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.