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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

'Dark Goat' creator Andrew Virden '96 spawned Mac cheers

By Jamie Macpherson

Few people at Macalester would recognize Andrew Virden ’96 by his real name. Not surprising, since he’s gone by the alias of Grimace since his days as a student at Mac in the early 90’s.”Do you mean the big guy who yells at all the soccer games?” asks a student. Yup, that’s who we’re talking about. What you may not know is that he is the creator of the legendary “Dark Goat,” and many of the Mac soccer cheers that are still in use today.

“[Grimace] attends almost every men’s and women’s soccer game with religious diligence,” Charlie Cosimini ’09 said. Cosimini met Grimace last year while cheering during soccer games; they shared a vocal passion for the game, as well as a knack for teasing the opposing team. “Grimace is all Macalester at heart, and has a passion for our teams that we sometimes forget we are allowed to have at a small school.”

Grimace began attending Scots games his sophomore year. After that, he continued to come out for every home game, regardless of what sport it was. In those days, Grimace was known to jump up in Café Mac and yell out advertisements for the upcoming games.

“Some of my happiest moments, most endearing moments were at Mac games,” Grimace said. “Many of my friendships were formed [in the stands].” These friendships were the basis of an enthusiastic cheering squad, who drove to Cincinnati in 1996 for an away game. According to reports, the 12 Mac students and eight parents made more noise than the entire home team crowd.

Even after he graduated, Grimace made a point of attending Macalester soccer games. He flew back for games in ’97 when the women’s soccer team went to nationals.

Why soccer? According to Grimace, soccer is a Mac-style game: it’s internationally recognized, and focuses more on skill rather than brute force.

Last year, when Grimace moved back to Minnesota from Philadelphia, he began attending soccer games on a regular basis again. “[It was] funny,” Grimace said. “My second day back in the Twin Cities, there was a double header. People were passing out cheer sheets, and maybe five out of the ten [listed] were ones [my friends and I] had started.” Grimace said the passing down of cheers impressed him, because there’s not a connection between the students now and the ones ten years ago. The cheers have become a tradition more-or-less. “It’s nice to feel the torch has been passed,” he said.

It is from Grimace for example that the “Drink Blood, Smoke Crack.” cheer originated, for example. The cheer came out of the idea of a “Dark Goat”.

“The Dark Goat was my creation,” Grimace said. “It was the [men’s] game against Amherst. The Amherst men had scored in the first 60 seconds. At half time it was 0-1, and it was like, ‘What are we gonna do?’ and I said, ‘Well clearly we must pray to Dark Goat, the lapdog of Satan.’ And we won, 3-2, which is why it continued. It was the most awesome game [I’ve ever been to], we stormed the field at the end of the game; it’s the only time I remember that happening.”

For Grimace, attending games is more than just yelling abuse at the referee. The role of the fan is to support the team, and to give them the home advantage. It’s about supporting your friends, he said.

“It’s about athletes who on top of all the hard work they put in academically, are taking many hours out of their day to take on added responsibility.”

Grimace said that he is a little disappointed by the recent fan turnout, however. “I don’t want to be that guy talking about ‘back when I was here.’ so I’ll just comment on this year versus last year. Last year, the student body was more into both teams, but I’m still disappointed that the women’s team doesn’t get more support.especially with it being 60/40 [women to men].” Grimace also wishes there were more support because he believes the teams are worth watching.
“Both the teams show a lot of promise,” he said. “The men are a young team who will be great [in years to come]. They have a bright future. The women have a good shot at winning the play offs.”

Grimace noted that Mac was nationally ranked for best fan attendance at sporting events. But, he said, “I doubt that’s the same this year, even last year, opposing fans would never dare to sit on our half [of the bleachers]. This year, there’ve been a couple of games where we’ve been.forced further to the right [third].”

Grimace says he hopes more people come out to the games to meet new circles of friends and to be a part of the game.

“Come check it out.a lot of learning in college will be done in the classroom; but learning and friendship can happen out of the classroom too.Who’s to say what makes a win. If we’re there, that might be the difference between a win, tie, or loss.”

“[Grimace] helps remind me that Macalester has a breadth of talents and reasons to be involved,” Cosimini said. “Sure, saving the world and helping the poor and oppressed is a good goal and what we like to do most, but that’s no reason we can’t also spend the occasional hour-and-a-half yelling our heads off in friendly rivalries with other schools.

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