The day has finally come. Donning his crimson and white, he begins that fateful trek across the river.
All of his training and preparation have come to this, and he knows that upon entering that stadium, he will be amongst the ranks of the great men and women that have come before him.
Today is yet another day that he will serve John Harvard.
This is the life of a Crimson superfan.
While there are a handful of school-spirit aficionados sprinkled throughout Harvard’s hallowed halls, the superfan is an elite individual that takes sports-watching to a new level.
This select category is more exclusive than the Porcellian, therefore a quick comparison between normal fandom and its enhanced version is necessary.
A fan goes to a sporting event. She claps along to the “Defense” and “Let’s Go Harvard” cheers, wearing her Crimson Crazies shirt proudly.
She hums along to the Harvard fight song, but her knowledge of the actual words probably stops with the beginning line.
In contrast, a superfan is an event himself.
In addition to the basic chants, he comes up with such favorites as “Nuts and bolts, we got screwed!” What parts of him that are clothed are in crimson and white, yet don’t be surprised to hear him yelling out every “Illegitimum non Carborundum” of “10,000 Men” with little on but body paint.
But with frequently-empty stands and a student body that often chooses Lamont over Lavietes, what inspires these school-spirited outliers to enter the ranks of superfandom?
Surprisingly, the answer is often empathy.
“We know what it feels like to have an empty gym,” said junior women’s basketball captain Claire Wheeler. “A packed gym helps—you can feed off of the energy from the people in the stands.”
The women’s basketball team, which finished 11-4 in its conference last season, often had to endure a visitor’s section that was louder and fuller than its own student bleachers.
Wheeler and her team have worked to prevent a similar fate at many of the Crimson football team’s high-stakes games, transforming from players to spectator superheroes.