Around this time of year, many of the students at Geneseo go out to support their hockey team, cheering them to victory (well, maybe not as much this year). While many use conventional means to show their team spirit (jerseys, foam fingers, pep band, etc.), one group has gone in a different direction.
The shirtless guys, as fans have been calling them, is a group of friends who show their love of the game by painting their chests in blue and white paint with the letters G, E, N, E, S, E, and O, with the occasional exclamation point from time to time. Since their first appearance last semester, the group has gained a cult following that even includes a Facebook group. But who exactly is behind this parade of hooligans and why have they decided to show their joy of hockey by going there half naked?
The group formed last year in Monroe hall when senior James Raymer, junior Matt Russell, and sophomore Jaden Hunt-Reilly decided that they wanted to do something different to show their love of the game. They decided to go to the game with the letters of the school painted on their bare chests. The group eventually grew to incorporate friends Chris Kneller, senior Dan Bish, junior Gary Cole, senior John Zafiropoulos, junior Nick Tchurekow, sophomores Richard Saxton and Katie McConnell who helped them with the paint.
The night of the game, the group meets in their suite and begins figuring out who is going to be what letter. After everyone is assigned a letter, they start painting, listening to music to psyche them up and prepare themselves for the cold temperatures that are within the ice rink. Once everyone is finished and the paint is dry, the group covers themselves, usually in a zipper hoodie so they can stay warm and not damage the paint when they disrobe. About half an hour before the game, they head to the rink and grab a seat in the bleachers
Once the game is underway, they undress and start cheering, rallying the crowd and showing their spirit. As the game progresses, they would commentate to each other as to the overall standings of each team and what the most likely outcome of the game would be. When a bad call is made, they often lose their temper and shout insults to the referee.
While many say that the shirtless guys put on a great show that inspires many, their behavior have also left many shocked and others speechless while their chants of "safety school" boom throughout the rink. But when they realize that their behavior has gotten to the extreme side, they have toned it down to respect the people around them as well as the team. When the game is over, win or lose, they convene back to the suite to converse about the game, the teams and future matchups.
Since their first appearance, these friends have appeared at nearly every game, entertaining hockey fans with their antics and cheers.