Cosplay vs. Sports Fans
As I watch the game, I began to see all sports are just another form of cosplay, a phenomenon, which has become all the rage since the mid ‘90s. Cosplay, is contraction of the words “costume and play,” applies to any costume wearing and role playing of characters from comic books, cartoons, video games, action figures and super heroes from television and movies.
Earlier this year, I attended the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo (aka Calgary’s cosplay convention, one of the largest in North America) and was gobsmacked by the number of people who attended, the attention to detail of the costumes and level of role-playing that took place. For some reason, I felt quite comfortable but didn’t know why as I am not a big comic book or super hero fan.
But a light bulb went on for me while at the Stampeders Ticat game. I realized it was because when I was young I too would often fantasize about being a super hero, however, in my case it meant a superstar athlete. When, I would play football on the street and in the park I was always fantasizing. If I was throwing the ball, I would imagine myself as the Ticat quarterback of the day - Bernie Faloney or Joe Zuger. If I was catching the ball, I would be Hal Patterson or Garney Henley. The same when we played street hockey or in the back yard rinks, we always fantasized what player we wanted to be. In my case it always was Jean Beliveau. Yes I lived in a fantasy world.
Oskie Wee Wee?
As I continued to watch the game, the similarities just kept coming. One of the workshops at the Calgary Expo was a lesson in the fictional language of Klingon from the cult Star Trek culture. At the time I didn’t make the connection, but how was this any different from the nonsensical Ticat Oskie Wee Wee chant.
Oskie Wee Wee / Oskie Waa Waa / Holy Mackinaw / Tigers ... Eat 'em RAW!!
Vince Wirtz developed the yell in the 1920s as part of his role-playing as the Hamilton Tigers mascot, Pigskin Pete. FYI…in 1968 the cheer was the subject of a National Film Board of Calgary documentary.
In fact, mascots, majorettes, marching bands and cheerleaders, which were very much associated with football in 50s and 60s, were really a form of cosplay back in the day.
And then there is the football uniform - helmet that could easily be linked to some super hero or space creature hat, the huge shoulder pads and skin-tight pants that further fostered the idea the players were larger than life.