Inside the furry suit: The Fordham Ram is enjoying a comeback

Ryan Thornton pals around with Fordham's football team. Credit: Vinny Dusovic
Ryan Thornton pals around with Fordham’s football team.
Credit: Vinny Dusovic

Ask any recent Fordham alum about the university’s sports teams, and you might get a bit of a snicker. Despite Fordham’s famed sports history — Vince Lombardi was a football player on the Seven Blocks of Granite, the lineup that dominated the 1930s — lately the school’s point of pride has been academics and proximity to Manhattan.

But all that changed this year: Fordham’s football team is currently 12-1, a school record for most wins in a season. The team won its first-ever home NCAA FCS playoff game against Sacred Heart on Saturday; next week, it takes on Towson.

Standing in the center of the action is Fordham sophomore Ryan Thornton, the Nutley, N.J., native who’s been the Ram mascot since his second semester of freshman year. He says a lifelong love of Fordham sports motivated him to become the campus’ famous tumbling ball of fur.

“Both of my parents graduated from Fordham, and as a kid I would always go to Fordham games,” he says. “The Ram was always my favorite guy to go up to and give a high-five to. I always told my parents, ‘I’m gonna be the Ram one day.’”

After a tryout with the school cheerleaders, Thornton got the job. He says he goes to the gym about twice a week because being the Ram requires a good deal of athleticism.

“You’re constantly walking around, walking up and down stairs, jumping around on the court, getting the fans pumped up,” Thornton says. Not to mention — no surprise here — he has to perform in an extremely hot costume, the head of which alone weighs about 30 pounds. “It definitely gives you a strong neck,” Thornton says.

Only a select few of Thornton’s friends know of his high profile gig.

“Some of them have gotten suspicious over the months — ‘Where are you going? Why aren’t you going to the game with us?’ I’ve told my very close friends, but I do like it more of a secret because that’s a cool aspect of the whole thing. The mascot never takes off the head. No one ever knows the identity. I think it’s a tradition.”

At the game

Thornton, who says he hopes to be the Ram until he graduates, says the mascot’s personality can change from game to game. “I do like being a fierce ram — the animal itself is actually very aggressive, so I definitely am rowdy on the court and on the football field, and I definitely make sure that fans get pumped up,” he says.

He gets them energized by dancing, but he also wins a lot of attention by being a more approachable beast, too. “I make sure I’m friendly though — I go up into the crowd, give high fives to people, take pictures with young children and families.”

It can be hard to keep the crowd on its feet when a team isn’t doing so well, but Thornton tries to channel positivity through the Ram.

“You just gotta keep clapping, lifting your hands, try to get the crowd to stand up and support the team,” he says. “The team has to feed off the crowd.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NBA

Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors in Game…

The Nets traveled to a raucous Air Canada Centre but came out with an important Game 1 victory over the Raptors.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.