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“King of Cheer” – Cameron Hughes Book Report

Favorite Quotes

“The driving force behind everything I do is the idea that when it comes to an audience, it’s all about creating a feeling. Make people feel something.  Make them come alive.  When you feel something, you talk about it, you share it and you ultimately want to do it again. People won’t remember the tweet of the game, but they’ll remember getting up to dance, cheer, let loose, being pushed and connecting with the community.”

“Get Up and Become Your Own Biggest Fan.”

“Bet on yourself, show up.”

“Take More Chances, Dance More Dances.”

“The most essential factor is persistence – the determination never to allow your energy or enthusiasm to be dampened by the discouragement that must inevitably come.”  – James Whitcomb Riley

“A lot of folks think it’s all about a passion for the game.  That’s not enough.  You have to have a passion for the fans. For the audience.  They’re there to see a game, sure.  But they also want to feel like they’re a part of if all.  And that’s what I do. I’m not just a crazy mascot doing skits – I’m there to lead the fans and get them cheering.”

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” – Jack Canfield

“Take a chance.  It’s the best way to test yourself.  Have fun and push boundaries.” – Richard Branson

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

That he’s rooting for one team on Tuesday and another on Saturday isn’t the point.  What’s more important…is that he’s rooting for you. To be inspired. To cut loose.  To dance in the aisles.  That’s the spark wants to ignite in the crowd.” – Greg Wyshynski ESPN


Key Takeaways

FOCUS – Eye on the Prize – Email from Palmer West to Cameron.

“There’s something I want you to do for yourself.  Ask yourself this question, What do I do best? Not a list of things that you’re really fucking good at, but one thing that you do best.  Don’t do this at the same time you’re thinking about a career. Fuck that.  That comes second, and frankly quite naturally if you figure out the first part.

What are you best at? Obvious things come to mind, but I am not going to lead you there.  You have a shitload of ideas, a shitload of irons in the fire.  Be a master of one, rather than a professional at many.  Make sense? Step back, deep breath, ask yourself this question and see where you end up.  Again, this is not the time to think about money, family, security or occupation. Give it a rest for a second and just think about Cameron, just Cameron.

What are you best at? One thing, one trait, or one gift that comes to you naturally.  You will know the right answer when you come across it, and the answer could be a paragraph. It doesn’t have to be an adjective. It’s your answer.  There is no blank that needs to be filled.  The answer could be huge or small. The smaller the better for this first step.

Give it a shot, and buddy, regardless, you are loved by many, my friend.  That in itself is a hurdle not enough people can say they have cleared these days.  Give it time, give it time.”


*This may have been the most powerful takeaway of this book for me.  I often chase all these ideas and dreams.  But reflecting on what I’m the best at and meant to do will make the biggest impact on my life and everyone I touch.   As a leader, I need to share this with our team as well.  I talk about creating your energy list and following that daily but it’s more than that. Having lots of priorities is not having any priorities.  Do what lights you up and what only you can do better than anyone else!

2.) The importance of taking chances, trusting your gut, doing the work, asking for help, offering help, connecting the dots, and surrounding yourself with people who believe in you.

3.) The importance of Giving Fun and Focusing on Fun“I wanted to make sure everyone was having fun. Not just having fun, but having fun all the time.  I wanted everyone smiling, laughing and being together.”

4.) Always asking the contribution question – No matter what your role is with the team, how can you contribute to the team?  How can you deliver fun, happiness and energy to everyone you interact with?

5.) Connect on individual level with fans – Advice from Curtis Pride – “Look at the fans more when you want them to get up – and once you have their attention, take your time.” More connection with fans – really focus on them and create built up anticipation for your acts.

6.) Find someone who believes in your dreams.  Mike Kensit, who ran a GM dealership in Ontario believed in Cameron and gave him a minivan and $1000 to make his way to LA.  Mike said “It’s rare to meet someone who mirrors oneself in the relentless pursuit of their dreams – when I met Cameron Hughes I fell in love with his heart, his dreams and his passion.”

“Who you surround yourself with is who you become” Surround yourself with people living their dreams. People pushing themselves to be the best they can be and make the biggest impact.  The key is for me to continue to audit the people I’m speaking most with, hanging out most with and being inspired the most by.

7.) Share best practices and have an abundance mindset. NBA always looking at unique acts and sharing with each other.  Dancing Grannies, FAT GUYS and Kid Acrobats.  How can we look at more kids acts?  Talented kids always get the crowd going.  Dancing kids, kids that can sing.  How can we find the best and most talented kids and have them a part of the act every game?

8.) Great idea to share what you know well and are the best at – Planet Fandemonium.  Cameron’s Idea to explore the greatest sporting events and give viewers a glimpse of behind the scenes.  He went to Daytona 500 and filmed the experience and hope that it could sell to Hollywood. Great idea but didn’t sell.  In retrospect, he wished he just put it on youtube.

At some point, the idea of us going to sporting events and teams and helping them turn around their experience – Bar Rescue style would be a great idea for a show!


What Will You Implement?


1.) What’s Our Watermelon Helmet? Banana Head like Cheese Head?  How can we throw Bananas and integrate Bananas into our game experience?

2.) Body Paint Fans – Can we have more fans body painted going nuts. Banana Boys?  Yellow Men?  Paint them Yellow?  Capes?

3.) Develop character with their own merchandise – Cameron threw out Dancing Guy shirts in the beginning.  Picture of face, or character in crowd, etc.  What shirts, hats, or gear could this person throw out and then sign them – make the person larger than life?

4.) Different Intros for the character – like Blue Jays Manager Call the Bullpen in Pre-recorded video  “Bring Him In” – Could Head Coach go to make pitching change but instead stop half way out to the mound and point the crowd and call in the “Closer”. Could we call this character or a character the Closer – that closes out the game by going crazy and shutting down the other team.  In the 8th Inning – The “Clotheser” comes in and starts ripping off clothes and throwing it at fans to get them fired up and distracting other team – gets the place loud!

5.) Warm up the audience – Cameron did this for Comedy shows. “Just for Laughs” Comedy show – 3,000 people – before the show – started going crazy in the crowd.  He was the out of control ticket holder.  -Dane Cook “What the f__ is that guy on.”

-How can we have an out of control ticket holder go crazy before the game?

6.) Loud, Louder, Loudest – Cameron did this with the crowd with T-Shirt reveal.  Could we paint chests with Loud on it!  Could we get “Loud Noises” shirts and get them around the crowd and swinging them.”     Could we have a “Loud Character” – Still opportunities for Furious George during the game but possibly this Loud Noise Character.

7.) Create a One Man Pep Rally – One person has the ability to get the entire crowd going.  What would the “One Man Pep Rally” look like!

8.) Top 5 Party Starters (Music that needs to be in our mix)

1.) Billy Idol, – Mony, Mony

2.) Steve Aoki – Delirious

3.) Guns N Roses – Welcome to the Jungle

4.) The Killers – Mr Brightside

5.) C+C Music Factory – Everybody Dance Now

9.) Keep working on not needing permission to do crazy things and by myself.  Cameron says, “Why do we seek permission far too often when we know the answer?”


How does it fit in Fans First Way?

“It’s not who doesn’t show up, It’s who does that matters.”

“Share your spirit and joy for life, and it will come back to you.”

“There are other ways to contribute to the team.”

These three quotes are Fans First 1000%.   Every game is someone’s first game.  How do we show up and focus on the people that are there, that matter?  How do we all contribute to bring joy and fun and happiness to everyone we interact with.

This book fits all 6 core beliefs of the Fans First Way.  Caring, Different, Enthusiastic, Fun, Growing and Hungry.

Cameron shares that we need to all “Remove the Barriers to Create an Emotional Experience That Makes Your Fans Comes Alive.”  Do things your fans will feel.   Create a feeling, make fans feel something. That’s Fans First.

It takes courage to go all out.  It takes thinking differently and bringing unparalleled enthusiasm and fun to get out of our comfort zone and grow.

Just. Get. Up.  – Cameron Hughes

As Walt said, “First, think. Second, dream. Third, believe. And finally, dare”