Sep 15 2012


Published by at 9:46 PM under Comm 300

Charlie Sheen recently purchased famed linebacker Lawrence Taylor’s Super Bowl ring. In 1992 Sheen bought Bill Buckner’s famous ‘86 World Series blunder ball. He owns the contract, which sent Babe Ruth from Boston to the Yankees, as well as Ruth’s 1927 World Series ring. More recently in an attempt to catch a Cecil Fielder home run, Sheen spent $5000 on a large section of seats at Angel Stadium. None came his way.

Sheen is a celebrity. He leads a lavish lifestyle and thus his vast collection of sports memorabilia seems normal to most. He’s considered a connoisseur rather than a weinee though he admits, “I lost a lot of money on the Mookie Wilson-Bill Buckner ball from the 1986 World Series.”

But what about the obsessive fan whose not rich or famous?  We all know someone who goes just a bit overboard. Those who are overly dedicated to “their” team yet lead ordinary everyday lives. What do you truly think of that person, if even at all?

Nick Brinks loves NASCAR, as he strolls around campus everyone waves. Eric Zimmerman bleeds for Iowa football. Does it make him weird when he misses work after they lose? John Janowski is from Boston and roots for the New England Patriots. Does his “Mass-hole” arrogance anger his Siouxland co-workers? Take a brief look at the lives of all three. Then decide for yourself if hardcore fans are typical people or obsessed oddballs.


NICK: “She came in the house to see what all the screaming was about, and I told her “MCMURRAY ACTUALLY WON FOR ONCE!” That was pretty cool.”

Nick adds, “The first race I ever watched was actually the one that Dale Earnhardt died in.”

If this race had been your first would you have become a fan? Obviously for Nick the emotion and excitement spoke to him.  If you witnessed the death of a legend would you have shrugged it off as coincidence never to tune in again?

“As far as NASCAR merchandise goes, I don’t buy as much as I used to, but I still have quite a bit. Nowadays, I primarily buy McMurray gear and not much else.”

Keep in mind Nick is still in college. What happens when the next crop of drivers comes along? Or perhaps he has a son later in life? According to Nick, “I have a McMurray flag in my room and 5 or 6 McMurray t-shirts. I also own 10-15 die cast cars of his from 2003 through this year.“

As for Nick’s collection,  “When I was younger, I would collect the little cars from all the drivers, buying them at Wal-Mart, Target, garage sales, and wherever else I found them. In all, I still own over 100 little die cast NASCAR cars.”

Nick’s radio show airs on KMSC and yes the topic is usually NASCAR though he admits, “I’ve never been to any NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, but I have been to 4 Nationwide series races, all at the Iowa Speedway.”

“I’ve also kept all the NASCAR shirts I’ve had over the years. I obviously don’t wear many of them as I was much younger and smaller, but I’ve kept them in my closet kind of as memories of childhood.”

Who knows maybe some lucky lady or little listener will win one soon. But does Nick obsess? If each piece of Nick’s die cast collection were a pair of shoes, would women think it foolishness?


ERIC: “My dream would be to live inside Kinnick Stadium.” 

Eric walks into the room. His wardrobe consists of black Iowa Hawkeye flip-flops, grey Hawkeye sweats, and a University of Iowa football fleece. Before he speaks he checks his Hawkeye encased smartphone then asks his employees if they could rearrange their schedules. Eric just got tickets to the annual Iowa vs. Iowa State football game.

Eric admits, “Sure I’m obsessed. Obsessive compulsion, whatever you want to call it. There’s worse ways to spend your time and money.”

Eric owns his own restaurant. He has a wife and three children and is very much involved in their lives. He golfs in a league and does caterings for the local schools. However, come Saturdays during college football season, everything else takes a back seat. Does he see this as a problem?

“No. My wife has learned just to walk away or take the kids out when Iowa’s on. She knows I’m not to be bothered,” Eric says.

As for his friends and social life he confessed, “I was the best man at my friends wedding and I was listening to the Hawkeye game while I stood up for him.”

How would you feel if your best man or maid of honor was catching the game while you were tying the knot?


JOHN: “Wait till they get a load of me.”

John hails from Boston, the heart of New England. With a name like Janowski, rooting for Patriot players like Rob Gronkowski and Teddy Bruschi has always been easy.  But does that justify, sleeping under a Patriots blanket every night. Should his vehicles be decorated with New England stickers and Patriot license plate frames?

John owns a motorcycle painted Patriot blue. He prefers riding in his Patriot lettermen’s jacket rather than leathers. “It keeps me warmer. That’s all I care about at 4am.” Taking every opportunity to ride and save gas, John regularly takes his bike to work in the summertime, even though his commute is 45 minutes one way.

Whether at the bar, a restaurant, or even gambling at the boat in Sioux City, John always sports a Patriot jersey, sweatshirt, or tee. What do his friends and fellow employees think about his choice of style?

“Patriots suck,” is the response most of his co-workers give.

One co-worker even proclaimed, “John’s a asshole anyways. When the Patriots win he’s even more arrogant and stupid.”

John’s reply, “F*&k those f*&kboys.” Their teams suck. Of course I let them have it. I’ve won over $180 bucks so far. What now f*&ksticks?”

John then reminds them how he used his winnings to purchase his newest Patriot’s ensemble. Does John take it overboard though? Is he obsessed with the Patriots or simply a fan of trash talking and gambling?

In a recent Washington Post poll question five asked, “In general, would you describe yourself as an avid sports fan, a regular fan, a casual fan or not a fan at all? “ The majority of Americans considered themselves casual fans at 37%. Though the “not a fan at all” finished second at 25%.

So how should the nation view John, or Nick, or Eric? Are they really that much different from everyone else? How far is to far when it comes to fandom? Eric only wears clothing stamped with a black and gold Herky the Hawk bust. Every other word from John’s mouth is Brady or Boston. Anyone know what’s Nick talking about or seen what’s he wearing today?

“Here’s the good news. If I realize that I’m insane, then I’m okay with it. I’m not dangerous insane.” – Charlie Sheen

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