Remembering 2008: Best Sports Writing

The second in a series of very lazy year end posts that, like a good clip show, celebrate our best moments of the year with absolutely no creative effort of any kind. The following article first appeared in our last  issue of the semester.

Editor’s note: This was the greatest piece of sports journalism to be published during my time as sports editor of the paper. Fact.

I R-Am Legend
I R-Am Legend

From Ramulus To Ramses

A paper Sport’s History

By Alexander Gibbons
Staff Historian

The story of Fordham University’s live Ram mascot, Ramses, his conception, birth, and the details of his life, has forever been a topic of intense debate amongst the scholarly elite.

Since his death of lead poisoning in the early seventies (Ramses was kidnapped by a reckless band of Manhattan College Scientologists and painted green as a tasteless prank, he contracted lead poisoning as a result) arguments over the life of Ramses have been know to incite violent altercations, most notable the 1980 Spaghetti Incident which left 59 dead and hundreds more wounded, leading to a consensus that arguments over the elements of Ramses life are preposterous. Such disputes allow for the interjection of overzealous and heretical Ramses followers whose records are often filled with salacious and factually inaccurate material.  The most accurate history available is a hazily recorded collection of stories supported both by oral recounts of Ramses’ life and a compilation of incomprehensible scrawlings, most written in cryptic languages, haphazardly dashed upon back issues of Hustler magazines with a ritualistic mixture of white-out and bird feces.

Few know the Ram's lineage can be traced as far back as Jason and the Argonauts.
Few know the Ram's lineage can be traced as far back as Jason and the Argonauts.

To fully realize the importance of Ramses and the impact his personality had on Fordham University, one must observe his lineage.  The earliest ancestor to Ramses that can be recounted is the ram Ramulus, who escaped Rome while it was being sacked in 476.  There is no known ancestor to Ramulus, and it is told that he was one of the original founders of Rome, escaping Troy aboard the ship of Aeneis.  This is highly unlikely, however, as it would make Ramulus over 1000 years old.  Certain myths of Greek lore describe an earlier ancestor to Ramulus as the bearer of the Golden Fleece so ardently sought out by Jason and his Argonauts.  Such stories are fallacious and probably not of Greek origin, most likely appearing sometime during the Pagan revival of Julian the Apostate.  Most reputable versions of Ramulus’ life place him in Genoa sometime around 500 where his offspring Ramenstein was born.

Historians have been unable to bridge the epoch between Ramenstein’s birth in 500 and the appearance of Ramulus VI at the establishment of the Spanish Inquisition in 1478.  Ramulus VI was violently murdered two years later by a band of incensed English peasants who blamed him for the great pestilence that ravaged the countryside.  Later, Ramulus VIII was named an honorary Jesuit by his owner St. Ignatius of Loyola, and was present for the establishment of the Jesuits in 1534.  In 1620 an unknown member of the family is said to have traveled to the new world on the Mayflower.  This is most likely the case, as a one Ramulus XII was the determining factor of many of the tribunals during the Salem Witch trials of 1692 and 1693 (one baah witch, two baahs smarter witch).  Many attribute Ramulus XII’s involvement in the trials to a momentary lapse in moral judgment, though others speculate he may have had a personal agenda in the matter as many of his victims were known shepherds (rams and sheep alike despise all shepherds, they find their attitude rude and condescending).

FU founder Gil
FU founder John "Gil" Hughes

In 1840, noted drunk, priest, and failed traveling salesmen John Hughes came into possession of Ramulus XVI.  It is said that Ramulus XVI aided Hughes in his regeneration and eventual founding of St. John’s College (Fordham University), speaking to Hughes in his sleep and revealing to him the finer details of how one should run a place for higher education.  Once again the Ramulus lineage had fallen under the domain of the Jesuits, and Rose Hill became the home for all future members of the clan.

In 1927 the surname Ramulus was dropped and rams of that family took on the name Ramses which would be applied to every future member of the clan regardless of gender.  Ramses received praise as the official university mascot during football games, and was noted for being extremely close with Harry, a truck horse who pulled the university’s lawnmower.  Sadly, however, the end of the 1927 football season put Ramses into a sever depression, and he was executed on December 11th by The Ram staff after a brief pursuit into the depths of the Botanical Gardens.  His body was made into a stew, his head stuffed and mounted as a trophy for The Ram staff.

For years to come, the Ramulus clan was defined by deception and deviance.  Three Ramses were killed in a span of twelve years, each of them found with a quart of whiskey in their stomachs.  One Ramses was found with a note attached to his wool and a bullet lodged in his brain.  The note was unreadable (it was written in windings) and the bullet failed to fully kill Ramses.  His meat was used for a broth and his head stuffed and made into a decorative penholder for Avery Cardinal Dulles.  It was not until 1967, when the last of the Ramses was born, that glory returned to the Ramulus clan.  After a serious bout of depression, and a struggle with alcoholism, Ramses became a center of spirit on the Rose Hill campus, rallying Fordhamites during ‘The Big Football Game of 1973” in which Fordham defeated Manhattan College by 40 points.  The next day, Ramses green and bloated body was found on Edward’s Parade.  He had never been with a woman, and the Ramulus lineage came to a sad and silent end.

"Baaaaah"
"Baaaaah"

A small procession made its way to the Bronx beach where Ramses’ ashes and all memories of him were scattered into the Atlantic Ocean.  Since his death, the Fordham mascot has been a large and frightening ram in Fordham attire.  To decide who shall be keeper of the costume (who in turn would give life to the mascot at all sporting events), a society of Ramses was established.  Fordham administration refuses to comment on the existence of this society, and its secrecy has ranked it amongst some of the most infamous secret-societies in history, boasting a larger membership than both The Skulls and the Free Masons.  These keepers of the great ram consider themselves true ancestors of Ramses, and within their cult of confidentiality lays the true and complete history of the Ram.

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