In 2011 we brought you an interview with former President of the United States Bill Clinton (SFS '68). In 2012 we brought you an interview with "The Voice of the Hoyas" Rich Chvotkin. And now, in 2013, behold, as THE AWARD WINNING GLOBAL PHENOMENON brings you the interview to end all interviews. Ladies and gentlemen, meet one of the most intriguing figures of this 2012-'13 Hoyas basketball season...the Verizon Center T-Shirt Gatling Gun Guy! Special thanks to RileysDressLikeAHoyaJersey and @BobbyBancroft for submitting the documentation.
So...who the heck are you?
I like to keep people guessing! I am... the Gatling Gun Guy!
How did you get the Gatling Gun gig?
There was a nationwide search that took place during the off-season two years ago when Georgetown realized there was going to be a vacancy in their Gatling Gun shooter position. I was recently let go from my previous job as a costumed character at Six Flags for sneaking into the gift shops and throwing t-shirts at costumers. Ironically, it was my previous supervisor from Six Flags who then reached out to me suggesting that this opening may be a better fit for my skill set. I sent in my application and was flown in for an interview and subsequent audition. The rest is all history!
What is the trajectory of the typical t shirt and/or how far up in the rafters can you fire a t-shirt? Does internal air circulation aid in, or complicate, your calculations? Please feel free to supplement your answer with diagrams and/or formulae.
The angle of the barrel can be adjusted before shooting, but I can't move it while in the process of shooting. The furthest I have ever reached in the Verizon Center is the back rows of section 104, rows X/Y/Z, which is practically the 200 level. I may have hit the first few rows of sections 200, 201 during the Rutgers game, but I don't know for sure. I usually set it at a high trajectory with a short impact distance that allows people enough time to follow the path of the t-shirt and be in the best position to catch it. In this industry, you need to do everything you can to avoid a Maude Flanders incident. Below is a graph with some sample trajectories.
Talk to us a bit about the device itself. How much does it weigh? Did you have to undergo a Gatling Gun training course?
The Gatling Gun is a carefully engineered specimen and weighs approximately 1 ton. I have to be recertified each year in order to operate the device, which consists of completing a written exam and attending a 4-day conference each August in Orlando, FL. Fun fact: once I am done shooting the gun, it can't be started again for another 37 hours.
Any entertaining stories of misfires?
Last year, I had some close calls with one of the shot clocks above the baskets and even the large scoreboard that hangs above the middle of the court. This year, I have had spot-on accuracy (other than one minor hiccup detailed here).
Does the absence of a dimmer switch in the Phone Booth increase your connection to your rabid fan base, or would you prefer they remain faceless cheering hordes?
The former! The best part about the job is the elation on people's faces when a t-shirt is flying their way.
Do you scout sections that you want to plaster with tshirts before you head out there?
Most of my scouting takes place on the court, in real time. I try my best to hit every corner of the arena with t-shirts, but due to my limited supply of ammunition, there are times when I need to pit two sections against each other during the timeout to determine whom the lucky fans will be. What surprises me the most are the opposing team's fans who go nuts for my t-shirts and think they might actually have some shot their way. Really?
You have received the 'Salvage Your Dignity' Casual Award in each Awards post this year. Are your parents aware of this achievement?
My parents are very proud that I have found an outlet for my energy and my relentless desire to please the masses, and they look forward to the presentation of this award after each game. In fact, they aren't the only ones who enjoy seeing my outfits chronicled on the annals of the internet. From what people tell me, there is a heavy stream of web traffic from fans who visit Casual Hoya with the sole intent of following my pursuits and wondering whether my dignity will ultimately be salvaged.
If you were to fire a T-shirt from a short distance, say 5 feet, at the Blog DJ's head, would he be critically injured? If so, when can we arrange this?
The 3,289 page user manual explicitly states that the Gatling Gun is to be used for good, not evil.
How do you pick out costumes each week? Have any choices ever been vetoed by the high ups? Has it become a struggle to remain mainstream and relevant? Have you become bigger than the machine itself?
I have a great relationship with Total Party of the Ballston Commons Mall, who provides a large number of the outfits I wear during games. Call it a shameless plug, but they have a great selection of not only costumes and props, but anything you can imagine for a party any time during the year. I try my best to wear timely attire and relate my outfits to any themes or initiatives that are being promoted at the games. Last year, my Father Time and Cupid outfits received direct mention from SportsCenter anchors (free t-shirts to any Casualties who can find those clips), but I have yet to receive the same level of love from national television this year.
Tell us about ALL interactions with players, coaches, and refs.
It's funny how many times I catch players from the opposing team not paying attention to the coach's huddle and instead watching me shower the arena with t-shirts. The referees usually get a good chuckle out of it. The huddles themselves are no-fly zones, so there really aren't too many other interactions with players and coaches. This also explains why there are certain parts of the arena that rarely get t-shirts. I try my best to throw t-shirts to those fans sitting in those sections while my minions reload the gun.
Can the gun only shoot t-shirts? What other possibilities are there?
During the Gray Out game against St. Johns, we actually shot miniature basketballs from the Gatling Gun, which turned out to be very successful. The result was similar to the spray of a shotgun, and a lot more fans were able to go home with a souvenir that night. In my spare time, I've tried shooting GUGS burgers, John Thompson trademark white towels, and once actually loaded myself into the gun.
Has being the Gatling gun guy helped you out with the ladies?
I don't need any help with the ladies, thank you very much ;-)
In your opinion, why do the good folks at the Verizon Center insist on interrupting your performance with a basketball game? Isn't America ready for a Gatling gun solo act?
Ever since I've set foot on the Verizon Center court, offers have been flying in from profession sports franchises, Vegas casinos, Cirque du Soleil, and countless other entertainment magnates to take my show to the "next level." I was once even offered my own sitcom. However, in each case, I have respectfully declined citing the fact I am a Hoya who will forever bleed Blue and Gray!