At the basketball games at a school in Maine’s biggest city, the mascot is stealing the show.
Kamron King, a freshman at Portland High School, became the Bulldogs’ mascot in late November when he responded to a call for a volunteer.
What makes King’s story different than that of others who have donned the oversized bulldog outfit is that he is deaf. NBC Nightly News tells his story.
While he may be unable to hear the cheers that he helps incite, it doesn’t take away the excitement of what he does.
The kid whose parents affectionately call “Kam the Ham” enjoys his role immensely.
“Being a mascot is kind of a very cool job to do for the school and I kinda love it,” King told NBC News.
The 15-year-old has been deaf since birth. He told NBC News that he uses his eyes and his energy to get the crowd fired up. To get a feel for the emotion of a particular moment, he said he observes the movements of those in the bleachers.
King’s parents were initially unsure of the idea of their hearing impaired son taking on the mascot role due to concerns with his balance.
“I thought, good Lord, he’s gonna put this thing on and be out in front of a hundred people and trip and fall over,” Kamron’s father, Michael King, told NBC News.
As it turns out, Kam’s presence on the Bulldogs sidelines has been a positive development for many involved.
“He brings up all the spirit,” a team cheerleader said. “He makes everyone happy and it just makes the entire experience better.”
No doubt, Kam the Ham is an inspiration to many, especially those in the deaf community. John Jones, director of instruction at the Maine Educational Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, certainly thinks so.
“I think he’s setting a great example for other students who are deaf and hard of hearing who may be reluctant to try new things,” Jones told NBC News.
For Kamron, he’s just doing a fun activity, and trying to stay cool under that giant bulldog head.