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November 17, 2006

The Uncommon Interview: Tyjuan "Top 50" Edwards

[img id="80111" align="alignleft"] His real name is Tyjuan Edwards and he works at the Reg. To most U of C students though, he is “Top 50,” Maroons superfan extraordinaire. Top 50 has patrolled the sidelines for the past five years at sporting events, cheering the Maroons on with his endless enthusiasm and array of catchphrases. The Maroon sat down with Top 50 recently to talk about working at the Reg, his passion for soccer, and red cards.

Chicago Maroon: Why the name Top 50? What does that mean?

Tyjuan “Top 50” Edwards: Top 50 is a name that was given to me when I was a child. It was because I tried so hard and ended up being the best of the best in almost every category—no matter what it was, academics or sports or just mopping the floor. They looked at the floor, like “Wow, who did that!” So I believe that maximum effort gives you maximum results.

CM: What exactly does your job at the Reg entail?

T50: I handle IDs, CNetID passwords, and lockers. Any faculty, student, or staff who wants to check out a book has to come to my office at some point. And I get to hang out with my friends all day, which is the coolest part of my job. And they actually pay me, too.

CM: When you’re at work handling IDs all day, do you ever get the urge to start waving your arms and yelling “Remix!”?

T50: Yes, I do. I do, especially when I'm standing out there helping them swipe their cards when they come in, and if they don’t swipe them right, I say, “Try to remix.” Then they turn their card around and swipe it correctly.

CM: How did you get into soccer?

T50: I had friends who played soccer. Before I even went to a game, we were just hanging out all the time. I never went to a game until one day; when I went it was just like, “Wow, is this what you guys do?”

CM: What is it about the Maroons that you find so appealing?

T50: It’s that they will go out there and play. With fan support or no fan support, they will go out there and play. I remember one time I was the only person at the game; it was me and three parents.

CM: When was that?

T50: It was at the very beginning, when I first started coming—a few years ago. It was good, though, because I went out to support them, and as long as they play hard, I’ll definitely support them. That’s all I ask. They don’t get scholarships to play or anything, so they’re just playing because they love the game, and that’s what really draws me to them.

CM: What is your all-time favorite memory from watching a Maroon sporting event?

T50: It’s got to be 2003 at the Wheaton game [in the regional finals of the NCAA tournament], when we went to penalty kicks. I remember Diana Connett [A.B. ’06] had split her head on a collision, and I remember her getting carted off the field. When it was time for PKs [penalty kicks], Diana comes back out with a bandage looking like The Mummy. I’m like, “Are you serious? Is she really coming back in the game?” And then she scored her PK. That was my fondest memory; it was awesome. I had never seen a game go to PKs before—it was just amazing—and for us to win on something like that is something I'll never forget.

CM: What’s the craziest thing that ever happened to you? Was it the red card you got this year against Brandeis?

T50: Yes, definitely the red card that I got, because I did not know that I could get thrown out.

CM: The ref and the Brandeis players thought you were hindering the game. What’s your side of the story?

T50: Actually, I was really calm. I was trash-talking but I was never using any profanity, I was never talking about anyone’s mom, their religion, their race—nothing like that at all. I was basically commenting that the [Brandeis] guy was really, really slow, and I thought I’d point that out. And then the other guy was fouling everybody, and then running to the ref telling him he got fouled. How are you fouling, and then you go tell? If you’re gonna be a tough guy, be a tough guy. That’s all that was. And then he told the ref because I was really getting at him; he’d turned around and tried to blow up at me, to scare me—and I didn’t scare. That’s why he went and told the ref.

CM: What was going through your mind after you got tossed?

T50: At first I was shocked, and then the applause started. Then the ovation started. And then I was like, “This is awesome.”

CM: How do opposing teams and their fans generally react to you? Is it pretty friendly or is it what we saw against Brandeis?

T50: It’s like Brandeis. That’s why, when anyone comes here, I speak to them—opposing players, parents. I speak to them when they first get to the game because I know they’re not going to talk to me after the game. So I make sure to say hi to everyone when they get in, because on the way out they don’t talk to me.

CM: What is your favorite phrase to shout at the games?

T50: It might be “Remix!” because I love “remix.” I love that. It totally means that our players just scrambled the other person’s eggs. Let’s see, I’ve got so many.

CM: What about “Welcome to the jungle”? What does that mean?

T50: That might be my favorite. “Welcome to the jungle” is just welcoming everybody to where they are. I know it’s Stagg Field, but it’s really the jungle.

CM: Do you usually go to the big road games? Or is it just one or two a year?

T50: I usually go to as many as I can. I don't work in the summer, and soccer starts early September, so I get to go to a lot of games with them. I went to Ohio with them for the tournament last year. Normally I go with the ladies when they go, but I went with the guys this time for the playoffs.

CM: Would you ever think about bringing the same kind of enthusiasm that you bring to soccer games to other stuff, like a women’s tennis match or a humanities lecture?

T50: Yes, I do it already. I basically overload my schedule with so many things, but I try to bring positive energy to it. I bring it to OBS, SASA, I go to all of the little meetings. I can’t name them all, but I go to everyone’s, because I want to hear what everyone has to say, and I want to try to support everyone.

CM: Any last words?

T50: I want to thank you for giving me the chance to talk like this, and I want to thank all the athletes here on campus for playing so hard. I appreciate that they play every game like it’s their last, and I promise to support them.

To catch more of Top 50, visit the Maroon Sports Report at maroon.uchicago.edu/sportsreport for a full transcript and audio file.