The ‘Dark Goat’: A Mac soccer superfan for the ages

By Patrick Murphy

There are few certainties in this crazy world. Death. The rising and setting sun. And the “Dark Goat” screaming his head off at Macalester soccer games. Anyone who has ever gone to a Mac soccer game is sure to have taken notice of and been inspired by the “Dark Goat.” But a precious few know the story of this Mac legend. After getting to know the man behind the legend at games this fall, I decided it was time to share his story. On Tuesday afternoon, I sat down with the ‘Goat aka Grimace to discuss everything from soccer to politics to drinking blood, smoking crack and worshipping Satan. TMW: When did you graduate? What did you study? DG: I graduated from Macalester in 1996 with a double major in Communication Studies (now defunct) and History. What was your role with Mac Soccer while you were a student? I was always just a fan. I began watching the men’s team in 1992 as a first-year. In 1993, I became friends with a number of the women’s players and started attending their games. What is the “Dark Goat?” “Dark Goat” was something we came up with during an epic game versus Amherst in 1994. Amherst boasted a nationally-ranked team and scored on us within the first few minutes of the game. Other fans turned to me during halftime and asked what we were going to do. I joked that we should channel the energy of Dark Goat, the lapdog of Satan. My friends Aaron Merrill ’98, Mike Mason ’99 and Jason Rhea were sitting with me and we were talking about the stereotypes that other MIAC schools have about Macalester. I said “Drink Blood,” Mike added “Smoke Crack,” Jason added “Worship Satan,” and Aaron concluded “Go Mac!” And thus the cheer was created. We won the game 2-1, and we stormed the field! Last year, it was named one of the seven memorable sports chants by Mental Floss, a blog. And “Dark Goat” has been a staple of Macalester soccer ever since. What do you do when you’re not at Mac soccer games? I recently completed my MA in Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and am a political consultant. I am currently working part-time as a Field & Policy Director and Volunteer Coordinator for a DFL candidate (who is a Mac grad) for U.S. Congress in the western suburbs. I am continuing to look for full-time work in campaigns. Could you briefly summarize your post-graduation career as Mac soccer’s #1 fan? I left the Twin Cities in 1997 to move to Detroit although I was still friends with many of the men’s and women’s team players. I came back for some games as well as caught a few on the road in Chicago and Cincinnati during NCAA playoffs. I lived in Detroit on and off for about a decade and returned to the Twin Cities in 2006. I missed the 2008 season because I was working as a Field Organizer for the Obama campaign in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. When was the last home game you missed? Why’d you miss it? The last Mac home game I missed was September 10 this year due to my mom’s birthday. Who have been the most memorable players over the years? There have been a lot of great players on both teams over the years! Jen Scanlon ’94, the Epperson sisters (Nikki ’96, Brooke’98 and Tawni ’98). I was friends with a lot of the women from the run up to the 1998 NCAA Div III National Championship team including former women’s coach, Kate Ryan-Reiling ’00 and current coach Jemma Merrick-Perkins ’00. We used to sing “Amazing Grace” when Grace King ’08 scored, which was often. I was also a big fan of men’s assistant coach, Carson Gorecki ’10, who came back for his redshirt senior season due to injury. I like a lot of the current players on both teams too. Not just their style of play on the field, but support for the other teams in the stands. Our women’s soccer team is frisky, but they get away with it because who can get mad at our women’s soccer team? What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen at a soccer game? In the 90s, a St. Thomas cheerleader approached me during the half to let me know that the “Blue and Orange” cheer would work better if I reversed the word order because there are more words that rhyme with blue than orange. Thanks for the tip! [shakes head] Have you had any run-ins with opposing fans over the years? Quite the opposite! Earlier this season, a parent from St. Scholastica tapped me on the shoulder and told me how much he enjoyed the cheers. A former co-worker, who played for Bethel, told me that they actually looked forward to playing at Mac because of the fan support. She said that her home games were mostly parents and boyfriends, but they lacked general student support. How many of the traditional cheers are your creation? “Blue and Orange,” “Drink Blood, Smoke Crack,” “Wings of a Sparrow,” and I popularized, although did not create, “The Jiggalo.” What keeps you coming back over the years? I love Macalester and Mac soccer! Although it was sad to see long-time coach John Leaney retire in ’09, I was happy that the team stayed in the hands of Mac soccer alum Kate Ryan-Reiling ’00 and now Jemma Merrick-Perkins ‘00. I also really enjoy seeing Mac soccer alums such as Paige Fitzgerald ’94 and Matt Highfield ’94, and my former soccer-crazed friends I used to watch games with. I have also connected with Ken, a 60s alum of the Mac soccer team when it was still just a club sport, as well as Father Bob O’Donnell. I have also gotten to know the men’s team’s rowdy parents–Jay Weiner, the Weyers, the Marshalls and James Rasmussen, to name but a few. What are your thoughts on this year’s teams? I think that both teams had some unlucky breaks this year. The men had some issues with red cards, including what appeared to be a questionable call against St. Olaf last week, which cost a late penalty kick and the game. I have been impressed with the senior leadership on the team as well as the play of first-year Taro Takigawa ’15 among others. The women have been plagued with injuries this year including crucial season-ending losses of Emily “Tink” Humphries ’12 and Kat Lenhart ’12, a member of last years’ NSCAA All-North Region team. That said, I think this meant that several first-years got valuable college game experience, and that will pay dividends in the coming years. The women are going to miss the great touch by Matea Wasend ’12 and vocal leadership and play on the field of Lucy Miner ’12 next year. What is your favorite Mac soccer moment? Following John Leaney’s final game in 2009, John did the Jiggalo with the team. It was without a doubt my favorite Mac soccer moment since I have been following the team. I heard a rumor that you’re moving… Is this true? And if so, what happens to the Dark Goat? No, but I am trying to train an eventual successor. As my mom says, “aren’t you getting old for all that cheering?” Ned Molter ’15 aka “William Wallace” is showing excellent promise as a first-year. And my favorite is Romare, the four year-old son of Mac alumni, who loves “The Dojo” and cheering “Matt-hew, Wey-er” in random parks with his four year-old buddies. If only we could conceive of a way to program Mac soccer fans in the womb, then I could retire for real!