Sunday, May 18, 2008

Advice on being a BC fan after you graduate

Ten years ago today, I graduated from Boston College. With the Class of 2008 walking Monday, I thought it was appropriate to provide some sort of commencement address. I won't try to inspire you into making a difference or bore you with life lessons. I don't have those answers. Instead I'll stick to what I know and provide a guide on making the transition from student to lifetime Super Fan.

10. Get to the game on time. This goes to fans of all ages, but the new graduates need to set the example. You’ve lived during the Super Fan era. Keep that enthusiasm going. Getting into Alumni is not tough. Give yourself enough time to be there for when the team storms onto the field. We've all complained about the older alumni. Now you are an alum. Help change the gameday culture.

9. Join your local alumni club. Alumni clubs are great places to keep your BC passion alive. I have a toddler, so game watches are rarely an option, but assuming you’re childless, a game watch allows you to watch the game with other fans. It can make things that much sweeter when we win and it is nice to commiserate with someone who understands your pain when we lose.

8. Buy BC merchandise and paraphernalia. Have you ever seen some sort of chotchke or piece of clothing with a sports logo and said to yourself “I would totally buy that if they made a BC version”? Well the marketplace is driven by dollars. Licensors won’t make cool BC stuff unless we buy the stuff that is out there now. So next time you see a BC Christmas ornament or some whalepants, pull out the credit card. Consider it an investment.

7. Don’t be a jerk at work. Your first real job is important in your life. It’s your first transition to the real world. Depending on your industry and geography you could very well be surrounded by other sports fan. Sports can be a great ice breaker and way to bond with your new coworkers. However, these people will influence your pay and your career. You’re there to contribute and work. Don’t be the guy or girl who comes in after a big game talking all sorts of trash. It will only come back to bite you in the end. Always take the high road with your coworkers when it comes to BC sports.

6. Talk with significant others about what BC sports means to you. This isn’t first date material, but if you think the relationship has potential you better have the talk early. Let this person know that BC sports is very important to you. Ask them to respect that importance. If he or she expresses interest and wants to share in your passion, great! Our tent is big and can use the support. However, if this new love doesn’t care, don’t force it. Just ask that he or she respects your interest and understands that fall and at times March are probably not the best times for big plans.

5. Don’t be that guy (or gal) in the Mods. Your first year after graduation you can return to the Mods. It is not unheard of after two years out of school. By your third year, you better have a blood relative living in the Mod before you enter. The rule holds for female graduates too. There are plenty of tailgates across campus with people you know. Being the old guy in the mod clinging to college just looks bad.

4. Travel to a game. You now have a little extra spending money. You probably now know a grad who lives near one of our opponents. Make the trip. It’s fun seeing BC somewhere new and experiencing a gameday environment that is different from Alumni. A few notes about travel. 1. Buy your tickets through BC. 2. Wear BC stuff and not Red Sox stuff. 3. Remember you're representing BC (don’t be a jerk.)

3. Be true to your school. Many of you will go on to grad school somewhere. Many of those schools could potentially have much better sports programs than BC. You are free to root for those schools, but never let them replace BC. You only have one true school.

2. Give to BC. It doesn’t have to be to the Flynn Fund but it is important to give back to BC. The team you root for, the school that provided a great four years, the friends you made, the education you received has a priceless value. Sure, you and/or your parents paid a fortune to attend BC and the school’s endowment is already over a billion dollars, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t contribute. Even a small donation helps.

1. Keep perspective. It will happen sooner or later. One day someone very important to you will need you or invite you to something that conflicts with a BC game. Inside you’ll be dreading it. Outside you need to put on a good face and suck it up. Weddings of your friends and families, funerals, birthday parties and other events are important. Show your support by skipping the game and attending. Technology is now in place that you really don’t have to miss much. You can follow the game on your cell phone and watch it back later on your Tivo or DVR. (Plus we don’t need your evil mojo working against BC. If you blow off an important family event, you can count on BC losing.) The game and the team is important but not as important as those you love.

As the Class of 2008 knows, being a Super Fan is never easy. The lows might make you question why you even root for the Eagles. But even during the down times, you should stick with it...the highs are just around the corner.


Eagle in Brighton said...

Great piece ATL.

ToTheHeights said...

I don't want to buy a damn BC Christmas Ornament in order to buy a decent football jersey 10 years down the road.... GDF GIVE ME MY BC AUTHENTIC JERSEYS NOW!!!!!!!

jj_2003 said...

"Give to BC"? Please. BC, an allegedly Jesuit institution, put George W. Bush on the cover of its magazine right before the Iraq invasion in 2003, or 4,000 dead American soldiers ago (none of whom, obviously, had anything to do with Boston College). The Republican National Committee could not have dreamed up a better Catholic outreach strategy. The last few years, I've redirected my donation to Jesuit organizations that are better living Gospel values.

BCDoubleEagle said...


The BC Magazine cover photo you're writing about (WInter 2003 issue) actually featured Nicholas Burns, a BC grad who was the USA's ambassador to NATO. Bush also happened to be in the photo, but he was not the subject of the photo or the article inside. The cover actually reads "MIDDLE MAN: NATO Ambassador Nicholas Burns '78." (Here's a link:, there was also a photo of Burns with Bill Clinton in that issue.

Anyway, I fail to see what any of this has to do with making donations to BC. ATLEagle is right on the money (sorry, pun intended). It's important to send the alma mater a few bucks each year.

luch said...

has anyone read Duke's strategic plan for athletics? very impressive.

SectionKK said...

Joe: Calm down, this is a sports blog.

Alex F. said...

That might be one of the dumbest things I've ever heard in my life. Politics aside, I didn't realize that putting someone's picture on the cover of a magazine means you support them.

LAEagle said...


don't ever come here again.


BCDisco said...

Joe Jones, this isn't dailykos. If you don't want to give money to BC, fine, give it George Soros instead. He's one guy who could always use more money.

And don't give me this BC's in bed with the RNC crap. Go talk to your friend Alan Wolfe and ask about how BC pays him to write socialistic crap every week.

Erik said...

LOL at a BC magazine cover in response to a sports blog urging people to be in their seats for kickoff. Must be fun to go through life with that attitude.

ATL - good work. FWIW I am applying to BU for MBA. There's no chance I ever side with the Terriers or even "root for them when they're not playing BC." No worries there.

ATL_eagle said...

Joe's entitled to his opinions but please try to keep the comments related to BC and the post at hand.

Laxman said...

Blogger ATL_eagle said...

Joe's entitled to his opinions but please try to keep the comments related to BC and the post at hand.

No matter how incorrect or stupid they may be...sorry

Amen, great list ATL...

downtown_resident said...

Number 3 is especially spot on. I attended graduate school at a university with a very successful men's basketball this day people ask me if I'm excited about the team, how they're doing, etc. (Usually out of necessity) I respond with a blank stare. Sure, I'm generally aware of how they're doing, but I usually have to politely inform them that I'm a fan of my undergraduate school, Boston College, and that everywhere else comes in second.

ATL, it's too bad you didn't offer up this advice when we graduated 10 years ago. I spotted a certain member of our class a few years later sporting the attire of a Catholic university in Indiana, and cheering on that school's football team at (another) one of their bowl losses. Ugh.

Big Jack Krack said...

Hey Bill - good post. Concerning #10 Get to the game on time - For the life of me, I do not understand why this is such an issue for BC. As an "older" fan (I graduated 40 years ago - Oh Boy!)I would like it to be known that I have always preferred to be in my seat in time for the entrance of the band - even for Away games. This is such a part of the college football experience that I do not understand why most BC fans are late getting into their seats. And let's not lose sight of the effort expended by the band members - we should support them as well.

In Jacksonville for the ACCCG this past December, I thought the BC Band was better than the VT Band, although much smaller. I'll actually get to see 2 games in Boston this year (Clemson and Notre Dame) and you can bet I'll be there early. When the band breaks into "Sweep Down the Field for Boston" I really get excited, and it always makes me feel proud of my school and the fact that I am a BC Football fan.

Let's all try it - it really should be part of the experience and gameday culture. Lingering at the tailgate for an extra beer or cocktail is highly over-rated. I thank Doug Flutie for curing me of that.

This way, when the cheerleaders lead the team onto the field, you are ready as a fan to give your enthusiastic welcome and support.

ajr said...

Big Jack -

For a good portion of the BC tailgaters, the issue of getting into the game late can often be viewed from a financial perspective - the stragglers are trying to get the most bang out of their tailgate buck. BC's limiting tailgating policies, and more so the increasing on-campus parking pass prices, create a reverse incentive in this way.

For those who do shell out the thousands of dollars necessary to park and tailgate on campus, it's usually not worth it to simply park and head into the game. That's why a good majority of the cars that do park on campus on game day also enjoy the privilege of putting on a tailgate for family and friends. Tailgating is a part of the gameday experience. Old classmates and friends use it as an opportunity to reunite and catch up while getting geared up for the game together. Unfortunately, when that time is both expensive and limited to only a couple of hours, there simply isn't enough time to cram it all in - a couple of hours flies by in such thing you know there's a state trooper on a motorcycle yelling at you to get into the game and you've missed the band, cheerleaders, etc.

Eagle in Brighton said...

Great point ajr: an overhaul of tailgating policies (ie: longer hours, more affordability/availability) would address many of these issues in the long term.

ajr said...

eagle in brighton -

I agree, but the chances that the tailgating pricing and hours are overhauled is slim-to-none, I think. As we are all too well aware, these issues face pressure from two of the larger influences on BC sports: the cost of putting on a good game day show/staying competitive in the ACC and the increasingly loud voice of BC's Chestnut Hill and Brighton neighbors. In the short term, I guess tailgaters will have to learn to talk and drink faster so as to get in to the game on time. Such is life.

eaglephile said...

I understand that tailgating is a social event. However, it is an event that revolves around the football game, not the other way around.

AJR, I would love to be able to tailgate 5 hours before the game, but the fact that we can't doesn't mean that we can't get into the stadium on time to watch our Eagles. That's what football is all about: Football. Socializing and drinking is nice, but it shouldn't trump the main event.

ajr said...

Paul - I don't disagree with you. Afterall, no one would be there, tailgating or not, if not for the game and to support the Eagles as they put forth their best efforts on the feild. My comments were not meant to defend drinking over full hearted support for our Eagles. I simply wanted to help clarify other commentors' difficulty in understanding why some people are late to the game. I wanted to point out that for those who might miss the start of the game, in most cases, though certainly not all, it is not due to a lack of committment to being a good Eagles fan. Instead, it results from trying to cram the social aspects of the game day experience into a very small and expensive window of time. I don't think the parking pass holders and their tailgating guests should be judged as poor fans because of it. Granted, empty seats never look good, on TV or otherwise, but the reality is the current parking pricing and tailgating policies creates this issues for some.