Commenter BeastieNoise tells his Northwestern story and why he's the most loyal fan of NU - or any team in the country.
You might remember the Hyundai Fanthropology post from a few weeks back, where I asked to see who our best fan was, and, well, uh, the competition was kind of over before it started. BeastieNoise told his story in the comments and pretty much what happened is everybody admitted he won right away and he just totally ruined everybody else's chances at doing anything.
Here, if you missed it, is his story:
My Grandfather was at Northwestern in the late 1930's studying Violin. He had to leave after one year of study, but he always loved the school. He took me by the stadium when my great-grandmother was in the hospital near the stadium and I was about 8 or 9. In '95 at the age of 14 I fell in love with the 'cats and followed as much of the season as I could from Colorado. I remember being destroyed by the outcome of the Rose Bowl game.
The summer of ‘95 after a trip to visit colleges including Notre Dame and John Carroll University my mom decided to take me up Sheridan Road to get back to my Grandparents. At the time I was certain I wanted to be a journalist, and right when we got to that curve in Evanston I saw it: Medill School of Journalism. At that time, all I knew was the football team, but unlike Syracuse, and all the other schools I was looking at, it wasn't a major of journalism, it was a SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM! I set my sites on that as my goal right then and there.
When I told my High School Guidance counselor I was applying to Northwestern, he flat out told me he thought that was beyond even a reach school for me. I dug in and became even more convinced I would be a Wildcat. When college acceptance and rejection letters began to be sent out my senior year 1998 the first letter to arrive was from Northwestern and Medill. And it said yes. After a visit for prospy-weekend I was finally decided. Northwestern was the school I would attend. Over Notre Dame... 'cause purple was in my blood.
While at Northwestern I got to see the end of the Barnett era. I became a student-manager for the football team in the spring of my sophomore year, the year Randy Walker became coach. I worked with the team for spring ball and went to Camp Kenosha. I spent much of the Fall working with the team, traveling to Duke for an away game. I loved the experience, and it drew me in closer to the Wildcat mystique. In 2000 I was in the stands for THE GAME against Michigan. I remember feeling like I was going to pass out and falling off the bleachers when Damien Anderson dropped that 4th down pass. The people in front of me started leaving and I cursed at them, I still to this day wonder where they were when Wieber "knocked" that ball out of A-Trains hands.
I felt like I was going to become the next great television new producer, but Medill had other plans. Fall quarter of my senior year, I got my 4th grade of D or below, and I was dismissed from the entire university. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. I dropped my open pass in the endzone on 4th down. I lost it in the lights. The backstory to this is it's own mini-series, so we'll skip ahead...
I got back into the University that I so loved a year later. Only to take a medical withdrawal with-in 5 weeks due to bi-polar disorder. I went back home to Denver dreams shattered, but still bleeding purple. I watched the ‘Cats as much as I could in Denver. It wasn't often, but when it was, I was there. Thank God for the Big Ten Network's arrival onto the scene, why it was in Denver is beyond me, but I enjoyed several years of NU football because of it.
But in between that I had given up. I worked menial jobs here and there, disappointed by my failures, and seemingly stuck. Flash forward to 2009, with-in days of each other: My mom and my wife found out about the School of Continuing Studies at Northwestern and sent me links to their website. I applied to NU for the third time, and for the third time, I got in. My wife quickly began looking for work, and by October of 2009 we were moving to Evanston.
What's more, we had secured an apartment, right across from will call at Ryan Field! We arrived on the Thursday before homecoming. We weren't even fully moved in, and we went to the game, with the amazing 27 point comeback for the ‘Cats. It was my wife's first NU game that she attended live, and she was thrilled, and tantalized by the real life Cardiac 'Cats.
I graduated from the Northwestern School of Continuing Studies this past June. I made the Dean's list 3 times. I never gave up on my love for NU and the ‘Cats, and now I can say I've completed a goal. But the football fan inside me knows that the love for Northwestern is lifelong and only just beginning. I work across the street from home at the NU athletic ticket office and I apply to as many jobs as I can in Northwestern's Athletic department, all to be that much closer to the ‘cats! I'm reading sippinonpurple.com everyday, and LTP too. My wedding colors were purple and white, and my wallpaper on my computer is a real life "wildcat."
The follow up is that I was supposed to talk to him and have him show more about why he's Northwestern's best, most loyal fan, but, uh, what was I really supposed to add? However, I asked him a few more questions, and here's what he had to say:
SoP: In the first post, you told us a little bit about what being a Northwestern fan means to you. How long have you been an NU supporter, and why?
BeastieNoise: I first learned about Northwestern in the late 80s when my great grandma was in the hospital in Evanston, now named Evanston North Shore Hospital. My grandpa, having studied for a year at Northwestern and knowing I loved all things football, took me to see the then still named Dyche Stadium. I remember being a bit in awe of a college football stadium in the middle of a residential area. (At that time I had only seen Notre Dame football games when they were @ Air Force Academy.) That was my first introduction to the 'Cats, and it's stood out as a moment in my life for some time.
Along with the rest of the country, I went along for the ride in 1995-'96 for the Rose Bowl Season all the way from Colorado. USC has been a hated team for me since that particular game. I never put it all fully together 'til re-reading about the game. I always hated USC, and I think NU's Rose Bowl loss to them is why.
I'll continue on under the assumption that A) You have read my previous post, B) now know how it is that I can claim to bleed purple.
I think it all crystallized in my head that I was a Wildcat when my high school guidance counselor told me that he didn't think I could get into Northwestern. He felt it was even beyond a reach school for me. At that moment I set my goals for NU and I haven't stopped reaching for that goal in 14 years. For those keeping track at home, that's long enough for 3 and a half undergraduate degrees...I have one. LoL But none-the-less since that fateful day on which I saw the Medill School of Journalism, I have been certain Northwestern would be the one I graduated from.I honestly can't say what it is that makes me love Northwestern so. Is it that I've wrapped my identity up in it? That could be part of it. Is it their forever underdog status? That's a part of it. Is it that Purple is their main color? I do love me some purple.But overall it's everything. The campus, the people, the identity that it has and offers. I'm proud to say I'm part of the NU community, and I hope I serve it well.
What's the dumbest and/or craziest thing you've ever done for NU sports?
I put my top 2 dumbest/craziest things I've done for NU sports as:2) Going to homecoming my freshman year against Michigan 1998 in the rain without a shirt for the majority of the game screaming and yelling like a fool.1) the year we won a share of the Big 10 in 2000-'01, before every game in the big 10 season we broke a coffee mug of the opposing team, except one....oh that one will haunt us forever.1 cont'd) We drove down for the Iowa game that year, and we didn't have a coffee mug to break. We figured it wouldn't be hard to come across---but it was. The best we could do was burn a beer cozy, which didn't burn well, and garnered us a lot of attention. We stomped it out before it was fully burned, and we all know how the game turned out. I remember it being late in the 3rd or 4th quarter, NU had a long pass play with obvious pass-interference on IO_A but no call from the refs. I had had enough and threw my hat from the 6th or 7th row all the way onto the field. That was the "flag" I thought deserved to be on the field. We lost that game, and it was a silent trip back to Evanston. Never before or since have I thrown anything onto the field.
Best game you've ever seen?
Well, to watch on TV it was the 2000 win against Wisconsin. When Tim Long made that kick to send it to over-time I was in shock. When we won I was ecstatic. I seem to recall something about changing pants at halftime. We looked so tough in the black pants. But to see in person, it's an easy hands down win. I was totally in the stands for the 2000 game against Michigan. I remember it going back and forth and at times we seemed out of it, and the Michigan kicker hit a kick before half that was a decent length...I'll never forget the feeling when Damien Anderson dropped the 4th down pass in the endzone, or the feeling when Wieber knocked the ball out of A-train's hands. When we took the lead by 3...I was still worried we were going to overtime when they trotted out the kicker...it was easily makeable for him...but Navarre (an ex-nu recruit) couldn't handle the snap...we rushed the field. And I followed it all up with a Ben Harper concert.
You said your wedding colors were purple and white. Does your wife hate how much you like Northwestern sports?
As a matter of fact, my wife has grown to love NU sports too. She went to the College of St Benedict/St. John's University, where the winningest football coach in all of college football just retired from (John Gagliardi). She made the transition to NU easily having an understanding of football. I remember being at a NU game and she turned around and corrected two gentleman behind us to let them know there is no two minute warning in college football. At one point she was asked if she had graduated from NU, cause she sings the fight song all the time. Furthermore, it was my wife that made it possible for me to finally graduate from Northwestern. She was hired on to work on prostate cancer research in Jindan Yu's lab in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at Northwestern University. Saving my life and earning me a tuition discount. (though I already was, I am indeed indebted to her for life double time now)
So that's a pretty convincing story. Now it's up to the judges to realize that BeastieNoise here is not only Northwestern's most loyal fan, but also pretty much the most loyal fan ever of any college team, and give him his damn prize.
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