‘Superfan’ dedicates time to Washburn teams

Sam Sayler

Among Washburn University sports, as with several other college and professional sports institutions, there is a growing number of “superfans.”  

“I can think of two people right off the top of my head who come to everything,” said Summer Harris, Washburn sports marking director.  “They’re kind of retired, older guys, so they have the time to do that.”

Some superfans not only attend every game but also come to practices of their favorite teams.

Tom McClure is a perfect example. He attends every volleyball practice during the season.  

The superfans aren’t limited to home games though. Much of the time, the dedicated  fans will follow the teams to away games.

Some of these fans go beyond just attending games and practices and support the teams by making goodie bags for the them as they take to the road.

“They want to get to know the actual student-athletes,” said Harris.

McClure, a superfan of the Lady Blues volleyball team in his own right, attended Washburn from 1960 to 1965 and graduated with a degree in mathematics.

“I just love volleyball,” said McClure.  “When I was young, I was sort of raised at the YMCA, where both my parents worked.  Volleyball, back in the fifties and sixties, volleyball was a YMCA game before they played it in schools.  I got started there.”

McClure said although he was not big enough to spike or block well, he was good enough that when he was in high school he was not allowed to play on the intramural sports teams.

McClure is also a benefactor for the Washburn University athletic department and focuses on donating to women’s athletics.

“I give them probably about $5,000 a year through the Washburn Endowment Association,” said McClure.  “It used to be the Ichabod Cup, but I can’t keep up with it.”

Not solely a volleyball fan, McClure attends other Washburn sporting events, both home and away. While attending all the home games, McClure decides which away games he will go to.

“I go to, like, a basketball game when they’re home,” said McClure.  “I go to basketball games on the road if I can get more people to come with me on the road.

Usually though, McClure will choose a volleyball or soccer game first if there is a choice to be made.

“One great thing about volleyball is when they changed it from the side-out scoring to rally scoring, a lot more people became interested in volleyball, because with side-out scoring, the people didn’t score half the time.”

Superfans may be viewed as heroes or fanatics, but one thing is for certain: they know something about dedication and school spirit.