Tuesday, December 5, 2023

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Walks of Life

Super fans


What’s your favorite college team? NFL? NHL? Most of us have been asked similar questions at one time or another. Some people, however, don’t need to be asked. The team shirt and hat they are wearing, the banner hanging on their garage door, the bumper stickers on their cars, and the photos of them with their faces painted cheering at the stadium all shout out their affiliations. Those are the people who have crossed that fine line between fan and Super Fan.

John and Lori Mann 

Couple that cheers together…

John and Lori Mann are Super Fans of the Iowa Hawkeyes. Framed photos, art, windsocks, birdhouses, helmets, signs, art and more line and adorn their basement walls.  

When it is time to go to a football game, Lori and John don their team gear — Kinnick-embroidered hats, Herkey-embroidered black and gold bibs, and team screen printed T-shirts. The two began tailgating in 1984, as one of John’s screen-printed shirts tells. 

When Christmas comes around, they decorate their tree in black and gold in honor of the Iowa Hawkeyes. 

“Our favorite memorabilia is the Hawkeye-themed Christmas tree with bowl-game ornaments we’ve collected throughout the years,” says John, adding that the University of Iowa football team has been to 35 bowl games in its history. 

“This year marks the 35th year Lori and I have been going to games together,” he says.

Although John and Lori enjoy their massive collection of memorabilia, the memories made are the best part of being Super Fans.

“We take a victory selfie after each win,” John says.

Source: Adel Living, October 2023; by Chantel Boyd

Stacy Garrels

A fan for life

Walking into Indianola High School math teacher Stacy Garrels’ classroom, there’s no question he’s a Miami Dolphins fan.

Dolphins apparel and other memorabilia decorate the room, and he even used to have a little Monday “fun” when Sunday games didn’t go his way.

“I would give quizzes every Monday after a Dolphins’ loss to get my students to cheer for the team,” he says, laughing. “When I see former students and parents out in the community, they still ask me if I give those quizzes. I guess it’s something they never forget about my class.”

Win or lose, Garrels is a Dolphins fan for life. He has a collection of memorabilia from football cards (including Dan Marino’s rookie card) and Dolphins signs to shirts, jerseys and even a Dolphins tattoo.

“If and when the Dolphins get a Super Bowl win, it will be an all-day pizza party in my classes on the Monday after,” he says, laughing. “We’ll watch highlights from the game, because who knows how many times this is going to happen in my life.”

Source: Indianola Living, October 2023; by Becky Kolosik

Pam Wymer

Fan of the Game award

If you attended Valley High School or a Valley sporting event, you may have purchased a ticket from Pam Wymer. 

Pam, a long-time VHS staffer, worked in various school positions for 40 years. She began selling tickets for athletic events 15 years ago, which meant she could watch any games of her favorite team — the Valley Tigers.

Because of her love of attending sporting events, she received a “Fan of the Game” award. She was presented with a basketball signed by the players in 2016. 

“I get to know the kids and get hugs from them before or after the games,” she says. 

Basketball was her first love. She played 6-on-6 basketball in her hometown of Collins. Later, she played granny ball with other older women.

She’s a loyal fan, regardless of the game or team outcome. 

“If they lose, they lose. You go on to the next game. Being a fan, you take the wins with the losses,” she reflects. “I don’t jump on the team bandwagon. I’ve always stayed with my teams throughout all the years.”

Source: West Des Moines/Jordan Creek Living, October 2023; by Jackie Wilson

Heath Banks

Baseball super fan

Heath Banks has a whole building full of memorabilia and runs a sort of memorabilia museum. He says Norwalk residents know him as the guy with the memorabilia museum. 

Heath is not loyal to one specific team; he is just a big baseball fan. 

“I have some teams that I like more than others but do not root for one team exclusively.” 

While a baseball fan since childhood, Heath has only been a Super Fan the last 15 years. 

“I have attended more than 200 Major League Baseball games and have been to 23 of the parks,” he says.

Heath’s favorite memorabilia are his signed jerseys and helmets.

In his free time, Heath umpires high school baseball and referees football. 

“Next year will by my 30th year umpiring baseball, and, so far, I have umpired 13 state tournaments,” he says.

Heath has had some unique experiences because of his friends in the umpiring world. 

“I got to go to Game 4 of the World Series in Philly last year,” he says. “We started a tradition of going to a different park every year.” ♦

Source: Norwalk Living, October 2023; by Chantel Boyd

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