This is part two of my history of being a superfan. In part one, I discussed the beginnings throughout high school of my intense loyalty to my sports teams.
After graduating from high school, I continued to attend sporting events at LSE on occasion, since my siblings all participated in sports there–Casey did cheerleading and dance, Molly swam, and Levi played football and wrestled. Additionally, I still supported some of the teams since many of my good acquaintances fit into the Plus or Minus One idea.
Obviously, most of my sporting events were at the University. I attended every home football game at Nebraska when I was there, with the notable exception of the Ball State escape in 2007 (that was excused because it was on יום כיפור (Yom Kippur)). I never made it to any of the road games, although there was interest in Migration Games throughout my undergraduate career.
However, the first Nebraska sporting event that I attended as a full-time undergraduate student was neither football nor volleyball. It was women’s soccer, at their new venue at Ed Weir on-campus (in previous years they were all the way out at Abbott Sports Complex!). The first game was a 4-0 demolition of Alabama-Birmingham, which ironically was the first men’s basketball defeat later in the year.
My favorite events to attend at Nebraska were volleyball, football, and women’s basketball (not necessarily in that order). At volleyball, I sat just above the band, and got to joke with my seatmates often–one of them nicknamed me Urkel which stuck. I’ll take it, even if it sort of irked (pun intended) me at the time. I’ve become better with nicknames and taking a hard time since I have gotten older!
Football and volleyball were strong for me in terms of following since those are traditionally the powerhouse sports at UNL. I somehow managed to get tickets for volleyball during my tenure there, perhaps because my family knew the athletic director through fewer than six degrees of separation. At UNL, the famous sellout streak for football is since 1962, but maybe less well-known: volleyball has been sold out since 2001–pretty impressive for a women’s sport!
For volleyball, I attended most of the home matches, including the post-season matches that were hosted each year. In all of them, Nebraska easily dispatched of their early-round opponents. And in my sophomore and senior years, the NCAA Final Four was hosted at the Qwest Center (now the CenturyLink Center) in Omaha, and the Huskers won the championship in 2006, and lost a Match of the Century against Penn State in 2008 (in the semifinal which was a match that had the caliber of a championship game. In fact, UNL was the only team to win any sets against PSU that year–every other match was a 3-0 sweep for them).
My superfandom really shined at UNL for basketball. Just as I had tons of fun at high school basketball games, the pep band plus the basketball got me into those games at UNL. As the years proceeded, I developed many Noah-choreographed dances to some of the band’s numbers, and would always look forward to some of these songs. My top three: Fire (Jimi Hendrix), Heartbreaker (Pat Benatar), and I Can’t Turn You Loose (Otis Redding).
It is a good thing that losses do not affect my sports fandom–otherwise I would have jumped ship on the women’s basketball team after one game–they lost to South Dakota State 49-68 in their season opener when I was a freshman! As it turned out, SDSU was a pretty good team that had a much-better-than-0.500-record, but was ineligible for the postseason due to transitioning to Division I. This school was one which I followed en-passant and cheered for while they were not playing against Nebraska.
I was a member of the Fastbreakers, the booster club for women’s basketball. I got to go on at least one bus trip each year to a road game, and was Kansas State in 2006, Kansas in 2007 and 2008, Iowa State in 2008, and Colorado in 2009. These were always a lot of fun, even if Nebraska went 2-3 in these games. There was fellowship and/or movies on the buses, a lot of GO BIG RED, and getting to see new venues was always fun! It felt that I got closer to the team in that way, and as one of the only regular student fans at WBB games, they definitely noticed.
Spring sports were not quite as big for me in terms of fandom. Yes, I did attend several baseball and softball games, but track and field did not really hold my interest, and tennis did not play on campus. The spring semester was always harder for me, academically, than the fall semester, and so I often sacrificed sporting events due to being busy. Or, the weather would be horrendous. Although I am not a fair weather fan, I am a little bit of a fair weather fan.
Skipping ahead to Northwestern, the story has been much the same: strong following of football, basketball, and volleyball, and also lacrosse and softball are big for me. Just as at UNL, my first event at Northwestern was a field hockey match (a 1-3 loss to Stanford on 09/10/09, actually).
I didn’t put many specifics here, but so it goes. I have another part of this post that I will post in the near future, talking about my superfandom for things other than sports.
Today is the two-hundred and fifty-fifth day of M.M.X.I.V. That makes thirty-six weeks and three days.
Today is the sixtieth day of the Character Building Trial. That makes eight weeks and four days.