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BLADES OF GLORY The 2012 Nads!

The third period has just begun and the Nads, the Rhode Island School of Design's club hockey team, is losing 2-0 to a squad from Emerson College.

But the RISD fans are not terribly concerned about the score. No, they're focused on Scrotie — the giant, randy penis who serves as the team mascot and heckler-in-chief.

"Nads are your dads!" Scrotie yells, positioned right behind the Emerson bench. "We fucked your mom!" the crowd roars in response.

It is, in short, a typical night at the rink for Nads Nation, a co-ed assemblage that has been turning the dick joke into high art — OK, low art — for 50 years now.

There are clever leaflets promoting the squad ("Innuendo on Ice"). There is the inevitable "Go Nads!" chant. And at one recent game, fans spent the better part of the evening throwing foot-long hot dogs onto the ice.

The cockscapades obscure what is, actually, an interesting little tale of artists-as-athletes and team in search of identity. And I'll touch on that later.

But let's face it, the star of this show is the massive, foam-and-nylon shlong in that picture on the next page — the one you can't quite look away from.


Scrotie has been around, in one form or another, for the past 11 years. And the latest iteration is the mascot at his most revolting: eight feet tall, veiny, with a red cape, purple shaft, and purple balls sprouting thin, white hair.

It's hot inside the costume, typically passed among a handful of fans at home games at Brown University's Meehan Auditorium — banners for Harvard, Yale, and other Ivy League powers glaring down from the rafters in obvious disapproval.

And it's a little difficult to slip on. Rio Roye, a sophomore majoring in film, is the first to don Scrotie on this particular night and it doesn't go all that well. "I had my head trapped in the head of the penis," he tells me afterward.

But two other Scrotiemen do just fine — an occasionally distracted fan base notwithstanding. "That was terrible!" yells sophomore Robin Wajler, the third Scrotie of the night, after a lackluster response to one of his "Nads are your dads!" shouts.

"So was she!" someone yells back.

Scrotie made his debut in 2001 during a game at the Providence Civic Center. Then-Mayor Buddy Cianci arranged for the Nads to play at the arena after a Providence Bruins game on one condition: that he be allowed to coach the squad for the night.

Paul Osimo, 31, who graduated from RISD in 2003 and still plays on the team, recalls Hizzoner prowling the bench with a brandy snifter in one hand and a cigar in the other. "I've never heard someone swear so much," he says.

In the stands, Scrotie managed to horrify the parents and small children who had come to the Providence Bruins game in search of an autograph or an appearance on the Jumbotron. And the mascot's next appearance at the Civic Center ended in a hail of hockey sticks and a tussle with security.

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