Mascot stealing is all part of university games, but for the Maguts, Macquarie’s hockey team, coming out in front in the game of mascot theft is almost as important as winning competition matches.
“Mascot stealing is part of hockey culture,” explains a former player, Ahad. “At the university games every team has a mascot: the University of New South Wales has a totem pole, Sydney University has a garden gnome, and we have the ‘Magut’.”
Magut is a seven-foot-long stuffed worm, and it quickly became a highly sought-after trophy because of Macquarie’s stellar hockey reputation.
Team members have a great emotional attachment to the mascot and guard it around the clock to fend off any attempts at theft or disfigurement by rival teams during the annual week-long University Games.
During one theft attempt, the ensuing tug of war meant the Magut was ripped in half. After its bean bag-filling innards spilt all over the field, the team was forced to reassess some of the mascot’s design features.
“We decided that stuffing it with old clothes would make it more robust, but it also made it weigh about 30 kilos… I don’t think it’s been stolen since.”