Franklin, W.Va., native Jonathan Kimble is savoring the moment
Published: Friday, August 31, 2012
Updated: Friday, August 31, 2012 00:08
Jonathan Kimble still remembers what it felt like moments before he was named the next Mountaineer mascot.
"I was holding my breath the entire time," he said. "I didn’t know until my name flashed up on the video board, and I just let (out) a big sigh of relief. Since then, I haven’t quit smiling.
"I’m just living the dream."
Since then, it’s safe to say Kimble has been able to stay busy.
Whether he’s been traveling across West Virginia, going to Texas for Big 12 Conference Media Days or flying out to Los Angeles to tape commercials with ESPN’s College GameDay, Kimble has rarely had a day off.
And even when he does, he ends up finding something to do to keep himself preoccupied.
"It just comes naturally. The days where I don’t have an appearance or don’t get to put on the buckskins, it just feels weird," Kimble said. "If I don’t have them on and I’m not out there doing something, it just feels like I wasted the day when I could’ve gone out and done
something to give back and share a little bit of Mountaineer pride with people."
As if the schedule that comes with being the face of West Virginia University isn’t enough, Kimble had another big change in his life happen over the summer when he married his wife, Christine, Aug. 4.
He admitted it’s been a little tough with his hectic schedule as the Mountaineer and her job at PricewaterhouseCoopers in McLean, Va., but it’s been great getting to experience everything he’s been through since April with another person.
"She’s still working down in the D.C. area, so she’s gone all week and comes home on weekends, which is usually when I get really busy," he said. "Right now it’s kind of difficult, but at the same time, it’s great, because I have someone that I’m going to be able to share these memories with that I love.
"That’s the great part about it. She’s always going to be right there by my side the whole time, enjoying the same things that I’m enjoying."
One of the highlights in his short tenure as the Mountaineer has been going to Media Day in Dallas. During those two days at the Dallas Westin Galleria, Kimble stole the show.
Every other minute, he was with another radio station or television news crew or national media members, spreading the word about how well West Virginia will be able to fit in the Big 12 this season and in the future.
"I was the first person that those people got to see down there, because WVU didn’t talk to the media until the second day," Kimble said. "I loved getting the chance to tell everybody how great West Virginia is, how amazing Morgantown is and how passionate we are about all of our sports here at WVU. That was pretty neat to be able to be an ambassador for not only WVU but all of West Virginia as a whole."
For someone from Franklin, W.Va., Kimble understands opportunities like these don’t happen to many people where he’s from, so he’s just trying to soak up all the moments he can.
"It’s a big deal, because a lot of people from Franklin have never even left West Virginia before, and then they look and see this kid from a town with 800 people getting to go to Los Angeles and do the things I’m getting to do," Kimble said. "People have been writing on my Facebook wall and sending me tweets, telling me how I’m making Pendleton County proud.
"I don’t think about how much pressure is associated with that. I just really see it as a chance to show my pride in our state."
When he runs out on the field prior to the start of the Marshall game tomorrow, it will be the culmination of all the work Kimble has put in since he decided to try to become the Mountaineer.
That’s the part he’s the most excited about.
"I was there (Wednesday) morning, and I looked out on the field and looked at where I was going to be standing," he said. "When I put on those buckskins and I fire off that gun when we run out onto the field, I’m sure emotions are going to be flying high.
"That’s when the dream comes true."