Standing out in the Stands
LSU's superfans are worth the price of admission
Posted: Thursday May 3, 2007 9:37AM; Updated: Thursday May 3, 2007 9:37AM
Look up in the stands.
It's a bird.
It's a plane.
No, it's the Superfans.
At least that's what a certain group of Louisiana State University students call themselves.
The Superfans -- which consist of LSU Superman, LSU Batman, LSU Batgirl, LSU Spiderman and a host of other purple and gold characters -- can be found in the front row at every football game in Tiger Stadium.
And whether they're dancing to the beats of the Golden Band from Tiger Land or walking to the game from Christ the King Catholic Church, these die-hard LSU fans create quite a buzz around campus.
What started in 2000 as a one-man show has transformed into a group of 10 individuals. The expansion of the group is something the Superfans' founding member LSU Superman -- or Clark Kent as he prefers to be called -- said was unexpected.
"After the first few football games of my freshman year, I decided I wanted to be more involved," Kent said. "I talked to my mom -- who was really good at sewing -- and we came up with this idea to make a Superman costume. I started sitting in the front row and every year more and more people started to join."
Kent said when he began dressing up the LSU fans supported him, but said opposing fans did not have the same wholesome welcome.
"From the first time I put on the LSU Superman costume, people would like to take pictures with me," Kent said. "The LSU fans always loved it from the beginning, but not as much can be said about the opposing fans, but that's to be expected."
Prior to every LSU home football game, the Superfans meet at Christ the King, where they trade in their T-shirts and jeans for their purple and gold attire.
Although the preparation does not take much effort, LSU Batgirl said the group has to leave early to make it to the stadium gates in time.
"It takes only about five or 10 minutes to get dressed," Batgirl said. "But the 15-minute walk over to Tiger Stadium turns into an hour or an hour and a half because everybody is stopping you to try and take pictures and talk to you. We try to leave four or five hours early so we can get there well in time before the gates open."
LSU Batman -- who is engaged to Batgirl and will graduate at the end of the semester -- said the walk to and from the stadium is half the fun of being a member of the Superfans.
"As we're walking to the games we get people singing [the Batman theme song]," Batman said. "But mostly it's just little kids coming up to you saying, 'Batman can we take a picture with you?'"
After making it past the mobs of people who ask for anything from autographs, pictures or to talk to them, the Superfans enter the gates two and a half hours before kickoff and are usually one of the first students to get into Death Valley.
Batgirl said the Superfans -- along with other various groups that have formed over the past few years -- sit in the same spot every game.
"We get there early so we can reserve our seats," Batgirl said. "Everyone in our section knows that's where we sit, so it's kind of like we have all our little spots mapped out. We know that when the gates open you don't run to someone else's section."
Along with sitting in the same section every football season, other traditions such as graduating members passing down their costumes to others in the church have formed over the past seven years.
Spiderman -- known as Peter Parker -- joined the Superfans this past season after he received the costume from a former member.
Parker said he has enjoyed every moment thus far and said it is an honor to be a part of this tradition.
"I saw Spiderman, Batman and Superman all on TV and I thought, 'Wow that's so awesome,'" Parker said. "And now it feels great to be a part of it."
Parker said the in-game experience is irreplaceable and added that although the costume is not very comfortable during the mid-August and September games, he would not trade the opportunity to be a part of this group.
"It's awesome because when you put the mask on it's kind of like you have tunnel vision and you feel like it's just you and the football team," Parker said. "The sound is kind of muffled so you can't really hold any intelligent conversations, but it helps you just focus on the game."
He also said his family supports him and are happy with his involvement.
"It's funny because a lot of my immediate relatives don't call me by my first name anymore," Parker said. "They call me Spiderman. I don't know if that's going to stick, but we'll see."