By A Former Eggy
“Hey Eggy, look up at the ceiling!”
I looked up. I didn’t think I’d get punched in the throat.
It was a holiday event at Pitman Hall, a typical function for Eggy the Ram, Ryerson’s favourite—and only—mascot. I didn’t suspect foul play when I was told to look at the ceiling decorations; what kind of mascot has human enemies? But before I knew it, I was kneeled over, quietly gasping for air.
This was one of many unfortunate incidents that happened to me during my three-year tenure as Eggy. It was a job of both reward and injury, with half the pain coming from drunk spectators hitting me in the boobs, and the other half derived from internal agony from swaths of people asking, “How hot is it in there?”
In 2014, before I even started at Ryerson, I saw the job posting on Career Boost. The interview was more of an audition: it was an hour-long meeting followed by an hour of being Eggy the Ram, shaking hands and miming my way through different scenarios in the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC).
By my first day of classes, I’d already been notified I would be Eggy. At times there were as many as six of us working in a single season. We were almost our own team.
The next three years on the job didn’t come without challenges. Some of my most mortifying moments as a human happened while performing as Eggy the Ram.
“It was a job of both reward and injury”
The highlights include my sweatband slipping down my forehead until it covered my eyes and then I blindfoldedly fell down an entire set of bleachers at the MAC.
Another time, I publicly vomited into Pitman Hall’s outdoor garbage can in front of an entire campus tour of prospective freshmen (Thankfully, my Eggy head was removed). I’m sure there’s a Vine of it somewhere.
Ah, yes, and there’s the time I kept falling on the ice when I was asked to run from one end of the rink to the other during a sumo-wrestling competition game at a hockey game intermission. Eggy’s shoes, by the way, aren’t shoes—they’re large padded socks that fit a pair of Keds or Converse on the inside and are not suitable for ice skating.
There are lots of wonderful things I got to see through Eggy’s eyes, and I feel like I saw it all: awkward first-year residence parties, graduation ceremonies, street festivals and blood-donor clinics. One time, I embarrassed myself on Breakfast Television. Somewhere in their archives, there’s a video of Eggy in the background with a basketball, about two metres away from the hoop, missing the shot. I think it’s still saved on my parents’ PVR.
But the best part about being Eggy were the sports games. He sits with families cheering (or screaming) for their kid, and meets younger hockey players whose eyes widen as they enter the former Maple Leaf Gardens. The courts and stadiums are full of athletes, fans, volunteers, families, cheerleaders, dancers and employees who are all there for the same reason: Ryerson.
Nothing quite compares to leading a stadium full of screaming fans to the YMCA or doing my best air-kazoo solo to Europe’s The Final Countdown for rows of spectators (at least, that’s how I pictured it). Who cares if the songs only lasted 22 seconds in between plays? I’m sure they all loved it.
Affectionately known on my mascotting team as the “cute Eggy,” I wiggled as I sat and giggled (inaudibly) when meeting new people. The goal was to be so sweet and friendly that no one would ever be scared of mascots again.
Even though I never paid attention to Ryerson sports as an individual during my time as a student, getting to be a small part of the school’s athletics program made me realize how much sports offers to Ryerson. Everyone who goes here belongs to this community—even the mascot.
I think if everyone looks closely—even through the double-stitched screen of a mascot’s smile like I did—they’ll see a place for themselves here, too. Hopefully they don’t get punched in the throat in the process.