Amidst Devastating Identity Crisis, Raider Checks into AA

Mike McMaster

It is with a heavy heart and a burden of responsibility that this week The Colgate Maroon-News must confirm vicious rumors surrounding the Colgate Raider’s admission into a Hamilton Alcoholics Anonymous clinic last week. Unable to fend off scandalous whisperings atop the hill any longer, Raider contacted The Maroon-News this week for an exclusive interview. In telling his heart-wrenching story of addiction to drugs and alcohol, Raider offered a deep and sincere apology to the Colgate faithful.

“I was a mess,” the Raider said. “I knew I had to do something when a few weekends ago I woke up with only a vague memory of the Jug, scattered recollections of Nichols and the number 13 tattooed on my ass.”

Working with the AA 12-step program, the Raider is already well on his way to recovery. He has admitted to his problem, and has a sincere hope that this article will begin a journey along the long road of reconciliation that he will no doubt face with Colgate fans across the nation.

“It all started back in 2001 when they changed my name,” Raider said. “I had always been the ‘Red Raider,’ and when they took that away from me, I didn’t know who or what I was anymore.”

Prior to 2001, Colgate’s mascot had been known as the ‘Red Raider,’ and although depictions of a Native American Indian as the mascot had disappeared in the 1970s, the Colgate mascot’s name remained unchanged. Then, in 2001, a group of Colgate students approached the Colgate administration asking that the potentially offensive name be changed. The mascot was renamed “Raider,” in 2001, and Colgate’s mascot, as seen today, was released in 2006.

“I get it. Some people wanted a change. And I’m cool with that. But for five long, depressing years, I was just Raider. No face, no shape, no color, no sex, just Raider.”

It was at this point in 2001 amidst a devastating identity crisis that Raider started experimenting with cocaine. When asked where he procured his Columbian nose candy, Raider responded, “I was strolling through the Cutten parking lot one day when I found what I thought was a bag of sugar. I wanted to hand it over to Campus Safety, but instead I started putting it in my coffee. But before long, it was cocaine for breakfast, coke for lunch…”

We can only imagine what was on Raider’s menu for dinner.

After 2001, Raider disappeared from the Colgate campus for five years, fully consumed by his substance addictions. Raider has now confessed that during this five-year hiatus, he worked as a Mexican drug mule. While in Mexico, Raider worked smuggling drugs across the border for unnamed, high ranking Mexican gang members.

“That was when I hit rock bottom,” Raider said through muffled sobs and tears. “I did unforgiveable things during my time in Mexico. I have no doubt that they will haunt my dreams for the rest of my life.”

In 2006, Raider resurfaced on the Colgate campus in the form that we see him today.

“It was a cry for help,” Raider said, “but nobody listened.”

With his hair grown out down to his shoulders, and the rosy color in his cheeks replaced by a pale, deathlike grey, Raider wandered the bleachers of Andy Kerr stadium, with his flask of homemade moonshine holstered underneath his baggy jersey.

Despite the obvious physical transformation of the Raider, friends and family at Colgate failed to notice that their beloved mascot’s life-threatening addiction was sending Raider into a downward spiral.

“I didn’t know who I was,” Raider said. “I was nameless, sexless, culturally mute and largely shapeless.”

Escaping from his personal hell in Mexico, Raider hoped his return to his Hamilton homeland would inspire positive change in his life, but merciless mocking from opponents and opposing fans crippled his already severely damaged ego.

“People laughed at me. They pointed, they called me names. I felt like I was Samuel Powers (Screech) on the set of Saved by the Bell.”

But at a 2007 Colgate hockey game against Cornell, Raider found he was helpless to defend himself against the vicious insults hurled at him by Cornell fans and alumni.

“They were really hurtful, but I couldn’t do anything about it. So in my drunken stupor, I yelled, ‘What’s a Big Red?’ – I was later informed that it is a bear of some sort.”

Since then, Raider has resolved to turn a new leaf. His efforts to turn his life around have inspired admiration from many Colgate students and Raider is well on its way to recovery. We at The Maroon-News feel that it is important to embrace our clearly misunderstood mascot in its hour of need. Although struggling through a mid-life crisis, the grey blob that patrols the Colgate stands at athletic events still bleeds Maroon (once again calling into question, what, exactly, it is). And because of Raider’s unrivaled and unquestioned school spirit, Colgate students should love it for it, whatever it is.