29th Time’s the Charm
By George Kite
On the hallowed grounds of Rose Hill, the legacy of Fordham’s athletic achievements shine bright. The 7 Pillars of Granite, the bell, the Lombardi name, and other mementos to Fordham’s athletic prowess are held high. Yet today, Fordham is seeing a crisis in school spirit. Attend any football or basketball game and the crowds are lively, but too often there is a teetering feeling that all depends on how good the team is playing. The bleachers are almost never filled, and even though we love our school, we can’t all profess to love our sports teams.
A number of factors can be attributed to our lack of school spirit. For one, we are a split school: many students go to Lincoln Center, and must travel to attend a football or basketball game, so our entire student body is not present at sports events. Our football performance has been lacking, especially in comparison to previous years. On top of all that, our campus culture is much more oriented towards academics than athletics.
I believe that there is a school spirit crisis going on at Fordham. There is only one logical solution to this crisis: revive the Rameses dynasty.
From 1925 to 1978, Fordham kept a real, living ram named Rameses on campus that attended sports events and was the official mascot. This is similar to Butler’s bulldog: Blue, the Air Force’s falcons, North Carolina’s wolf: Tuffy (actually a Malamute mix), and A&M’s actual Longhorn: Tevo. Numerous other colleges have live animal mascots, some of them being rams. In the past, the Rameses rams were kept on campus, with students typically taking care of him.
I think it’s important to state why we no longer have Rameses before I explain why we need him again. Last semester, The Observer at Lincoln Center did an article outlining some of the troubles that some Rameses had. On multiple occasions, Rameses was kidnapped by rival colleges like NYU, Georgetown, and Manhattan College. Some Rameses died in accidents, like a barn fire and a gangrene infection. On more than one occasion, rival schools ended up killing Rameses by accident or on purpose, and some Rameses had to be retired or put down because they were troublesome or sick. In 1978, the school ended the tradition of having a Rameses because of “rising food, medical, and security costs.” Thus, the dynasty ended with Rameses XXVIII.
Let me be clear: the last thing I would ever want is an animal, no less our school mascot, being a drain on the school or ending up getting hurt. But I believe that times have changed, and that Fordham is ready to bring back Rameses the ram.
The first reason to bring him back is that times have changed, and I believe Rameses would be safer and healthier than previous Rameses. I think it’s safe to say that although we have rivals, that the act of kidnapping and hurting another school’s live animal mascot would be unanimously seen as despicable and unethical, as the maltreatment of animals has become a much more visible concern since 1978. In addition, veterinary medical technology has improved greatly since. Vaccines, anti-parasite, and antibiotic medicine has become more commonplace and advanced; a Rameses today would have a much better time than previous Rameses.
In addition, I think that the university doesn’t necessarily have to keep Rameses on campus if it will compromise his safety. I suggest keeping Rameses on a farm upstate and bringing him in for sports and large public events would ensure that he has both plenty of peace, rest, and green grass while still being a part of Fordham.
But the biggest reason would be an increase in school spirit. Imagine the social media attention Rameses would generate today. Students will be lining up to get a photo with Rameses to post on Instagram and Snapchat. His presence on admissions pamphlets will make prospects students think “Wow, that’s so cool they have a ram!” When Rameses would come onto the field or the court, no doubt would his presence bolster enthusiasm. Rameses would no doubt be one of the cooler things to have a sports events.
So, I ask Fordham administration, Fordham athletics, and the students of Fordham to seriously consider bringing back Rameses. It must be stated that, in comparison to renovating athletic structures, spending more on sports events, and hiring better sport coaches, a Rameses would not be putting a dent into the school budget. Rameses also has a legacy, a presence in the hearts of alumni, a statue by Huges and Dealy, and our mascot. It is anything but illogical to not have a real, live ram as part of our university. For Fordham’s sake, we need a Rameses XXIX.
** The Observer article mentioned in this piece can be read here