Why was Rick Ekberg, who graduated from MacArthur High School in Levittown, rooting on the lovable blue dragon with pink highlights from neighborhood rival Division Avenue High School during the homecoming game last Saturday?
Because under all that fur was his daughter, 15-year-old Division student Allison Ekberg, who plays the Lady Blue Dragon on game days. Most costumed mascots on Long Island are either male in appearance or gender-less, but Division has both a male and female Blue Dragon mascot, with Allison behind the Lady Dragon mask.
“I’d say that’s pretty progressive,” suggests Rick Ekberg, 45, before admitting, “It’s kind of weird to root for Division on one level, but with my daughter here, I guess I have to [laughs]. No, it’s fun, and she’s really good at this.”
Allison definitely works to get people excited, taking pictures with game attendees and only pausing in her nonstop walking and standing to jump and pump her fists when the home team makes big plays.
“It’s harder than you think,” Allison notes. “I pretty much have to walk on my heels the whole time when I wear the Dragon’s feet.” She tramped around with the dinosaur-like costume footing for much of the day, except during the homecoming parade.
“I had to take them off…I started with them on, and I face-planted, so yeah, they were done until the parade was over," she said.
Allison’s larger passion is playing percussion as a member of the Division Avenue marching band, but plans on returning to the role of the Lady Blue Dragon whenever possible.
“It’s like 85-degrees inside the suit, but it’s great ... I want to keep doing this,” she said, “When I first told my dad I was going to be the dragon, he was surprised but I said, ‘Dad, I am going to make you proud!'"
Rick smiled as his daughter — the only student, male or female, on school grounds dressed as a 6-foot-tall blue beast with a pink torso and massive eyelashes — briefly stopped her interview to take a photo with a woman and her child.
“She does this really well, he said. "... I am very proud.”