#039;Bev#039; is one of the Belle#039;s MVPs

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 30, 2003

One of the most valuable members of the Troy Dixie Belles softball team never played an inning this season.

In fact, this particular member did not even warm up. But almost every player credited this team member with the state championship.

This member of the Troy Dixie Belles does not have a number or a jersey for that matter, but its cries can be heard all over the park. This member is the team's mascot, Beverly, a yellow rubber chicken. Beverly, or Bev as she is often known as, brings the girls good luck whenever they squeeze her belly.

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"She belongs to me, but everyone gets to squeeze her," Troy third baseman Heather Snell said.

The team normally passes Bev around the dugout and squeezes her for good luck. Before batters go on the field, they often seek her help. The sounds of a crowing rooster can be heard all day long when the team plays a game.

Snell keeps Beverly everywhere she goes. She adopted Bev from Spencer's when she was on a trip with the Charles Henderson High School team, but the reaction of those closest to Snell was not initially positive.

Snell's mother Shirley responded with a violent suggestion.

"She told me I had to grill it and eat it," Snell said.

Though Shirley Snell's initial response can be traced to the fact that her money was used to buy the clucker, the reaction of Charles Henderson coach Steve Haug is a little harder to explain. Haug despised Bev from the start. He did not like the way she crowed like a rooster, and he put a gag order on her during the AHSAA state tournament.

"He told me to shut her up," Snell said. "I had to put her away. I think that's why we lost the tournament."

Perhaps then it is no coincidence that when Bev was allowed to cheer for the team in the Dixie Belles State Tournament, Troy won the championship.

Bev requires constant upkeep and plenty of attention. She has to be bathed regularly, and she usually receives her baths in the water fountains in the dugout.

Although she enjoys bathing, she has trouble drinking at times. She had a near fatal accident involving a high consumption of water.

"We would squeeze her and she wouldn't do anything," Snell said.

Second baseman and short stop Brooke Sessions said the situation was serious.

"We had to do CPR on her," Sessions said.

Snell carries Bev in her bat bag to games and in her book bag when she goes to school. Bev can become testy when she does not receive attention, and she once cause an embarrassing scene in Snell's class.

"She went off during science class once," Snell said. "I didn't tell anyone what the noise was."

Snell said she will be taking Bev to Dennison, Texas for the Dixie Belles World Series. Perhaps she will bring good luck to the team there as well.