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Hi Mom, Send Sheep: Tim Derk Interview
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Tim Derk is a legend in the mascot world. He is the man behind the mask and responsible for bringing the Spurs Coyote to life for the first 21 years.
In February 2004, Tim suffered a massive stroke, essentially ending his illustrious costumed career. But Tim's story doesn't end there. Since early 2004 Tim has been fighting his way back and doing so with the same smile and laugh that delighted fans for years.
Now his story is available in the new book, Hi Mom, Send Sheep.
Gameops.com: Why did you want to write this book?
Tim Derk: One, I began doing public speaking after the stroke and nearly half of the people I met pleaded that I do so. Two, part of me wanted to help "soon to be" rehabbing stroke victims (there are 700,000 people a year that suffer a stroke) and three, part of me wanted to answer the many questions people had of the madcap world of being a mascot.
It's important to understand that there is humor in anything (even the rigors of stroke recovery) if seen with the right attitude.
Lastly, I also wanted to leave some sort of musing for my kids for when they're older. They have an idea of today's players but not much knowledge of what their Dad did. Back in '83, when I started Coyote, Henry Cisneros was our mayor, Tim Duncan was at home asleep in his crib, and Tony Parker was just a sonogram.
Gameops.com: What was the most rewarding part of the process?
Tim Derk: It sounds trivial but, in writing the book, I found that my dexterity in my once paralyzed right hand has drastically improved! I used the "backspace bar" more than I care to admit in the beginning.
Most important was the opportunity to show that I could not have done it alone. I was indeed "surrounded by Eagles" that helped me each and every day.
Moral of the book? When attempting ANYTHING, just give it your very best shot and then accept what comes.
Gameops.com: Who should read this book? Fellow performers, people in San Antonio, Road Runners?
Tim Derk: Very good question. I was very pleased to see, upon reflection, that what my book shows is that all the preteen shenanigans, all the time on stage, were nothing but preparations for what I was ultimately meant to do. In hindsight, you can see a clear "road map" of entertaining blood in my veins that was not to be denied.
My Mom once told someone that when I was a baby that my first words were "Ta Da!"
I hope the book also shows that consistency and perseverance reap their own rewards. Do your very best at whatever you do and good things are bound to happen.
Silly Jon, you know Road Runners can't read.
At the age of 47, Tim Derk's career as mascot for the San Antonio Spurs was soaring as the team headed toward their second NBA Championship. That career ended abruptly when he suffered a massive stroke. Despite remarkable success in regaining speech and movement, Derk knew there was no going back. Hi Mom, Send Sheep! is his fond look at his years as the Coyote. Beginning with his recruitment from a community theater stage, through the early days when he carried his improvised costume to the arena in garbage bags, to the heady championship years, Derk paints a vivid picture of his life in the NBA. Wry anecdotes of Coyote misadventures are interspersed with vivid reminiscences of the owners, managers, and players who helped build one of the great sports franchises. Part sports memoir, part inspirational tale, Hi Mom, Send Sheep! is above all the well-told story of a life adventurously lived. (via Amazon.com)
We are currently offering the hardcover version of "Hi Mom, Send Sheep" by Tim Derk in the Gameops.com Store along with our Famous Chicken Shirt for a discounted price.
Thanks and congratulations to Tim Derk. Tim has been a friend for over 15 years and I have never seen him without a smile. He inspired a generation of mascots and now will inspire countless more with his book.
Additional LinksPodcast - March 2012
The Royal Rogue Guest Essay
David Raymond on Life as a Mascot
Mascot Programs with Erin Blank
Watercolor Paint Book