Canberra Cavalry mascot Sarge is used to making a fool of himself during the team’s games, but beneath the mascot’s masculine exterior is a challenge that Sarge’s alter ego, Josh Williams, faces every day.
This Saturday, Josh is making a call to arms to get Canberra talking more about mental health and wellbeing by walking 10 kilometres, in full Sarge regalia, to raise $10,000 for Lifeline Canberra.
Josh said the 10km for $10k challenge will test his limits, as the first of the four-game series begins tonight (12 December) against the Sydney Blue Sox at MIT Ballpark at Narrabundah.
The series will see the Cavalry pitch in for mental health awareness by once again teaming up with Lifeline Canberra.
Josh said the message was now clear about how sporting figures such as Sarge could promote wellbeing and positive mental health.
“Sarge and I have been doing things like this for the last eight years or more, and with my story, it’s not just about something I’m doing for one day, it’s about checking in with each other every day,” Josh said.
“I think we’ve come to the conclusion by now that everyone will be affected by some sort of mental health issues at some point in their life. It’s about talking and having the courage to talk, not just on these so-called special days for mental health awareness, but we should be doing this every day. We should be checking in on our mates every day, we should be making sure that our family and everyone around us is getting through life as best as they can.
“While Sarge is an outlet for me, he is also an outlet for others, so if I can distract people from whatever may be going on in their life by doing something like having a photo or doing something absolutely stupid, then that might create a path for someone to feel better about life.”
Cavalry director Dan Amodio told Region Media while the focus is often on physical fitness, mental health was just as important for the entire club and its fans.
“We place a massive amount of importance on mental health and we deeply value our partnership with Lifeline Canberra each year,” Dan said.
“With Sarge’s commitment to take a walk and raise at least $10,000, it shows just how big a figure he really is, and this is another great example of one of his wacky ideas coming to life. It just shows how committed he is to the cause for Lifeline in Canberra, but also to just use the profile he’s created to generate some good for the Canberra community.
“It’s a twisted mind in the best possible way to come up with the idea to walk 10km in a mascot suit. It’s a fabulous cause and we’re very proud to get behind it.”
Sarge will set forth from Bentspoke in Braddon about 4pm on Saturday and welcomes as many people as possible to join him as he takes the trek to MIT Ballpark at Narrabundah.
“It’s probably going to take me about three hours as I’m sure there will be a few stops along the way to have a bit of a breather,” Josh said.
He said he always got a buzz from donning the suit of his alter ego, Sarge.
“Just seeing the smiles and hearing the laughter from people is why I love being Sarge. It just means I’ve got to learn new dance moves all the time, but it’s all part of the fun,” he said.
One of the Cavalry’s major sponsors, the Canberra Community Bank Group, has already dug out $1000 to donate to the $10,000 target.
Canberra Community Bank Group Executive Officer Dean Goulder said mental health is the bank’s number one community priority.
“Our new sponsorship strategy requires all of our community partners, regardless of their sector, to find a way to contribute to the mental health of Canberrans,” Mr Goulder said.
“The Canberra Community Bank Group is very excited to contribute $1000 to Sarge’s 10K challenge for Lifeline.”
Lifeline Canberra will also have a marquee at the series of games, and there will be plenty of opportunities for people to help raise the $10,000 target.