Embarrassed Jim Ryan reveals he was Cav-Man at Virginia Tech, wanted to surprise victorious team with hilarious prank

Humor Columnist Jess Miller reveals the surprising undercover visitor at the UVA-Virginia Tech game

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Certainly the humiliation of riding back to Charlottesville cradling the Cav Man head and receiving cold stares from Coach Bronco Mendenhall and his players is something Ryan won’t soon forget.

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Already in his short time as president of the University, Jim Ryan has become famous for his fun-loving spirit, and such hilarious hijinks as dressing up like a greeter on move-in day to come to terms with the fact that no U.Va. student really knew what he looked like. President Ryan recently had another trick up his sleeve as he donned the iconic Cav Man suit and travelled with the football team to Blacksburg, Va., hoping to reveal the elaborate ruse in the Cavaliers’ inevitable moment of victory against longtime rivals, Virginia Tech. But his hopes were soon dashed.

Things did not look good for the Hoos after the first half, down 14-0 against the Hokies. But Ryan wasn’t worried, citing the Hokies’ generally poor performance during the season, and Virginia’s 14-year long losing streak fueling the superior team. And it wasn’t long before Virginia came back, scoring four touchdowns in as many possessions in the second half and securing a lead over Tech. Ryan sweated in the aging mascot suit as he eagerly awaited the moment when his 72-hours’ toil would come to fruition.

Much to the sweating and exhausted president’s dismay, regulation time ended in a tie, 31-31,  forcing the game into overtime. Still, Ryan was not worried, and took his mind off the pain in his shoulders, knees and back by fantasizing about removing the Cav Man head and being hoisted on the shoulders of a screaming and victorious Bryce Perkins and Olamide Zaccheaus, singing the Good Ol’ Song with the team, and maybe all going out for pizza or something to celebrate the win. Lost in his daydream, however, he missed the final play that led to Virginia’s demise. As Tech players and staff stormed the field, the University president sat stunned, not realizing how ridiculous Cav Man must have looked sulking towards Virginia’s locker room with the broad, artificial smile still plastered across the mascot head.

But the moment he had waited for had finally come. As the players loaded the buses for home, an ashamed Ryan removed the mascot head to reveal the sweat- and tear-soaked face underneath. Practically none of the football players, still reeling after the team’s 15th consecutive defeat against Tech, even noticed the president’s presence. Ryan attempted to lighten the mood with some jokes about Tech’s inferiority in almost all other sports, but quickly realized that his “prank” was a complete disaster.

It’s difficult to see such a well-meaning and honestly funny joke end as poorly as this. Certainly the humiliation of riding back to Charlottesville cradling the Cav Man head and receiving cold stares from Coach Bronco Mendenhall and his players is something Ryan won’t soon forget, let alone the stench and suffocating lack of oxygen in the suit. Despite his relatively recent arrival to the U.Va. scene, time will tell if the Ryan administration will even see a single practical joke ever again.

President Ryan was unavailable for comment at the time of writing this article. 

Jess Miller is a Humor Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. He can be reached at humor@cavalierdaily.com.

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