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The Wright Opinion - Gnash to see you
Seth Wright.jpg

On Tuesday my wife, Ashley, and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary which put me in a reflective mood. It’s been a great 14 years even though we don’t always do things quite like your typical couple. Then again, our wedding wasn’t quite typical either. Weddings traditionally feature something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. But how many couples’ something blue was a NHL mascot? 

That’s right, 14 years ago, our wedding party at First Baptist Church was visited by Gnash, the big, blue saber-tooth tiger mascot of the Nashville Predators. I’ve been a big fan of the Predators since their very first game nearly 25 years ago on Oct. 10, 1998 and I’ve been a full-season-ticket holder since 2000. Much of our dating life revolved around Preds games and our wedding was scheduled so we could spend our honeymoon week in Nashville and catch three games. 

So Ashley decided the perfect surprise for me would be to have Gnash show up unexpectedly (apparently only to me) at the ceremony. It seems all of the approximately 200 guests  knew of the impending arrival of Gnash except for me. I had absolutely no idea.

Making this an even more special gesture is the fact Ashley has a crippling fear of mascots which she was willing to face to make my day even more special. Ashley’s mascot phobia finds its roots  in the idea that you never truly know who is under the mask and at any point a serial killer could have killed the rightful mascot actor and put on the suit. 

 I’d like to give a shout-out and a special thanks to Predators employee Adam DeVault who is Gnash’s handler and who Ashley worked with to make this all happen. He was briefed on Ashley’s fear and instructed Gnash to approach carefully.

So, on the big day as we were in front of the church taking pre-wedding photos, (I told you we didn't do things typically) suddenly I felt the mood change. Ashley got very nervous. I was preparing myself for a runaway bride situation, but then, around the corner marches Gnash, blue fur immaculately groomed, ivory tusks gleaming in the sun, wearing a tuxedo that made him better dressed than the groom. I suddenly realized where Ashley's nerves were coming from. A friend had whispered to her, "he's here." 

Her nerves around mascots actually earned me a treat few people have gotten to witness. There is a very serious code among professional mascots that you absolutely do not break - you don't talk in the costume. Thanks to a compassionate Gnash understanding Ashley's qualms after being briefed by Adam, I heard a voice softly say, "it's me," when coming up to Ashley. After that reassurance, all was well and I've never heard him speak again, not even during an awkward elevator ride with me, my dad and Gnash downstairs to take pictures with the Preds-themed groom's cake.

Ashley likes to remind me that I seemed more excited that day to see Gnash than I was when I saw her. I always respond, I assumed you would be there. He was a shock.

Standard Managing Editor Seth Wright can be reached at (931) 473-2191