"Go X Go! Go X Go! Go X Go!"
It's a chant known well to fans of the StFX X-Men and X-Women varsity sports teams. But when delivered by the distinctive voice of Father Stanley MacDonald, the words bring on increased excitement and ignite energy in StFX partisan crowds in the arena, gymnasium, stadium and alongside the running trails at the Antigonish, N.S. university.
Father Stanley MacDonald, or 'Father Stan' as he is more affectionately known, has been a fixture in the crowd of StFX varsity games for years. His gregarious smile can light up a venue.
Described by many as a super fan, ultimate supporter, loyal alumnus and an overall kind and loving soul, Father Stan is beloved by StFX fans young and old, and is a favorite supporter amongst X-Men and X-Women student-athletes.
A native of Glace Bay, N.S., Stanley MacDonald was involved with sports at a young age and his path took him to StFX University in the early 1950's where he played both varsity rugby and hockey. A talented rugby athlete, he captained the last varsity men's rugby team on campus.
He graduated from the small, Catholic university in 1954 and went on to attend the Holyeast Seminary in Halifax, N.S. In his vocation as a priest, Father Stanley served in various locations including Cape Breton and Antigonish, and in 2008 he returned to the StFX campus where he has resided ever since.
One of his favorite past-times is attending varsity sporting events and cheering on the blue and white, supporting his alma mater. And he merely does not 'attend' the games. Whilst amongst the crowd he often ignites and encourages students and fans to get behind the home team with his distinctive "Go X Go!" chant - raising his arms and encouraging those around him to cheer.
Young children grin, laugh and eagerly join in with the repetitive chant; StFX students cheer alongside the friendly elder and chat with him about their school life during intermissions or breaks in the play; and local community members eagerly engage in conversations and happily greet Father Stan at all games. He equally supports the men's and women's teams across all sports – rugby, football, soccer, cross country, hockey and basketball.
The student-athletes on the ice, court, field or trails use his chant as encouragement to push harder and go that extra effort to win the game. The Athletic department honored him with in 2013 at their annual awards gala with the 'X-Ceptional Award,' for going above and beyond to contribute in a positive manner to StFX Athletics.
Father Stan has been a passenger on many StFX team bus rides to away games or meets, he makes it to out-of-town AUS conference championships when he can, and most recently he received the honor of carrying the men's hockey AUS championship trophy into the X-Men locker room following their victory over the UNB Varsity Reds to win their second consecutive league title.
X-Men head coach Brad Peddle, a StFX alumnus himself, greeted Father Stan on the ice following the big victory amidst the post-game celebration and handed off the trophy to him, welcoming him back to the locker room to join the athletes.
A video captured by X-Men staff and shared by Coach Peddle with StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald of Father Stan bringing the trophy into the room has gone viral on social media. Click here to watch video.
Father Stanley MacDonald's spirit, enthusiasm, unwavering support, and loyal dedication to the blue and white is unparalleled, and he serves as inspirational ambassador of StFX University.
Hail and Health – white and blue!
- Krista McKenna, StFX Athletics Communications