Still crazy after 15 years: The endearing energy of B.C. Lions hype man Crazy P

If you've been to a B.C. Lions game any time in the past 15 years, you've likely seen him. 

Darting up and down the stands of B.C. Place, adorned in the team's trademark orange and black, a snarling figure wearing a baseball cap bangs on a drum, yelps and chants, egging on the crowd to match his own seemingly endless energy. 

He's Crazy P, and he hasn't missed an opportunity to rile up football fans since he started as the Lions hype man in 2005. 

On the surface, Crazy P, whose real name is Patrick Thomas, isn't all that extraordinary. 

What sets Thomas, 51, apart is the endearing call for togetherness he has infused into his work. Between cheers, Thomas will hold up his hands to form a heart. "One love, one earth, one family!" he bellows.

That overwhelming positivity — which persists even as the team sits at the bottom of the league with a 2-10 record —helps explain the long-lasting connections Thomas has formed with scores of fans.

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'Give me a shot!'

Thomas has always been full of energy. 

Following wins on the football field as a young teenager, he would lead his fellow Saanich Hornets through rollicking post-game chants. 

Fast forward to 2005 when Thomas, a waiter by day, found himself before Lions executives, pitching Crazy P as the city's next great hype man. 

Thomas was following a big act. "Krazy" George Henderson, the self-declared inventor of "The Wave," revved up Lions fans during the team's heyday in the 1980s.

"I want to come in here, and I want to get this place jacked up," Thomas recalls telling team management. "I can do this, man. Give me a shot!"

They did.

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Banging the drum

In exchange for annual season tickets, Thomas has hyped up fans at every home game since 2005. He's also electrified crowds at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, multiple Memorial Cups and can be frequently found banging his drum at UBC sporting events. 

But it's not Thomas's love of football that draws him to this work. It's the community.

"How much you make, what you look like, your social background, what colour you are, what religion — it does not matter," Thomas said. "There's all shapes and sizes and colours and walks of life in that stadium, and they all come together with one common goal."

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Long-lasting bonds

Before a recent game against the Ottawa Redblacks, as Crazy P made his way through the halls of the stadium, smiling fans of all ages excitedly greeted him.

Sometimes he exchanges just a couple of words with fans. Other times, Thomas will stop to catch up with them.

Aleksis Holt, 17, met Thomas when she was just a toddler and was immediately captivated by him. So much so, that she was soon attending games in a jersey with "Crazy A" scrawled across the back. They've kept in touch ever since.

Then there's Ethan Kenney, a 19-year-old living with cerebral palsy. 

Kenney is non-verbal, but that hasn't gotten in the way of a friendship with Thomas, who calls the English student at Langara College an inspiration. The pair light up when they see each other. 

"People often talk to me like I'm a baby or unintelligent, but P has always treated me like a regular guy," Kenney told CBC in written answers. 

"Sometimes, people are nice to me just because they want to feel good about themselves, but P makes me feel like he [genuinely] likes me."