Mop Girl goes mop less
The Toronto Raptors' courtside star has changed jobs. Is it a demotion, promotion or just a way to distract the opposing team?
Macleans.ca staff | Nov 6, 2007 | 21:46:40
|Toronto Raptors' Mop Girl Jade Wilmott|
We remain unconvinced. Yes, she's changed jobs, but it seems more likely that the team has reassigned its talismanic ball girl, hoping to shield their secret weapon from the public eye, ensuring they won’t lose her to a modelling or acting job—or even worse, to a rival team. The other possibility is that the Raptors are capitalizing on her powers of distraction, by placing her in constant contact with their opponents.
To put our theories to the test and to see if a mop-less Mop Girl still has that star quality, we attended Sunday's clash between the Raptors and the highly-touted Boston Celtics.
21:28 before tip-off: The scoreboard shows the players in the tunnels under the stands, mentally preparing themselves for this big early-season game. Celtics reserve Brian Scalabrine looks focused, like a bomb could go off beside him and he wouldn't notice. The camera pans over the gathering players. Suddenly Mop Girl walks past, heading down a hall. The camera jerks and follows her for a moment, presumably until the cameraman realizes what he's doing.
9:08 before tip-off: With the national anthems out of the way and both teams on the court warming up, Mop Girl reappears, arms full of fresh towels. Wearing a uniform of black track pants and long-sleeved black and white top, she drops the towels on the visitors' bench and joins the Celtics players on-court, rebounding during their drill. Scalabrine trots past her without even a glance in her direction—he is really focused.
Pre-game player introductions: The lights are off, Kanye West's "Stronger" is thudding on the arena's sound system, and the Dance Pak, in revealing red dresses and shiny knee-high boots, are shimmying around the court. Mop Girl, meanwhile, is quietly making sure the Celtics' towels are properly laid out. Such a professional.
First Quarter, 6:43: As the Celtics make a substitution, Mop Girl springs into action. When the Boston reserve tears off the track suit he wears over his uniform, she's there on the sideline in front of the scorer's table to collect it. She quickly returns to her corner, tossing the discarded suit to an equipment manager sitting behind the Celtics bench, and gets a fresh white towel for the substituted player.
First Quarter, 5:57: The Celtics call time out. Mop Girl moves among them, distributing towels. Then she withdraws to have a quiet word with the young man who's taken over her sweat-mopping duties. Offering the new guy pearls of wisdom from her years in the trenches, no doubt. That's the kind of veteran leadership this team needs.
First Quarter, 2:02: During another Celtics time out, Mop Girl distributes her towels to the huddle, then bends over to wipe up some moisture in front of the Celtics bench. Boston's Kendrick Perkins assesses the situation.
Second Quarter, 8:21: An extravagantly mustachioed gentleman a row behind muses, "I wonder if she travels with the team." Has Mop Girl caught your attention, sir? "Only all game," he quips.