Attendees at Maryland sporting events always have plenty of stars to watch on the playing field or court, but since Fall 2021, when fans reemerged from the pandemic lockdown, there’s been a colorful new one rising in the stands.
Thomas Canary, a graduate student who finished his B.S. in marketing in December, wears his Maryland pride in the form of a flashy yellow, red, black and white suit adorned with a Maryland flag pattern. It’s a wardrobe decision that has earned him the nickname “Flag Suit Guy” and could propel him into the ranks of campus student legends like the mellow “Pan Flute Guy” or the palm-slapping, BMX bike-riding “High Five Guy.”
Canary, a native of nearby Rockville, said he’s always been a big sports guy.
“I played a lot of sports growing up, and then I went to St. John's College High School in D.C.,” Canary said. “It's pretty easy to get into it when you're going to school with guys like Anthony Cowan Jr. and Rakim Jarrett. So I knew coming into Maryland I was just going to embrace it.”
Prior to the pandemic, Canary had been brainstorming ways to up his Maryland fandom, and that’s when he found the suit. When the Maryland athletic department announced last March that fans would be allowed in the stands again, Canary knew it was time to make the purchase.
With the memories of the 2020 shutdowns and the lack of fans at sporting events firmly in his mind, he was never to take attending games for granted again. Canary debuted the flag suit at the September 2021 Maryland football game against Howard University, much to the chagrin of his friends and girlfriend.
“I don't think they were particularly surprised,” Canary said with a laugh. “Maybe a little, because even for me, it's a bit much.”
Canary is now a graduate student at the Robert H. Smith School of Business—which allows him to keep his student tickets and attend all the sporting events he wants. He’s attended contests for every team from field hockey to wrestling to gymnastics to softball save one: women’s tennis. It’s an omission he says he’ll rectify once the team’s season starts on January 22nd. And if we’re all lucky, he’ll do so fully decked out in his state-centric regalia.
“Whether it’s big teams or small teams,” he says, “I'm here to show my Maryland pride and cheer us on to victory.”
–This article originally appeared in Maryland Today and is republished here with permission.
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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business
The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and flex MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, business master’s, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.