Extreme College Football Fans
How far will people go to express their passion for college football? Long after they graduate from college, and even if they never attended college at all, serious college football fans of all ages pack university stadiums and hold tailgate parties year after year. Some people go to extremes to support their favorite college football team.
They are not known for their punting skills, they are not star linebackers, and they have never scored a touchdown in their life. Nonetheless, these fans enjoy a celebrity status alongside some of the most well-known football players.
Mike “Big Dawg” Woods is considered the ultimate Georgia Bulldogs fan. This popular Athens native does all the usual fan stuff like wear the team logos and colors. But his signature trademark is on his head. His wife paints a bulldog on his bald head for every game. In 2007, he won the Lincoln Financial “Super Fan” award. Big Dawg Woods has his own following with about 1000 fans on his facebook page.
Nathan Davis is an Alabama Crimson Tide fan who
has the most college football tattoos ever documented. His entire body is inked with
Crimson Tide pride including a large tattoo of Paul “Bear” Bryant stretched across his back. Though
he never attended the University of Alabama, he paints his face red, dons a kilt, wears white eye contacts, and proudly holds a flag at every game. Nathan Davis has gotten the attention of nationwide media for his dedication and appearance.
Extreme tailgating fans
Tailgate parties are almost a required ritual for serious college football fans. Many fans prefer to conglomerate in parking lots and driveways rather than get a seat at the stadium during the game. Drinking, grilling meat and innovative displays of team loyalty is a tradition for fans at tailgate parties.
The most famous college tailgate party takes place each year in October in Jacksonville, Florida. The football match is between two notorious rivals; The Florida Gators and The Georgia Bulldogs. Dubbed “The
World’s Largest Cocktail Party”, fans show up at the stadium parking lot as early as Wednesday for a Saturday game and continue to party as late as Sunday afternoon. This tailgate event is estimated to have a $25 million
economic impact on the local economy.
On tailgating.com, a website devoted to the art of tailgating, one fan describes the experience at the University of South Carolina;
“The University of South Carolina has the ultimate tailgating setting. A developer bought a large number of the cabooses from the railroad when they discontinued using them and parked them on a deserted track by Williams-Brice Stadium and formed the “Cock-A-Boose Railroad”! Supporters bought the “Cabooses” and lavishly restored them with plush carpet, marble trim, wet bars, closed circuit TV of the games and sun decks on top. The party atmosphere is unbelievable and unequaled anywhere in college football.”
a Gamecock Tailgater from South Carolina
Die hard college football fans
Sometimes the passion that college football fans have for their teams gets out of control. Fatal injuries and even death are the result of some unfortunate college football fanatics.
In November of 2006, James Walter Quick, 42 and Richard Allen Johnson, 43 drank beer all afternoon and watched the South Carolina-Clemson football game at Johnson’s home. After a bitter argument over a $20
bet on the game, Quick, a Clemson fan, fatally shot his friend with a high-powered rifle. He was charged with murder.
An argument between college football rivals; Alabama and Louisiana State University turned deadly for a south Alabama couple at a game on November 8, 2008. Dennis and Donna Smith, Tigers fans, were shot to
death following a heated dispute over the game. Michael Williams, a devoted Alabama Crimson Tide fan, was arrested and charged with murder.
Fans who take their college football pride to the grave
For some college football fans, living, eating and breathing the game is simply not enough. They leave huge sums of money to the school’s football department in their will. Their ashes get sprinkled on the playing fields and some are loyally buried in logo-themed “shrines”.
In November, 2005 Christopher Noteboom, 33, of Tempe, Arizona claims he was only honoring his mother’s last request when he ran onto the turf of Lincoln Financial Feild holding a plastic bag during Sunday’s game. He left a cloud of ashes behind him as he ran toward the 30-yard line, dropped to his knees and made the sign of the cross before getting handcuffed and arrested. His mother was a life-long Eagles fan.
Spreading ashes on college football turf is (technically) not legal. But many people do it anyway. There are a few colleges that actually welcome ashes. Notre Dame University has Cedar Grove Cemetery where catholic fans of the college can be cremated and laid to rest.
Collegiate Memorials located in Macon, Ga, is the first and largest company to specialize in a line of college themed memorial products. College football fans can express their loyalty to their alma maters with an
urn, a solid wood casket, or even a monument adorned with the logo of their favorite college football team.
April Lentini writes for apartmentguide.com