After the Athletics department brutally murdered a slew of varsity sports last fall, many athletes on these fallen teams lost their minds, some of them literally. The scores of ghostly figures haunting the entrance of Love Competition Hall, the corridors of McConnell Arena, and the bleachers at Percival Molson Stadium have become regular fixtures of the athletics scene at McGill. The McGill Tribune Sports section summoned a few otherworldly presences by seance to understand what life, or the afterlife rather, has been like for these phantom athletes.
We first met Meathead Jones at the stroke of midnight on the thirty-yard line of the Percival Molson football field. A former member of the lacrosse team, whose varsity status was viciously struck down by McGill’s evil overlords last fall, Jones lopes around the field with crosse in hand, pantomiming—or phantomiming—the drills he used to run with his fellow teammates.
When we spoke to him, we got the sense that Jones is totally oblivious to no longer being on this earthly plane.
“We started pretty slow this season, it’s been hard to practice with the weird hours my teammates have been keeping,” Jones said, his eyes glazed over. “And I keep popping in and out of consciousness, so it’s kinda hard to keep a good training regimen.”
Attempts to gently explain that he had passed on to the next phase of existence were unsuccessful—we left Jones to his burpees and headed toward a shadowy figure lurking underneath the bleachers and staring daggers at us. It turned out to be none other than Jill Jockerman, former lacrosse player on the women’s team from 2009.
“Nobody remembers us,” Jockerman spat out. “I’ve been here for years, and NOW everyone cares because it’s men’s lacrosse that got slashed. Nobody comes and visits me except that loser Meathead! I was doomed to this cursed miserable existence, and now I have to deal with THAT GUY!”
The interview came to an end when Jockerman opened her jaws wider than humanly possible and started screeching like a banshee. We made the executive decision to get the hell out of dodge and to head over to the tennis courts.
Shnovak Shjokovic was forced into athletic retirement when the McGill Tennis team was cut from the list of varsity sports, but the revenant racket-player has found a silver lining to his new after-lifestyle: Pranks.
When we spoke to Shjokovic, who materializes every afternoon on the McGill tennis courts, he explained the ins and outs of his afternoon routine.
“I’ve really been honing in on my craft,” he said. “You know, ever since my sport got cut and they tried to make me take the ‘athlete’ out of ‘student athlete,’ I’ve really just been vibing with scaring some folks for kicks.”
Shjokovic’s favourite pranks include unforgettable classics, such as rattling the fences and letting out ghostly howls. But the tennis player emphasized his creative side, noting that his parlour of jokes has diversified significantly since the start of his japing days. In a fit of jealous rage, after hearing about the promising season the Redbirds football program was set to have, he possessed the team and led them to a 1-7 season, the worst since their 0-9 run in 2011.
“Now I don’t want people thinking I’ve been lazy here,” Shjokovic said. “Last fall, I repainted all the lines on the courts to be slightly off, and man, were people off their game that day—it was hilarious. That wasn’t anything ghostly though, if I’m being honest. I just did it by hand. And it was actually only two courts. Trust though, hilarious.”
It was nearing the witching hour, and Shjokovic was beginning to rattle with excitement. We let him go, and the giddy ghoul disappeared into the netting of the courts.