Back in June, there was a competition called the ‘Toads Revisited’ as a part of Hull’s City of Culture 2017. I found out about it through my friend, Ellie, who was entering a piece of writing in the competition. On the last day before the deadline, I decided “why not, I’ll enter.” Spoiler alert: I didn’t win. But that’s fine, I wasn’t hopeful. I thought there was no harm in trying. So, since I didn’t win and there is no copyright on my story, I thought I’d publish it here, so it wasn’t a wasted effort. Please enjoy my story about Tiger Toad.
In the five years since coming to Hull, I did and saw a lot of wonderful things. The people thought I was a celebrity. They would seek me out and take photographs with me. None asked for my autograph though, and I had practiced it so hard. Then, when I went away, they were sad and missed me. But the people of Hull didn’t forget me.
I’m Tiger Toad and I’m five years old. I’ve done so much since you saw me last. This is my favourite moment of my life, it happened in 2014.
‘Where is Roary?’ Steve Bruce said.
Shane Long looked around and shrugged, ‘I haven’t seen him all day.’
‘We can’t have a game without our mascot!’ Steve wasn’t happy.
‘What can we do, we’re the players. We can’t do what Roary does,’ Curtis Davies said.
It was Matty Fryatt who spoke next. He had a great idea.
‘What about Tiger Toad?’ He said.
‘That’s a toad. A toad can’t do a tiger’s job,’ Steve said, shaking his head.
They were in a fix. They had no mascot and the game started in thirty minutes. The team were already in their home uniforms. Their colours matched my skin perfectly.
I had been friends with Matty since he accidentally fell over me once when I was out and about in Hull. It was summer, so he bought me an ice cream and we talked.
He told me all about football and how cool it was to play for Hull City. They were called the Tigers, like me!
Now, I could usually be found in the city centre and my friend Matty knew this. In a moment, he had called me up. I used a local free phone as I had no pockets.
‘Tiger Toad?’ he said, when I answered with a ribbit.
‘It’s me Matty, listen. Roary has gone walkabouts, no one can find him. We need a mascot right away! Are you available?’
I was so excited, I couldn’t control myself. A few onlookers stared until I agreed and hopped to the nearest bus stop. I got on the number one bus and headed down there.
The team were about to go on when I arrived. Steve wanted a tiger and I was the best he could manage. I’d prove that a toad can do what a tiger can.
I waited patiently for my time to shine and when it finally arrived I was so happy.
‘Get out there and rock it, Tiger!’ Steve said as I hopped out.
The crowd went silent and the nerves kicked in. They were expecting Roary, he was always the Hull City mascot, but I hoped they would embrace me. Once my cue and the music started, I danced and I spun. I hipped and I hopped. I got the crowd dancing and singing. I was the best toad mascot the world had ever seen.
When Steve called me off, for the game to restart, I waited near the crowds. I got them excited for the game. They did the Mexican wave and I shimmied along. It was one of the best games of the season. For me it was the highlight of my life. I was electric. I rocked KC Stadium.
Fortunately for the team, Roary was found. I left with a big congratulations and the team even lifted me in the air triumphantly. I was offered the chance to be the understudy mascot for as long as I wanted to. I haven’t had the chance to perform for the Tigers again. But if Roary ever needs a break, I’ll be ready to stop in for another amazing experience.
So that is the story of my greatest day. It happened a year ago now and I still remember the sound of the crowds, cheering and singing along. I’ve done so many more things since too, but what could possibly top a chance to play with the greatest team in England?
Maybe one day I’ll tell you some more of my adventures! Just maybe.