Sports mascots compete in fun challenges to help sick kids at the annual Mascot Games

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Sports are fun and all, but jeez can they get serious. Thankfully, teams employ a bunch of clowns in stifling-hot fur suits to keep the crowds smiling in dark times. That's why the Magic have one of the best mascots in the game: Even though we're let down year after year as the team "rebuilds" or whatever, Stuff the Magic Dragon keeps fans coming back to the Amway Center with death-defying stunts, funny gags and a dedication to his role that, frankly, we'd like to see from some of the other members of the team. And this weekend is Stuff's time to shine as more than 20 different mascots representing college and pro teams from across the country descend on Orlando for the Mascot Games. Stuff and his Muppet-suited brethren – like University of Florida's Albert and Alberta, the Jags' Jaxson de Ville, the Dallas Cowboys' Rowdy and the Maple Leafs' Carlton – face off in ridiculous physical challenges involving pogo sticks, pugil jousting, inflatable obstacle courses and, inevitably, hospital gurneys. The games are a benefit for New Hope for Kids, a charity that grants wishes to terminally ill children and helps families grieve after the deaths of loved ones. And if that's not a cause you can get behind, you're probably a mascot-less Yankees fan, ya big meanie.

12:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday, June 17-18 | Amway Center, 400 W. Church St. | 407-440-7000 | mascotgames.org | $12-$35


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