By Jayme Lamm
Mascots need food too. That’s something I quickly learned after I shadowed Clutch, the Houston Rockets mascot, at their home opener against one of their Texas rivals, the San Antonio Spurs. While players only play for 48 minutes, fans are in their seats for two hours – that’s a whole lot of entertainment the Hall of Fame mascot has to provide to a sold out crowd of 18,000 inside the Toyota Center. And to provide said quality entertainment, sustenance, along with copious amounts of water, is crucial.
I had the chance to grab dinner with Clutch (or Robert Boudwin, the 17-year veteran inside the costume) at his favorite Houston restaurant, Mo’s, earlier this week over sea bass and a medium rare steak.
If you’ve ever had even an inkling to know what the 5th most recognizable mascot of all time (as named by USA Today in February 2005) eats day and night, here it is:
JL: You run around the Toyota Center like a mad man, sorry, bear. How much water do you drink?
Clutch: At least a gallon and I like it with snow cone ice (the kind you get from Sonic)
JL: If you could bring any fast food chain into the Toyota Center, what would it be?
Clutch: It’s a TIE between Boston Market and Chick-Fil-A
JL: Not to be rude, but you’re kind of big and awkwardly shaped. You must spill a lot of food when running around in the aisles and seats. What do you spill the most of?
Clutch: (hand covering his mouth as if he’s trying to suppress laughter) Sheet cakes get accidentally and intentionally spilled/dropped all the time. Especially on opposing team fans.
JL: Speaking of cakes, you are pretty fond of them during your in-game activities. Do you have a favorite flavor?
JL: Is it true all bears like honey?
Clutch nods head yes.
JL: If you could put honey on anything …
Clutch: I’d put it on honey.
JL: I think it’s cool you have your own personal dressing room directly across from the Rockets team locker room. What do you keep stocked in your dressing room?
Clutch: Cold Evamor water (don’t forget the snow cone ice!), fresh fruit cups which I always eat at halftime and after the game, and lots of 5 Hour Energy drinks and Red Alerts.
JL: If you could handpick your very own fruit platter, what would it have?
Clutch: The one I already get after every game: Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Blueberries, Kiwi, Oranges, Pineapple and Honey Dew
JL: Is there any food you don’t like or are allergic to?
Clutch: No mayo or sour cream EVER!
JL:Ice cream, cake, cookies or candy?
Clutch: Ice Cream. Haagen Daz — pistachio, pineapple/coconut or honey vanilla
JL: If you could have dinner with any current Rockets player, who would it be?
Clutch/Robert: Luis Scola. The times I’ve dealt with him he has always been very down to earth, pleasant, nice, and kind to my twin boys. He seems like someone who would be fun to share time with.
JL:What about mascots you want to dine with?
Clutch: Rumble in OKC, Bear in Utah, BOOMER in Indy, Crunch in Minnesota, Bango in Milwaukee, Rocky in Denver, and Reggie the Purple Party Dude out of Delaware are my best mascot friends and I enjoy time with them whenever I can get it.
JL: I’m a big fan of comfort food – it’s usually fried chicken or cupcakes for me. What’s your comfort food, specifically after a loss?
Clutch: I can’t eat after the Rockets lose. I’m too sad.
To keep up with Clutch’s hilariously wild antics, here’s where you can find him:
Jayme Lamm is a freelance sports and travel writer who is currently in a full-court press writing her hugely opinionated sports column, The Blonde Side, and trying to make a business of it. She is based in Houston and proudly owns the world’s largest teacup Chihuahua, who weighs in at a largely impressive 23-lbs.