Crunch Speaks Out!
By John George
Everyone into the Minnesota sports scene know's who Crunch is. He's the high-flying mascot for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Although he's known for his on-court antics, he's a quite, humble, even shy wolf when he's off the court. After making his fourth appearance in Perham last Friday to cheer on the Yellowjacket boys basketball team in their win over Pelican Rapids, Crunch finally decided to sit down with me and "let his hair down" in this exclusive interview.
Where did you grow up? Where does your pack hail from? Any relatives jealous of your fame?
"I grew up in the northern most parts of Minnesota. We traveled around a bit up there, but my favorite time was when we spent a stint along the north shore of Lake Superior. Most of my relatives are happy of my success over the years. My dad though would probably have liked to see me take over the pack, but deep down I think he is happy I am doing something I love."
When did you first realize you had the gift of walking,
running and jumping off your hind legs?
"Very young. There was a park up north that late at night my buddies and I would sneak onto and shoot some hoops. It isn't that hard really. I have seen many people train their dogs to walk on their hind legs. Over time it just becomes natural."
What got you interested in basketball?
"Honestly it was that park. It was hanging with my friends shooting ball under the lone streetlight that I looked forward to each and every day."
How much influence did you have in the naming of the team when the
franchise started? Any backroom deals we should know about?
"None. It was after the team was named that I got pressure from my friends to make the trip down south and see if I could help. The fact that the team was called the Timberwolves made me think it was my destiny to leave the pack and enter a world unknown to wolves."
Are you declawed? Any problems plaming and dribbling a basketball with your paws?
"Yep. You have to be declawed. It really messes up the court if you are not. That was a day that I was not looking forward to. Luckily the team doctor did the procedure so I knew I was in good hands."
As you may or may not know, Perham is home to Tuffy's dog food. Is that your favorite food? Do you eat their organic brand as a favor to the environment?
"I am aware of Tuffy's Dog Food. In fact, everytime I come up to Perham I make sure to bring some back with me. However, it is more of a "treat" to me than my mainstay meals. I like to blend it with pretzels and peanuts. The humans down here just love it!"
Do you have your own kennel at Target Center? What's it like?
"My den is located down deep in the bowls of the Target Center. It is a pretty sweet pad. Direct TV, Whirlpool, and my favorite part, my oversized recliner for watching the Wolves when they are playing out of town."
Any problems with shedding
on the court?
"I have a pretty intense grooming schedule so shedding is kept to a minimum. The year we went to the Western Conference Finals though, with the weather getting warmer, there were some issues."
Any young Timber-pups running around?
"Not yet. I am keeping my eyes open for that special someone to start my own pack with. The pickin's are pretty slim down here though. There is one lady at the MN Zoo though that I think I could see myself with. But it is awefully hard to get past security there."
Who is your chief rival in the mascot world?
"TC Bear from the MN Twins is a good friend of mine, but deep down, I think we have a "friendly rivalry". He is always trying to steal my thunder at appearances and parades. There is an ongoing bit between us as to which is more difficult. His homerun hitting contest, or my trampoline dunks."
This area has a strong baseball tradition, what would it take to get you to leave the Timberwolves, and become the mascot of the Wolf Lake Wolf Pack, a traditional powerhouse amateur town team?
"Contract. If the Wolf Pack threw me a long term deal, I may be persuaded. Then maybe I could take on TC in a homerun hitting contest of my own!"
Whats the best thing about being the Timberwolves mascot?
"Even though we are having a tough year this year, it has to be the fans. We have some great season ticket holders that I truly enjoy seeing every game. It sounds cheesy, but I would miss them if I ever had to leave or miss a game."