SpiRIT 3: Wrestler Rising

The jungle was silent save for the buzzing of insects and crunching of brush underfoot. A thick mist had crept in as the first rays of sunlight pierced the thick canopy, limiting visibility to a mere five feet. Two men walked without saying a word, the leader dressed in a white button down shirt and khakis. His companion was an older man, dressed in the tan clothes of a forgotten time and carrying a large gun over one shoulder. The men trudged through the jungle without looking around, destination clear in their minds. After a time, they entered a clearing and the first man whispered, “Mr. Wrestler, we’re here.”

Since the tragic passing of SpiRIT, RIT’s live tiger mascot in 1964 and SpiRIT II’s inability to visit campus, the school has yearned for a new tiger. Simply put, Ritchie was not enough for the community. President Wrestler knew what he had to do to provide the best for his students. To answer their prayers, he armed himself with nothing more than a tranquilizer gun and his trusty hunting knife, and set out to find SpiRIT the Third.

His quest took him far and wide. From the violent waves of the Atlantic to the burning sands of the Sahara, he journeyed. Sources say he sometimes traveled alone, but those who traveled in his company say he often spoke of his students and always inquired about tiger sightings. He followed empty leads until he reached Myanmar. According to Zeya Myint, a boatman on the Tanitharyi River, “Mr. Wrestler traveled downriver with my crew to Banpyi.” 

In the village he met with Thura San, a local man who had seen a young Bengal Tiger in the jungle to the east. After some negotiating, Wrestler convinced Thura to be his guide on his quest. Early the next morning, the two set out for the jungle. They traveled until they reached the dense grove, but by then, the sun was low in the sky. The two made camp and settled in for a long night. Wrestler stood watch all night. The adrenaline was pumping too strong for him to sleep. He did not make a sound as he waited for dawn.

“The next morning we marched for miles and when we reached the clearing, the tiger was waiting for us,” said Thura. Quick as lightning, Wrestler aimed his gun and fired the tranquilizing dart. After the tiger fell, Wrestler carried him back to Banpyi where, according to locals he trained the new SpiRIT to be the perfect mascot. When asked about the experience Thura said, “I have never met a man like Wrestler. He moves like a man half his age, and is completely fearless.”

President Wrestler has since returned from his trip, but without SpiRIT. The tiger is currently being transported to the United States by boat and will arrive in time for the 2014-15 school year. Wrestler declined to go into details about the journey saying only, “RIT deserves the best, and I intend to provide it.”