The first week that junior, transfer student Chase Kilmer arrived on campus, he was walking to a class in Lanigan Hall. All of a sudden, Kilmer saw a man donning a red suit and riding a bicycle. He had no idea what the mysterious man was doing or why he was dressed the way he was.
“It just sort of caught me off guard, at first,” Kilmer said.
Another student, Tommy Powell, was at a hockey game his freshman year when he saw four people dressed in red, blue, yellow and green suits. They were standing in the crowd, starting chants and trying to get the wave going. Powell couldn’t help but laugh.
“I think it’s hysterical that they’re like these alter egos,” he said. “It’s like Batman.”
Junior Allie Macey, a resident assistant in Cayuga Hall, was at a hockey game her sophomore year when she first saw these characters. They got the crowd pumped up and excited, she said. Because no one knew who they were, they didn’t get embarrassed, she added.
“They can express themselves and go crazy, whereas dressed like this, I can’t,” Macey said, pointing to her shirt and jeans.
Kilmer, Powell and Macey aren’t the only ones who have seen these characters around campus. Oswego has an entire group of unknown Morphsuit characters, including a RedMan, GreenMan, BlueMan, YellowMan, GreyGirl, PurpleMan, OrangeMan and BlackMan.
The Morphsuit group can often be found at hockey games or walking around campus. Only a few people know their identities.
Oswego BlackMan said that the best thing about the Morphsuit is no one knows who he is. It’s a sort of mystery that draws attention Oswego RedMan said.
But where did the tradition begin?
An Oswego State student, who graduated last year, was watching “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” when a man dressed in a green suit came on the show. This sparked an idea; he quickly jumped on the Internet and started looking up different colored suits. The student later became Oswego GreenMan.
“There was a green man on the show and I thought Oswego could use an unofficial mascot, ” GreenMan said.
RedMan, Jeff McGovern, also graduated last year and said he originally bought his suit with a couple of his friends from home. When he came back to school, he found out that his friend had also bought a suit. RedMan’s roommate, BlueMan, then decided to buy one and join in.
When they first got the suits, they would wear them around the dorms as a kind of joke. From there, the idea grew. The Morphsuit group wanted to get school spirit going on campus.
“At first, it started up as some dorm life fun. But it evolved into a bigger idea,” GreenMan said. “Basically the idea was that we would get together as many morphers as possible and support campus-wide events.”
The first time GreenMan, Sean McCarthy, appeared in public was for Oswego State’s Green and Gold Day in 2010, along with Oswego RedMan and Oswego BlueMan. GreenMan appeared in pictures with other students who were wearing attire to support their school. From there, they started going to hockey games and even residence hall socials.
All the members of the Morphsuit crew sat together at the games and did everything they could to get the spirit going. BlackMan said that they started chants and tried to get different people on the Fan Cam and Kiss Cam. The record for one game was about 14 times, he added.
After success at the first few games, each member even set up a Facebook page and added Oswego State fans. The group started having weekly meetings at Lakeside Dining Hall, Blackman said. At these meetings, they would dress up, go to the dining hall, grab a drink and sit down at a random table. The suits are thin so they were able to take a drink even though their mouths were covered. This tradition became nicknamed “Morphin’ Mondays,” BlackMan said.
He added that his favorite part of wearing the suit is that no one knows who he is. The downside of the suit, however, is that it can sometimes be hard to move normally.
“Breathing is sometimes an issue. Seeing is sometimes an issue,” BlackMan said.
Visibility depends on the suit, he added. People with lighter colors can see better than those with darker colored suits. His suit is the darkest, so at times he runs into things or trips over sidewalks.
Beside a few minor problems, GreenMan said that the suits are actually quite comfortable. They are very airy and free.
“The walks to the hockey games are a bit chilly,” GreenMan said.
In addition to being one of morph men, BlackMan sometimes attends the hockey games dressed as a referee. He said that everyone tends to “hate” on the referees, and that he wants to be that one person who shows support. He added that being the BlackMan is very similar to being the referee.
“It’s the same concept,” he said. “Just people can see my face.”
The members of the Morphsuit group aren’t the only people who try to get school spirit going. Rob Hartman, known on campus as “Boomer” started showing up at the games last year dressed in cut-off jean shorts and a yellow and green wig. Like the Morphsuit group, Boomer’s goal was to get school spirit going.
“School spirit’s always been a big thing with me….I’ve always loved dressing up and going out and being crazy,” Hartman said. “I guess I’m just an attention whore.”
Many people may remember “Boomer” from last year’s Plattsburgh game when he jumped onto the ice to greet the hockey players. Hartman said that one minute he was looking at the glass and the next he was over it. After that game, he was banned from the games for the rest of the season, something that devastated him. This year, however, he said that he will be back at the hockey games, but has to feel out his reception first. He wants to avoid being banned again.
“I’m definitely going to have fun, I’m not just going to sit there,” he said. “I’ll be back in action.”
Hartman said that is looking forward to the opening of the Laker hockey season. Oswego GreenMan and Oswego RedMan both graduated last year, but GreenMan said that he doesn’t plan on going anywhere. He will be at the opening game this weekend and as many games as he can possibly attend.
“Show your support. I mean that’s what hockey is all about,” Hartman said. “Just gotta come out and support the Lakers. They’re our boys.”