What is red and white and wears a kilt? It is none other than McGill’s beloved mascot, Marty the Martlet, who this month turns one.
Marty made his debut during the 2005 Homecoming game, where he was presented to the McGill Athletics Department by the Student Organization for Alumni Relations.
SOAR unveiled the newly designed mascot in hopes of increasing school spirit within the McGill community. The group undertook the responsibility of the creation of a school mascot, which was financed by profits made through the sale of exam care packages. According to Laura Robinson, President of SOAR, the mascot project was solely an initiative of the SOAR group.
“It was student initiated. It was not anything done by the administration of McGill,” Robinson said. “SOAR took it upon itself in order to maximize student experience.”
The design of the mascot was the result of a call put out by SOAR to the student body. According to Robinson, only one submission was received.
Marty represents both the men’s team, the Redmen, and the women’s team, the Martlets. The martlet, a mythical bird that flies forever because it has no feet, was the basis for the costume. Marty’s bright red plumage and red, white and green plaid kilt refer to the Redmen, which points to the ancient Celts’ red hair.
One of the men in the suit is Jeff Petroff, who is part of the Hype Team at McGill. The team devotes its time to promoting games and exciting the crowd during sport and campus events. In Marty’s shoes, Petroff’s job is to amuse and cheer-up the crowd.
“I had the pleasure of running and doing my best tumbling act,” he said. “Unfortunately, my best routine was half of a cartwheel, spinning around on the ground and ending in a seductive position facing the crowd.”
The reaction of the crowd seem to encourage more antics from Marty.
“They cheered and seemed to like it, so I consider it pretty successful. I also do little stupid things like mock opposing players, and wiggle my bum in the face of good looking girls,” said Petroff.
A handful of names were being considered for the mascot such as Byrdman, Mac, Captain Red, Pedro, and Ace, to name a few. By popular vote of the student body, the mascot was officially dubbed Marty during half-time of a football game.
“A piper led us on to the field and they officially named the mascot Marty, at which point I did a little dance then walked back off the field,” Petroff said.
But being Marty is not as easy as it looks. With all the dancing and high-fives, it can get extremely hot. Petroff said it gets so hot that his clothes after the games are as if they were drenched in a tub of water.
Marty is not well known around McGill. Sara El Hajoui, U1 Organismal Biology, Anthropology and Social Studies on Medicine, did not know who Marty was or even what he was, but she was excited by the idea that McGill got a mascot.
“Wow, that’s sad! The school has been running for so long and no mascot!”
Another McGill veteran believes that Marty is too hidden from the campus and is not as well known, as he should be.
“I don’t know who Marty is. A mascot is fun. It’s an identity thing. A pride thing, a part of McGill. He should be known,” said one student.
Keep an eye out for Marty the Martlet, who can be seen at future home games for the Martlets and Redmen.