CN Student SoundOff: The Superfans

Have you ever sat topless at a game during freezing temperatures? For your own sake, I hope the answer is no. CN caught up with four guys who not only sit shirtless during frigid football games, but they love every minute of it. Get the scoop here in this week's edition of CN Student SoundOff, and our salute to the "Superfans."

I was walking around talking to tailgaters on a bitterly cold Homecoming Saturday and I happened to see, in the corner of my eye, four students with their chests painted. All of a sudden, light bulbs went off in this immature brain of mine. By the time I could get over to the guys, they had already entered Jack Trice Stadium, an hour and a half before the game.


So I got on the phone with Luke Vander Sanden, who would be taking pictures, and told him to make sure those guys were around at the end of the game for me to talk to. I got bored in the press box as the game ended, so I decided to join these intellectual human beings at the end of the game.


These four standouts, I now refer to as the Iowa State "Superfans." Team records don't matter to them. Touchdowns don't matter to them; heck neither does the possibility of acquiring pneumonia. What matters to these superfans, is supporting the Cyclones and absolutely nothing else, through thick and thin.


As a tribute to their passion, or flat out craziness, they are the feature in the week's CN Student SoundOff.


The first superfan that I talked to was Jake Sullivan, straight off the streets of River Falls, Wis. Yes, you read that right. His name is actually Jake Sullivan. Here's what our conversation consisted of, with my takes in between.


Williams: That's your name? Do you get weird looks around here a lot?


Sullivan: I don't get it very much anymore because he's out of school, but when I was a freshman yeah, definitely.


Williams: What in the world are you doing? It's freezing out here.


Sullivan: We're body painting, we're supporting our team.


Williams: The longer you're out there, does it get any warmer?


Sullivan: The temperature starts to equalize out a little bit but it's worth it, it's always worth it.


Williams: When you have kids someday, will you be bragging to them about acting like this?


Sullivan: I don't know about that, it depends on whether or not they want to do it. We'll tell each other's kids.


Williams: What do strangers say when they walk by and see you bare chested?


Sullivan: We get the ‘oh my god' look.


Williams: Do you ever catch colds?


Sullivan: I haven't yet. We nearly got frostbit from Mizzou two years ago.


My Take: Sullivan was a pretty down to earth dude, other than the fact that he was half naked in freezing temperatures.


Next up was the obvious pessimist of this cheerful group. While others are cheering, Travis Schilling of Cedar Falls, Iowa spends his time cursing at the cheerleaders and band members for distracting the Iowa State offense.


Williams: Why are you doing this?


Schilling: I'm having fun man. I'm setting an example for the rest of these people that leave.


Williams: Isn't that a joke? (As I'm shivering wanting to go back to the cozy press box)


Schilling: It's terrible. It's embarrassing. They show up here drunk, they don't know when to cheer. They're messing up our offense. We get false starts because they're cheering when we have the ball.


My Quick Take: Ahhh, so that's what's wrong with the Iowa State offense.


Williams: What do you say when the band plays when the offense has the ball?


Schilling: I hate it! They [the band] sat down here one day and I yelled at them for it! (At this point, I realized that Schilling is the Negative Nancy of the group) I yelled at the cheerleaders for starting a cheer while we were trying to snap the ball and we got a false start. That's why we need to be in the front row, to lead the crowd and show them how it's done.


At this point, I felt like I needed to be a responsible journalist and ask the tough question.


Williams: Do you guys do a little boozing before you come out here?


(At this point, the quads turn around to reveal that their backs all have 0.00 written on them)


Schilling: My blood alcohol content is .00.


Williams: Now that's a great quote. Thank you.


Next is a young man named Chris Hess from Robins, Iowa.


Williams: Why do you do this?


Hess: I do it for fun and to support the team.


Williams: Are you cold?


Hess: Mostly just when the wind blows. 


Williams: Are you colder now than you were at 2:30?


Hess: It was raining earlier when we started painting so this isn't nearly as bad.


Williams: Is this the worst game you've ever done this for?


Hess: No, Missouri two years ago, we were out here an hour and a half before the game started. Then we went into double overtime. Then, we were shell-shocked after the game. It was miserable.


My Take: At this point, I thought back to how cold that game actually was. I probably had four or five layers on, and I was absolutely freezing. Mad props superfans.


Williams: Will you guys do this after you graduate?


Hess: I don't know if you can get away with body painting in the alumni section so much.


Williams: If Iowa State were to lose out, would you still body paint for the last game of the season?


Hess: We usually only body paint for the last game, we have other outfits that we wear in between. We'll definitely body paint for the last game though.


To finish off the superfans, I talked with Royce Cline out of Grinnell, who is known around campus as the "Walrus."


Williams: Are you cold?


Cline: It's a little chilly now because people are starting to leave. (At this point the Walrus had a nauseated look on his face)


Williams: If the Cyclones are winning, does that make you feel warmer?


Cline: A little bit, but you just kind of get used to the weather after a while.


Williams: What about you, when you graduate will you still do this?


Cline: I'll still be here, but I don't know about painting. My roommates decided to name me the ‘Walrus' because I want to live in Alaska.


Williams: Are you guys going to be like the old polar bear guys who swim in cold water when you're older?


Cline: That's a good possibility. We'll swim in a frozen Lake Laverne.


Now CN readers, look at the picture of these guys on the front page. Imagine that quad, 25 years down the road, swimming in Lake LaVerne in the middle of January.


Now those are four true Iowa State fans. I'm sure Lancealot and Elaine are looking forward to it.


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