Among all the events that have brought Belmont University to the national spotlight in the past year, the strangest one yet may be Belmont graduate and superfan Graham Spencer-Orrell’s mayonnaise-eating appearance on ESPNU.
“I brought my mayo to the game knowing that ESPN was there but wasn’t planning to get on TV,” Spencer-Orrell said. “This was the first women’s game that was televised, so they were looking for people to sit behind the camera. They saw my mayonnaise and got concerned but ended up letting me.”
Spencer-Orrell, donning his Belmont jersey and blue wig, sat behind the camera and watched the game the same way he watches every televised home game – in between giant spoonfuls of mayonnaise.
Only this time, the cameras, broadcasting live to millions of viewers across the country, caught him in the act.
“I knew the cameras were rolling, so I knew that someone would probably see me,” Spencer-Orrell said. “But I never expected it to take off the way that it has.”
Later that night, Spencer-Orrell’s mayonnaise eating had already gone viral, with clips of him appearing on SportsCenter, SportsNation, USA Today, Nashville Scene and more.
“I don’t even know all the places I ended up,” Spencer-Orrell said. “It was just crazy to watch.”
Spencer-Orrell didn’t just receive media attention for the clip. Hellmann’s, whose mayonnaise Spencer-Orrell was seen eating in the clip, sent him a free tote bag.
Additionally, the Belmont women’s basketball team signed another jar for him.
“I probably won’t open that jar up for a while,” Spencer-Orrell said. “That one is pretty special.”
But the appearance on ESPNU wasn’t the first time Spencer-Orrell brought mayonnaise to a Belmont game. He’s been bringing it to every televised home game since his sophomore year in 2013.
“It started from me wanting to bring outside food into the arena, because everything concessions had to offer was unhealthy or too expensive,” Spencer-Orrell said. “I asked them if I could bring things like cucumbers, carrots and other healthy stuff, but they kept saying no. Eventually I asked if I could bring mayonnaise, just as a joke, and they said yes, probably not expecting me to actually bring it.”
Spencer-Orrell waited a couple weeks until a big televised home game, then actually brought his concessions-approved mayonnaise.
After the Bruins ended up winning the game, a friend of Spencer-Orrell’s credited the condiment with the victory, and the superstition/tradition was born. Now the Bruins win every home game Spencer-Orrell brings his mayonnaise to.
“Do I wish I had brought something else to that first game, like a poster or fun socks or something normal? Absolutely,” Spencer-Orrell said. “But as long as we keep winning games, I’ll keep bringing the mayo.”
To see the video and coverage on Spencer-Orrell from the New England Sports Network, click here.
This article was written by Zach Gilchriest.