and high fives for Gavino — it’s been his dream since he was 4. Earlier this month, Gavino, a National Cheerleaders Association All-American Mascot, represented San Antonio at the Citrus Bowl in Florida.

The toddler’s mother invited him to her 4th birthday party. When he arrived, the sister fired a confetti cannon from the car, blasting glitter into the air that rained down on the mascot.

“We made her a shirt that says ‘Coco’s best friend,'” Gavino said.

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Behind the scenes, Gavino’s parents help him prepare for performances, drive him to games, lug bags and pull him into costume.

Christina Garcia brushes the fur on her 14-year-old son Gavino Garcia’s mascot head while in character as Coco the Cardinal at the St. Matthew Catholic School Athletic Center on Thursday. Performing as St. Matthew Catholic School’s mascot Coco the Cardinal is more than fun, hijinks and high fives for Gavino — it’s been his dream since he was 4. Earlier this month, Gavino, a National Cheerleaders Association All-American Mascot, represented San Antonio at the Citrus Bowl in Florida.

He has been the school’s mascot for three years, performing high-energy, crowd-favourite songs.

The audition for the role is a three-day process. Gavino created a two-minute skit that he performed in front of the coaches and judges.

Acting is more than just fun for Gavino—it helps prepare him for his ultimate passion—the theater. Since he was 5, Gavino has been performing at the Woodlawn Theatre. In May, he portrayed Bruce in the theater’s production of “Matilda Jr., The Musical.” He has also appeared in a version of his favorite musical, On Your Feet, as a young Emilio Estefan and Estefan’s son Nayib. He dreams of one day starring in a Broadway show in New York City.

Gavino’s ties to mascots may have been predetermined. The San Antonio Spurs Coyote has been in his life since he was an infant. The wily mascot visited Gavino and his sister at their places every year on their birthdays. In later years, the family befriended Rob Wicall, who performed part-time as the Spurs Coyote from 1996 to 2000 and full-time from 2000 to 2016.

“Rob has been a wonderful mentor to Gavino,” said Christiane Garcia. “Receiving advice from the former spore wolf, it doesn’t get any better than that.”

Gavino agreed. He said his mentor gave valuable advice on his skits and performances.

“Gavino brought all that raw talent, drive, dedication and willingness to listen,” Wicall said. “All I did was sprinkle my experience into the mix and the rest is cardinal history!”

Christina Garcia brushes the fur of her son Gavino Garcia’s, 14, while in character as Coco the Cardinal at the St. Matthew Catholic School Athletic Center on Thursday. Performing as St. Matthew Catholic School’s mascot Coco the Cardinal is more than fun, hijinks and high fives for Gavino — it’s been his dream since he was 4. Earlier this month, Gavino, a National Cheerleaders Association All-American Mascot, represented San Antonio at the Citrus Bowl in Florida.

The teenager said he has entertained thoughts of taking on the local NBA mascot’s exploits.

“Maybe when I’m not performing on Broadway, I can be the Spurs Coyote,” Gavino said.

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The night before the family left for Florida, his mother drove him, in costume, to San Antonio International Airport for photos that wouldn’t be possible the next day—the crowds would have swarmed him.

She took pictures of her son in the almost empty Terminal A, pulled a suitcase and went up an escalator. And there’s a photo of him at a Southwest Airlines check-in counter, where the representative was smiling but looking tired.

Gavino thought she might have been tired after the busy Christmas travel season. His surprise appearance delighted the representative, who took a selfie with the creepy red bird. Looking through the black net to the open-beaked character, he beamed at being able to lift the woman’s spirits.

“Look at the joy you bring this woman,” Christiane Garcia told her son later. “She was so grateful. The little things are important in life. That’s why you do what you do.”

Why is the feast of St. Matthew red?

Liturgical colour: red Liturgically it is used to celebrate the fire of the Holy Spirit (for example at Pentecost) and the blood of the martyrs. This may interest you : Rams Cheerleaders Help Cancer Patient’s Dreams Come True: WATCH. God has entrusted us with the news of reconciliation.

What happened to St Matthew? Matthew was martyred in Ethiopia. St. Matthew is depicted with a spear in medieval art, which some believe is a symbol of his martyrdom.

What does St Matthew symbolize? His symbol is an angel, and he is the patron saint of tax collectors and accountants.

Why is St. Matthew represented with an angel? A winged man, or angel, came to represent Saint Matthew, because his book opens with the human descendants of Jesus [folio 16v]. A winged lion stands for Mark because he emphasizes Christ’s kingly dignity, and opens his book with John the Baptist roaring like a lion in the wilderness [folio 18v].

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What religion is St Matthews?

Saint Matthew’s Story Matthew was a Jew who worked for the occupying Roman forces, collecting taxes from other Jews. The Romans were not particular about what the “tax farmers” got for themselves. See the article : Panthers fired Matt Rhule after 1-4 start; Wilks is in charge. Hence the latter, known as “publicans”, were generally hated as traitors by their fellow Jews.

Who is St. Matthew’s patron saint? Saint Matthew is the patron saint of bankers and tax authorities.

What is Saint Matthew famous for? Matthew was one of the twelve apostles and the traditional author of the first gospel of the New Testament.

What does Saint Matthew mean? Matthew: Saint and Patron Saint He may have received the name Matthew (translated from Hebrew to mean “Jehovah’s gift”) when he became a follower of Jesus. His position as tax collector for the Romans classified him as a publican.

What kind of church is St Matthews?

St. Matthews Baptist Church is a Protestant Christian church in the Free Church tradition. On the same subject : Raiders Jaguars Football | National sport | heraldchronicle.com.

What is Saint Matthew’s Churches Tulsa Oklahoma? Matthew’s Churches, formerly St. Matthew Publishing, Inc., is an evangelical Christian ministry. It is primarily a mail-based ministry with an address in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with churches in New York City and Houston.

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