Soxman Unmasked

By Rikki Greenberg
 
It’s risky business interviewing a superhero.
To protect his hidden identity, this interview employed a myriad of vocal tones and conversations conducted from an unknown phone number.  During our lengthy phone conversations from various Windy City payphones, we discussed Soxman’s past, present and future and his relentless compassion towards those who support him. Below is my exclusive with Bruce-Wayne Parker, the man behind the Soxman mask..

RG:  I’m familiar with who Soxman is today, but I’m not sure as to how he came to be. I’m dying to know the juice behind Soxman’s past, so spill!

BWP: I made a bet with a friend, who just happens to be a Cubs fan, that if the White Sox get into the World Series I would have to do something crazy. When the White Sox made it in, I started thinking of something really outrageous and insane in the shower that I could do when I got to the game.  I thought back to the hat I wore with the rally socks tucked underneath during Game 1 of the 2005 American League Championship series and came up with a superhero concept. I got super excited and started making sketches of the costume. I wasn’t sure how it was going to be received, but I knew the name was Soxman.

 

RG: It says on your Wikipedia page that Soxman didn’t come out of the Soxcave until Game 1 of the 2005 World Series. Is this true?

BWP: “Contrary to popular belief, this is not true.  I told coworkers about this idea and they knew how passionate I was about going to the World Series, so I wore the costume at work before the game. Once the initial idea for the costume went through the trial run, I made the public debut before the 2005 World Series game 1.”

RG:  A bet made from a Cubs fan can do wonders for self-motivation and possible risk of public humiliation. Once you overcame the initial circumstances of the bet and saw how successful Soxman came to be, what kept you motivated to continue the legacy?

BWP: “I wanted to do something that would give homage to something remarkable the White Sox did in 2005. The continuous amount of fan support I receive gives me the ability to turn around and do good for others. As a member of the American League of Justice, I am able to give back in the form of charity work that raises money for a number of different causes, such as homeless pets or the Make-a-Wish Foundation for children.”

 
RG: One of the benefits of being a superhero is the opportunity to give back to the community. You mentioned working with organizations like the Make-A-Wish foundation, but what other charities have you joined forces with?

BWP: I’ve worked with Sox for Soldiers, ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, in addition to many more that I can’t think of right now throughout the years. I’ve been the most active with the Heartland Blood Centers. I’ll make appearances at a blood drive or donate my seats to a Sox game to be raffled off to encourage more blood donations. I also sign autographs and take pictures with people. It helps to generate more traffic for Heartland and has been very successful in doing so. Every blood drive for Heartland that I’ve participated in has exceeded actual target goal of donations.
 

RG: What has been the most rewarding experience since you started working with these charitable organizations?
 
BWP: The most humbling and by far the most rewarding experience was when I visited a sick child with cancer in the hospital.  There is nothing more flattering and humbling than being able to know that somebody has been impacted by you while they battle for their life.
 

RG: It is clear to see that the affects of maintaining an active role with charitable organizations has brought nothing but positivity and fulfillment to Soxman. Any chances of putting together a charity of your own?
 
BWP:  “I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the answer to that question. I haven’t put anything into action yet, but I know I would like to work with some type of youth program that tries to give/introduce baseball or other sports to the less fortunate who might not have the financial support to join teams or obtain sporting equipment.  I also would like to work with a youth charity that specializes in child diseases. Sox Kids or Sports for Sox Kids are just two of the names I’ve been playing with, but I haven’t taken it to that deep of a level.”
 

RG: The need to do good for the fans and in return, have the fans do good for others, is one piece of the Soxman puzzle. What are the rest of the pieces that make up Soxman?
 
BWP: Truth, Justice and baseball the Ozzie way.  Truth in the sense that I’m maintaining consistent, truthful behavior that people can look up to. Justice in the sense that Sox fans receive the recognition they deserve and are acknowledged for the dedication and loyalty they provide.  Baseball the Ozzie way translates into two meanings: Ozzie is a hot head and he can be vulgar at times, but I think that shows his passion for the game. He also does the little things to win ball games and to me, that’s a good reflection of the game of baseball and how to live your life.

By making contributions, you’re not always going to be the superstar on the team. Small contributions, such as stealing a base or making a great defensive play, contribute to the overall success of the team. I try to practice this philosophy by bringing awareness to things by making a contribution, no matter how large or small it is.