Marquette Wire

FIORENTINO: SuperFans experience goes beyond basketball

The+Golden+Eagle+has+been+a+key+part+of+Marquette%27s+athletic+image+for+years.
The Golden Eagle has been a key part of Marquette's athletic image for years.

The Golden Eagle has been a key part of Marquette's athletic image for years.

Photo by Wire Stock Photo

Photo by Wire Stock Photo

The Golden Eagle has been a key part of Marquette's athletic image for years.

Peter Fiorentino, peter.fiorentino@mu.edu

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“Oh how I want to be in that number, when blue and gold go marching in…”

Every home soccer game, the SuperFans and Marquette Fanatics march from West Town Square to Valley Fields, beating drums and waving flags singing our own rendition of “When the Saints Go Marching In.” As the president of the SuperFans, I’m usually leading the aforementioned march, in my blue and gold Hawaiian shorts, screaming my head off down 16th Street, much to the amusement (or chagrin) of the onlooking engineering students and Milwaukee residents.

Once the Marquette faithful settle into the Bird Cage, the bleachers behind the net at the Valley, there is non-stop noise. I call students out for sitting, for not making noise; it’s not social hour, it’s game time. We pull up the opposing team’s roster on our phones and go to work. Any time an opposing player is within earshot, we do anything to get their attention and distract them from play: ask them questions, flirt or let them know their sock is untied or their pocket fell out.

Often, the victim is the opposing team’s goalkeeper. Because we have the keepers within 20 yards of us at all times, it can be easy to get under their skin. Athletic departments load tons of personal information onto their websites, everything from the athlete’s GPA, major, hometown, favorite movie or even nicknames. We make it our job to terrorize opponents and lift up the Golden Eagles.

When a Marquette goal is scored, madness ensues. The flags wave, the drum beats and Dan Pfeifer’s iconic voice can be heard over the loudspeaker, “That Marquette goal was scored by…”

A post-goal “Ole” is a crowd favorite, and a “USA! USA! USA!” chant usually follows after the kickoff. Between the “Ring Out Ahoya” at the beginning and end of each half, roll call at halftime or the “Peel Banana” dance, all of the tunes sung at the Valley echo loud and clear, letting the final notes carry over the Menomonee River. The walk back to campus is usually silent, not because the game wasn’t thrilling, but because everyone’s voices are sore from screaming for two hours.

The end of every game is the most rewarding. Both the women’s and men’s teams come over to the Bird Cage (the nickname for the soccer cheering section) and say thank you. The women high-five everyone in attendance, and the men’s team sings a few songs with the students. At the end of every celebration, a simple “thanks for coming down, we really appreciate it,” from each player makes the whole day worth it.

Though it can be challenging at times to separate my work as an unbiased reporter for the Marquette Wire from fandom, I still love to stand behind that fence at the Valley, cheering for a Marquette victory. I’m proud to be in that number, when blue and gold go marching in.

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