One of the coolest things about being a Laker is exactly that: being a Laker. What exactly is a Laker? I have been at Nipissing for four years and I still couldn’t properly answer that. Is it a lake? Is it a fisherman? A fish? I have no idea. I do know however that being a Laker is something Nipissing students take a lot of pride in.
One thing I am involved with at the school is a group called the Laker Maniacs. We are a group of students who dress up in what are essentially Nipissing labelled pyjamas, blue wigs and blue facepaint and attend sporting events. There is usually 2 of us, but sometimes it is up to 4. Any student who wants to get involved can, and could have the opportunity to be the biggest support of Nipissing’s teams. The one with the white paint second from the right? That’s me!
I got started with Maniacing in my first year. My Residence Don noticed that 1) I really, really, really liked sports and 2) I was quite loud. She knew I would love doing something as ridiculous as wearing facepaint and she was 100% right. I have been running the Maniacs now since my 2nd year and I can say it is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had at school.
People ask me why the Maniacs do it. We don’t get paid, we don’t get volunteer hours. We enjoy it. The reaction of little kids when you give them a high five at a hockey game. The feeling of being the support of the team during intense games. The connection with the University and the North Bay community. That’s why the Maniacs go to games. I’ve never been to a Nipissing hockey game without maniacing, and that’s precisely the way I like it.
I had no idea coming into University what I would get involved with, and being a hybrid clown-mascot-cheerleader was definitely not something I had pencilled into my future plans. Looking at it now, however, I wouldn’t change it for the world. University has so much to offer to first year students, but you have to remember: keep your eyes and your mind open. You’ll find something you truly enjoy. Go out and try things and get involved. It makes university even more fun, gives you a real passion and leads you to meeting interesting people.
I’ll continue wearing my wig, painting my face and cheering at the top of my lungs. I found something I can call my “thing” at Nipissing, and I hope you can too. Also, if you find out what a Laker is, let me know. It’s been bugging me for years now.