NCAA BK

Basketball mascot gives away groom

Winthrop Eagles mascot
Big Stuff, the Winthrop Eagles mascot, gave away groom Johannes Schneider, 29.
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ROCK HILL, S.C.

A basketball-mad groom was "given away" at his Rock Hill wedding by the mascot of his beloved Winthrop University team, The Charlotte Observer reported Sunday.

Johannes Schneider, 29, was walked down the aisle at McBryde Hall before he married Michelle Waters on Saturday by Big Stuff -- the giant bird which is the Winthrop Eagles mascot.

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"I love Winthrop," said Schneider, who often attended home games during his undergraduate study with only a Winthrop flag covering his lower regions.

After Schneider, who is back at the university studying for a second degree, came up with the idea of inviting Big Stuff to the wedding, his bride-to-be went one step further, suggesting he get the bird to give him away.

"Weddings are always all about the bride," said the new Michelle Schneider. "I figured Johannes should get something super-special for him, too. He got it."

The bride's parents were shocked but delighted with the unusual wedding guest.

"Well, there's something you don't see every day -- a big bird at a wedding," said John Waters, after he walked his daughter down the aisle. "Actually, you never see it. Until my daughter gets married to a guy brought in by a big bird. And then the guy hugs the bird."

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The groom's parents were ... well, just shocked.

"I just found out last week, and I told my son -- you better tell your father," Helen Schneider said. "This is one surprise he might need a few days to get used to."

Schneider's father, a religious minister from Germany, eventually came round to the idea, agreeing to oversee the ceremony.

As for Big Stuff, well there was even love in the air for him after he brought a date along to the wedding.

Winthrop student Nicole Harm said: "He [Big Stuff] said, 'I'm in a wedding, come with me.' I figured, great. I love weddings. Then he said, 'It's, umm, as Big Stuff. I'm Big Stuff in the wedding.'"

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