Being a super fan: WSU students explain how to be ardent Shocker supporters

Andrew Linnabary

Wichita State senior Joe Stroud said he has been a Shockers fan since he was a day old.

“Wichita State played VCU, and I was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia. My biological dad couldn’t go, so my stepdad took me, and I’ve been a Shocker fan since,” said Stroud, an anthropology major.

Stroud said he doesn’t take telephone calls during games. He wears the same outfit every game — either his No. 31 or No. 23 jersey, camouflage pants and red and black Nikes.

“If it’s a loss, I change my outfit immediately, no doubt about it,” Stroud said.

And if it’s a win, that outfit stays on, he said.

Stroud calls himself a super fan, one that has been to 77 WSU games as a student. He and other super fans explained how all Shocker supporters cheer on the team, if they make it to the NCAA Tournament.

“A super fan is someone who is completely loyal to the team,” Stroud said. “They’re not lukewarm, they’re not a band wagoner. They’re there whether the Shockers lose, or if they get defeated in the NCAA Tournament. They’re completely loyal.”

Stroud said he shows up every game day seven to eight hours before admission and waits outside in Marshallville, of which he’s a huge supporter. Sometimes he’s invited inside to watch the teams practice. Once admission begins he runs to his seat.  

To get pumped up during games, Stroud said he participates in the school chants.

“Usually right before the visiting team gets introduced, we do the chants, ‘Who’s that? Big deal! Who cares!’ and then during free throws we do ‘Shockers Up,’ where do we the Shockers sign,” he said.

After games, Stroud said he listens to Mike Kennedy on the Shocker Postgame Show, which provides game stats and what the Shockers can do better, Stroud said.

Outside of games, getting to know the players is the biggest support students can give, Stroud said.

“We tend to think of them as superstars,” he said. “But if they’re in your class, don’t be afraid to say ‘Hi, Ron,’ or ‘Hi, Fred.’ They appreciate being talked to. And if they need notes or anything, don’t be afraid to give them notes.”

Stroud said “trash talk” should not be allowed, whether it is foul language or rushing the court.

“Our university is known for being classy. That’s one of the reasons we don’t rush the court. Everyone wants to, especially after a huge victory, but injuries can happen if you rush the court. That was evident in the KU-K-State game,” Stroud said.

Krista Whittemore, a senior studying psychology and sports management and another super fan, said a super fan is someone that goes to all the games and supports the team.  She said she doesn’t check her telephone during games, unless it is important.

Students can be more supportive of the Shockers by getting out of their seats more, cheering loudly and having fun, she said.

Cyntila Nixon, a junior and sports management major, is another super fan and is friends with Stroud.

“A super fan to me is someone who is passionate about a school’s athletics and that attends all games and events that they can. It’s also someone who has great knowledge of the team’s roster, statistics and records,” Nixon said.

Nixon said she wishes more students attended WSU games and athletic events, especially for other sports, such as women’s basketball.

Nixon said the biggest thing students can do to support the Shockers is to go to games, cheer loud and proud, and don’t leave early.

“Koch Arena, until you actually experience it, is mystical,” Stroud said. “It’s like, ‘Where the heck am I?’ That’s how fun of an environment it is. You just have to experience it to believe it.”