Oh hello, #RoadtoFinal8 friends! My name is Hannah Van Dyk and I’m a fourth year Arts & Contemporary Studies student at Ryerson University. I might have signed you into residence, led you in a cheer during orientation week, emailed you about PFACS, answered a question for you at the AskMeRU desk, or run into you at one of the many Ryerson Rams games.
I’ll be the first to admit it: I’ve never been an athletic person and I don’t understand sports whatsoever. I mean, icing is a call when ice comes up off a player’s skate, right?
But something changed in my second year at Ryerson. I never became more athletic (I can only pretend to go to the gym for about a month before it gets old for me), but I started to very passionately believe in the Ryerson Rams. And I also started to passionately cheer, but that’s another story for another day.
After attending Rams games – many clad in blue and yellow striped socks or face paint – the fandom began to seep into every area of my life, and far too many of my conversations ended up with me, giving an excited account of the happenings at the game each weekend. So when I started MCing for the Rams this year, it was a dream come true.
Over my past four years at Ryerson, I’ve seen what everyone labelled an “apathetic student body” care about sports at Ryerson. I’ve seen the excitement building at a Rams game, when our men’s hockey team is up by three and gets one more goal. Or when women’s volleyball is one set away from bringing down the number one team in the country. Or when the men’s basketball team decides to bring new meaning to the word “dunkaroos”.
Since I’ve been at Ryerson, all I’ve seen is history being made: the reopening of Maple Leaf Gardens as our house now, the Ashoka Changemaker campus, the number of nationally ranked teams, and more. Now, we have the opportunity to be a part of Ryerson’s history again as we host Ryerson’s first national tournament: the CIS Final 8 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
You should be excited because this is incredible basketball – people pack the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa to see Carleton and Ottawa play each other and here it is, happening right in your backyard. And even if you don’t understand sports whatsoever, the energy, and spirit that fills the MAC when students pack it is unparalleled to any football movie I’ve watched or basketball scene I saw in One Tree Hill. That is beyond cool to be a part of.
I’m incredibly jazzed to be live blogging and updating social media about this incredible journey from a fan and MC perspective, and I cannot wait to see you all at the first Ryerson Rams games – I’ll probably be the one with a drum and face paint. Let’s cheer our boys on to many Final 8 victory!
Blog #2 : The Definitive Guide on How To Become a Rams Super Fan
I want to dispel a common myth about being a Rams fan: it’s not all blow horns and cheering. It took a lot of hard work to unlock super fan status, but fear not: I’m here to share four tips on how you can incorporate a little Rams fandom into your every day life and begin your journey to super fan status before the CIS Final 8 Men’s Basketball Championship.
1. Wear the Rams gear.
A little known fact is that the MAC counter sells amazing Rams gear – everything from a nice baseball hat to a cute winter toque with a pom pom on it. Not a hat person? Check out their hoodies and sweatpants – incredibly comfy and oh so styling.Every day, you should wake up and ask yourself, “Is today a good day to wear Rams gear?” The answer should always, always, ALWAYS be yes. A well placed blazer over a Ryerson Rams t-shirt can look smart and fun. It’s not just about that Ryerson hoodie – the bookstore has a variety of Rams polos, which make you look smart. A side benefit of constantly wearing Rams gear is people may mistake you for an athlete, which tends to make me laugh in their face, but it’s a great momentary confidence booster. Rams Pride t-shirts are also available for sale at the MAC’s counter!
2. Watch the games on Twitter and The Rams Network!
Not on Twitter but love watching sports? Ryerson live streams a lot of their home games on the Rams Network, with incredible hosts, great video feeds, and fun commentaries. Split screen your computer and watch the game while you’re working on that paper at home! As Hannah Montana would say, you get the best of both worlds.I get it: Ryerson is a commuter campus, and staying for a game isn’t always feasible for everyone, even if there are three dollar beers and great feats of athleticism. But that’s why social media is fantastic: during almost every single game, you can stay updated on the highlights via the Ryerson Rams twitter feed! Turn on the notifications to stay updated on all Ryerson Rams tweets and you can cheer on the bus ride home. Or take a page from my book and turn them on all the time – I’m at most of the games and try to predict when they’re going to tweet.
3. Head to an off-campus game.
Are you closer to York than you are to Ryerson? Surprise, Ryerson plays at York! The Rams are on the road constantly, so if you live closer to another school, or you’re bored at home, looking for something fun to do, the right choice is always to go cheer on the Rams. Challenge yourself and see if you can get louder than the home crowd. I promise you, it is possible.If you’re really dedicated, head across town to the University of Toronto and take in a game! While their arena isn’t as nice as renovated Maple Leaf Gardens, their facilities are great for basketball and volleyball. Count how many people do a double take and give you a dirty glare when they see you in a sweet Rams hoodie. Go to any school, but just don’t forget where you belong & whose house? OUR HOUSE.
4. Just Show Up.
You don’t have to cheer loudly, you don’t even have to enjoy sports, you don’t even have to understand what is going on. But, as students, I like to think at some point or another, we all want to support each other in some way, shape, or form. Sometimes, just showing up is a great way to support our students athletes. And who knows? You may learn something or even enjoy it! My journey to becoming a super fan started that exact way: I just started showing up, and I fell in love with all things Ryerson Rams. I hope you start your super fan journey by showing up at the CIS Final 8 – I cannot wait to see you there!!
Blog #3 : The Stories Behind the Swag
There’s one person who’s been with me through my entire Ryerson Rams journey: my roommate, best friend, and Ryerson Rams Super Fan #2, Melissa Muller.
Hi fans! My name is Melissa Muller, but you can call me Mel (I’ve always wanted to be nicknamed Mel). Contrary to popular belief, I am Ryerson Rams Super Fan #1 – but my grammar is so bad, they won’t let me write blog posts. Which is why Hannah is writing this down for me right now.
She’s moved from striped socks to a striped shirt, and she joins me today to bring you the stories behind our favourite Ryerson Rams swag.
I. The Striped Socks:
In our second year at Ryerson, Mel and I began to go to Ryerson Rams games all the time. Obsessively so. We would go all out – painting our faces, grabbing whatever blue and gold gear we had, and making signs for our favourite players.
AKA our other roommate, number 28 on the women’s hockey team, Melissa Wronzberg… and there may be one for someone’s whose name looks suspiciously like Algebra…
One day, we were at the Ryerson bookstore and we saw striped rugby socks in a delightful blue and gold colour. From then on, there was no looking back. We would wear our blue and gold socks so frequently, we started to be referred to as “the girls with the striped socks” – it was our fifteen seconds of Ryerson fame.
It got to a point where we didn’t even need to show our OneCard to get into games – they’d see the socks and let us right in. These are the best investment any Ryerson Rams fan could make and they go really nice with a good pair of Birkenstocks.
II. The Blowhorns:
Okay, so this spirit item is actually supposed to be called a “vuvuzela” but Mel and I have always called them blow-horns, so bear with us.
This was the most annoying – but best – investment we ever made into Ryerson Rams swag and it was freeeeee!
When Mel and I started going to games, we also picked up a pair of blow-horns. We would play along on our blow-horns to all the songs, we’d use them for cheering – they were great. I think this is when our nickname changed to “the annoying girls with the blow-horns.”
When people would see the blow-horns in hand, their eyes would fill with both fear and annoyance. But deep inside their Rams loving hearts, they secretly loved it.
In third year, Mel started working at the MAC and we couldn’t go to games as much – but there was one student night where she didn’t have to work, so we donned our socks, threw on a Ryerson Rams t-shirt, and grabbed our blow-horns. Naturally, we began to lead cheers, and then this photo happened, and the Ryerson Rams got a lot of free advertising out of us. And we got really great Facebook profile pictures.
This photo was the greatest thing to ever happen to me – right up until they put “game” right on my face for a contest where you had to show your best game face. I literally had the word game on my face. PS. Ryerson Rams, please respond: does that count for my best game face?
Here’s a lesson for all you up and coming super fans: grab a blow-horn, cheer a bunch, and you too can be the fan face of the Ryerson Rams.
And the game face.
III. The Sweatshirts:
Disclaimer: For whatever reason, I’ve always thought Dr. Ivan Joseph’s name wasn’t cutting it. It had to be brought to the next level. There had to be a Sir. So he will hence forth be referred to as Sir Dr. Ivan Joseph.
At the beginning of February, the Ryerson Rams had nine home games in a row. From Wednesday to Sunday, basketball, volleyball, and hockey were all played at the MAC. And Mel and I went to every. Single. Game.
I live for these weekends. In other words, I live at the MAC these weekends.
On Sunday afternoon, at a rousing volleyball game, Mel and I ran into Sir Dr. Ivan Joseph and proudly exclaimed we had finally made it. We’d finally achieved a perfect weekend. We were getting the gold star for attendance.
He told us a perfect weekend deserved some Ryerson swag, and we jokingly told him our sizes. Suddenly, he left, never to be seen again. Plot twist: he was seen again.
When he walked back in with two beautiful sweaters draped over his arms, Mel and I had to keep looking at the court, trying to keep our cool. That proved difficult, because we’re not super cool to begin with – but we got incredible sweaters and a picture with Sir Dr. Ivan Joseph to boot.
Yes, again: that is Sir Dr. Ivan Joseph.
Over the last four years, the only thing better than cheering on the Rams and collecting Rams swag has been having a best friend to do it with.
As a final note from Super Fan Number 1, as Hannah said, it is amazing to cheer with your best friend. And some super fan advice to all you aspiring super fans – as Hilary Duff once said: “Why not cheer as loud as you can for your Ryerson Rams?” (I paraphrased a bit.) See you at the Final 8! I’ll be the one in the striped shirt.
So – who are you going to the CIS Final 8 with? Are any of your favourite Ryerson Rams moments with your best friends? Tweet us and let us know! We can’t wait to see you there.
Blog #4 : The Final Days: Super Fan Prep
What are you doing to prepare in the final days before the championship?
Physically, I’ve been hitting the gym again to make sure my lungs are ready for all the cheers. I’ve also been hydrating a lot and drinking lots of tea so my voice can cheer at its loudest capacity.
I went to Windsor this weekend to watch the women’s basketball team on their own #RoadToFinal8 & that was a great warm up for cheering in hostile environments. I didn’t learn any new cheers, but I did observe and learn a lot from those leading cheers there.
Mentally, I’m just really trying to get amped up. In my world, that means listening to Taylor Swift & the new Carly Rae Jepsen song, as well as watching the “40 Inspirational Speeches in Two Minutes” video.
What are you most looking forward to?
- Ooh, I’m looking forward to a couple of things.
- Wearing blue & gold swag every single day this week
- Leading a psyched up school in cheers
- Hanging out with Eggy a whole bunch
- Seeing Ryerson come together and cheer towards a common goal
What are you most nervous about?
Leading a cheer and having no one follow me. Or blowing into my blowhorn and having a gross noise escape. There’s nothing worse than being in the midst of a cheer and not bringing your A+ blowhorn game.
Do you have any pre-game or post-game rituals?
I like to warm up my blowhorn by playing it along with a few songs. I also like to crush back a Coca Cola or some coffee so I’m caffeinated enough to be ridiculous while leading cheers. And, of course, I dance around to Taylor Swift’s classic hit, “Shake it Off.”
But remember: every super fan’s pre-game ritual is different.
What are you hoping for from Ryerson students during the Final 8?
For the love of the Ryerson Rams and mini eggs, I hope students show up & don’t leave me cheering all by myself. This is a showing of the best basketball in Canada, and all the games will be incredible to watch.
And from myself: if I don’t sound like a 60 year old woman who has smoked her whole life after this championship, I’ve failed.