Mount Hope’s ‘Pigskin Pete’, Dan Black
By Mike Burgess
Nov 14, 2011
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"Oskee Wee Wee! Oskee Waa Waa! Holy Mackinaw! Tigers! Eat ‘Em Raw !"
Yes, that is the familiar rally cry for thousands of households in Hamilton and area. In fact, legend has it that in many cases, those are often the first words spoken by babies in these parts.
Whether this is true or a slight exaggeration, Dan Black of Mount Hope does everything in his power to get the famous chant known as far and wide as possible.
Crowned with the prestigious "black bowler hat" in 2008, he is the fourth Pigskin Pete to patrol the stands and the sidelines of Hamilton Tiger-Cat home games at Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton. His much-loved predecessor, Paul Weiler, retired from the position after more than 30 years at the end of the 2006 season. Weiler still joins Dan for the occasional chant when he feels up to it.
Born and raised in the tough north end of Hamilton, Dan spent the majority of his youth in a string of foster homes after experiencing horrible abuse at home at the hands of his father. He credits a wonderful foster family he eventually settled in with at 15, as well as his sister and brother-in-law, as being integral in helping him become the person he is. Eventually moving to Mount Hope in 1993, Dan attended Ancaster High School and had a wonderful experience there. He went on to further his education at both George Brown and Mohawk colleges in the fields of crisis intervention and child/youth work.
Now married to Lindsay for just over a year, Dan is the proud father of Haley and Madison from his first marriage, who live in Caledonia with their mother and step-father. The children spend equal time in each household.
"My kids love what I do," says Dan, "they tell all their friends school."
The turf at Ivor Wynne Stadium was the scene of Lindsay and Dan's wedding in May of 2010 in front of 140 close friends and family.
When time permits, aside from spending family time with the kids, Lindsay and Dan love to relax by going for walks, visiting their great neighbours and practice creative cooking. They both play on baseball teams and love music.
Besides all the work he does on the field, Dan is employed at the OLG Casino Brantford as a dealer.
He really enjoys it there and the patrons enjoy him, also.
"Some notice me and ask that I do an ‘Oskee Wee Wee’ for them," said Dan. "It's fun," he added.
He is also a professional DJ and handles the duties each year for the Ticats at the team's Grey Cup week ‘Tiger-Town’ in whatever city the big game is.
"Dan plays an important role in the Tiger-Cats organization," said Lesley Stewart, director of the Tiger-Cat cheerleader team.
Stewart, also on the CHCH TV news team, added, "He brings tons of spirit, passion and love to CFL football but most importantly to the Ticats and their many fans. Our fan base is packed with people just like him... that's why they can relate to his die-hard pursuit of cheering the black and gold to a much deserved, long awaited Grey Cup victory."
"He even has a Tiger-Cats tattoo- now that's a true-blue fan!" she said.
Dan appears at over 100 events per year, many of which fall into the charity category. Often joined by many cheerleaders, Tiger-Cat players, and sometimes even Toronto Argonaut players, he particularly likes helping his friend Maureen Sauve (wife of former Ti-Cat player Dave Sauve) and her work with the Scleroderma Society, a condition she suffers from herself.
When Lindsay's father, Gary Kershaw, a model car collector, passed away in 2008, Lindsay and Dan visited McMaster Children’s Hospital with Ticat coach Khari Jones, former Ticats kicker Paul Osbaldiston and Toronto Argonaut players Bryan Crawford and Andre Durie to give the ailing kids brand new model cars from the collection of over 1,000.
Another favourite project is his work with the group CFL Fans Fight Cancer. Longtime Ticat fan and an organizer of this group William McGrath of Hamilton noted that Dan helped out in May for their ‘Climb for Cancer’ event, which raised $6,000 for the Juravinski Cancer Centre.
Jarrett Harris of Toronto, one of the founding members of the same group and also a member of the Ticats fan group, The Box J Boys, described Dan as a "proud Hamiltonian," and, "so Canadian that maple syrup runs through his veins,? adding, that Dan is "a great guy who believes in his team, city, the Hamilton fans and the community."
Mike Tivador of Hamilton, also a member of the Box J Boys, said, "Dan is the ultimate Ticat fan. He lives and breathes black and gold and always has time to say hi to everyone young and old."
Game days are crazy in the Black household as Dan tries to catch sleep when he can, tired from working nights, while Lindsay readies all his gear. They both arrive at the stadium early so they can do the rounds greeting fans at the tailgate parties and the Ticats pre-game festivities. Then comes a meeting with Ticat office officials to go over such things as promotions. Finally, it's onto the field at game time for his first "Oskee Wee Wee" at centre field. The whistle blows, the ball is kicked off and "Pig Skin Pete" begins his three and a half hours of pure joy while entertaining "his" crowd.http://www.sachem.ca/ http://www.sachem.ca/news/article/241041