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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Sir Carl finds home in Upper Sayles

<ny odd ideas, the inspiration to obtain a Carleton Knights mascot arose late one weekend night. The night after a fall 2008 football game, Cheerboys Jimmy Rothschild ’12 and Griffin Williams ’12 found themselves discussing Carleton’s lack of a physical Knights representative.

“We decided it was kind of silly that Carleton didn’t have a mascot, not even a picture of a knight,” said Williams. After looking up a metal helmet on eBay to wear while cheering at football games, the two began wondering if it would be possible to assemble an entire suit of armor, piece by piece. To their surprise, they found a complete suit of armor up for auction in Germany, priced at $800.

After some haggling, Rothschild and Williams received notification that the suit was en route. Then, the problem of funding arose. $800 may be a low price for a medieval suit of armor, but it still makes quite a dent in the average student’s budget. After appealing to the CSA and the alumni association with no immediate response, Rothschild and Williams turned to parents, using their new helmet as a collection dish at a football game during Parents’ Weekend. This tactic, although picturesque, only recouped a fraction of the armor’s cost.

Eventually, two anonymous donations remedied the lack of financial backing. When they received notification of the support, “we were running around campus screaming,” reminisced Rothschild. Soon after, both CSA and alumni agreed to provide funding as well, leaving Rothschild and Williams with enough money to not only repay their expenses for buying and shipping the suit of armor, but also to cover the cost of a display case.

However, the battle was not yet won. “The idea originally was that we’d wear the suit to games as a mascot,” Rothschild explained. But the 80-pound suit of armor is too unwieldy for practical use. Instead, Rothschild and Williams began to seek a permanent display for the knight, whom they dubbed Sir Carl. Moving Sir Carl into a permanent home became an entirely new quest, one that lasted almost an entire year.

For the rest of the ’08-’09 school year, Sir Carl resided in Williams’ dorm room while Rothschild and Williams sought a permanent residence for him. Rothschild summarized Sir Carl’s housing process as “a constant stream of emails from the end of October, when we got the money, through now. . . about how to display it.”

They contacted the administration, facilities, and campus activities, but each source kept referring them to a different authority. The situation “became really frustrating. Once [the armor] actually got here, they didn’t know what to do about it. Nobody thought they had the authority to make a decision,” said Rothschild. “There were a lot of emails that didn’t get responded to,” Williams agreed.

The maze of bureaucracy they encountered was unexpected. “I didn’t know what I was getting into. It’s been quite a surprise,” admitted Williams.”

Finally, during 8th week of this term, Sir Carl received permission to make Upper Sayles his permanent home. All that remains now is to build an appropriate display case for the knight, a job that will not fall to Rothschild and Williams.

As the long process of installing Sir Carl on campus draws to a close, both students agree that despite the frustrations, the experience has been worth it. “It’s a saga, certainly,” summarized Rothschild. “Turning from this goofy idea we came up with at 4 in the morning to a real thing – it was really fun.” The students hope that Sir Carl will become a campus fixture.

As Williams said, “It would be cool to leave this kind of legacy to Carleton.”

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