Last Fan Sitting Blog

I've reorganized the blog so that it tells the story in sequential order (thus making more sense to new readers). If you've been following all along, scroll down to the very bottom for the final postings. Thanks for reading, and feel free to email mansfiks@wfu.edu with any questions, comments or interesting facts. If you have any thoughts for the sitters, I'll be happy to pass them along. 

 


Last Fan Sitting - Day 1

For about a year now we in the Athletic Department have been considering holding a contest that would not only showcase the dedication and fervor of Wake Forest fans, but also raise awareness about the Football Seat Rights Program. At first the idea of inviting fans to come sit in our stadium for days on end, in potentially freezing cold weather, seemed nothing short of ludicrous. However, the idea continued to nag and eventually we decided to go all in. After many, many hours of consultation with Wake Forest’s legal and medical staff, the Last Fan Sitting Contest was born.

I had good intentions to blog throughout the entire day, but due to widespread media coverage and a series of contests I have been unable to sit down at my computer and document all that has happened here at BB&T Field. So the following provides highlights from Day 1.

But before I deliver all the gory details about the contestants and their quest for a decade and a half worth of free Wake Forest Football, on behalf of the Athletic Department I want to thank all those who came out to participate in the inaugural Last Fan Sitting Contest. Your commitment to Wake Forest Football is extraordinary (and a little disturbing). But you define the essence of Wake Forest Football: commitment, determination, and passion. And we thank you for exemplifying that by participating in this contest.

 

4:25 a.m. – The First Fan Sitting

Contest participants were directed to arrive at BB&T Field by 5:30 a.m. I knew we’d have some over-ambitious competitors who would arrive fashionably early, but I figured if I arrived before 4:30 a.m. (or dark-o-clock as my Dad calls it), I’d have enough time to wrap up a few final logistical details. As I drove up to the parking lot of the stadium, a car clad with a prominent WF magnet awaited my arrival. It wasn’t until this moment that I totally grasped the full extent of this crowd’s devotion to Wake Forest Football. Dan Fisher from Cornelius, NC was officially our first fan sitting—and he and his fellow participants who arrived shortly thereafter meant business.

 

5:30 a.m. – Bags of all shapes and sizes

The rules of the contest permitted participants to bring one bag full of whatever they pleased so long as the bag’s weight did not exceed 20 pounds. While this is primarily a contest of endurance, the bag has important strategic implications. Bag types ranged the gamut, from a worn and torn small backpack to the supersized Hefty. Most people had weighed in prior to coming, while a few had to drop a pound or two. The contents of the bags varied less than their form. Most packed blankets, pillows, and books or other things to squelch the boredom.

 

6:15 a.m. – Final Preparations

“Yeah, can you let her know that I’m not going to be making it into work today. I’m in that Wake Forest sitting contest.” –Danny Coomer on the phone

 

6:30 a.m. – Let the games begin

While 38 people eagerly registered for the contest, only 23 (the truly dedicated) actually showed up. Several pairs of people decided to make this a family affair, such as mother-son combo Myra and Tyler Kelly, father-son pair Mark and Cameron Adams, and father-daughter duo Jim and Emma Rhodes. The group consisted of 5 females and 18 males. Most contestants are from the triad area, but some drove distances to compete—including one from Independence, VA. Coach Grobe gave the group a pep talk in the home locker room (turns out he’s pretty good at pumping people up for competition) and then the crowd moved to section 3 of BB&T Field so that the games could officially begin. Check back for a photo gallery featuring all of the contestants at the start of the contest.

 

6:35 a.m. – Strategy

Shannon Smith (Fox 8): What strategic items did you bring in your bag?

Andrew Boyd: Depends. I don’t want to lose on a technicality.

 

8:10 a.m. – Having a ball

Throughout the contest the participants have the opportunity to participate in a series of mini-contests where they can win prizes that will make their sitting more enjoyable. The first of these contests involved races in the giant inflatable hamster balls. After using a trivia question to narrow down the contestants to six, we held a time trials to determine the two to compete in a head-to-head championship race. All contestants performed quite well, with not a single person falling over (as happened every football game this season). Coach Gaudio, fresh off a plane from BYU, signaled the start of the final race, and contestant Joe Parry pulled out the victory. His euphoria over winning was heightened because two tickets to the upcoming Carolina basketball game were added to the prize at the last minute. Joe also won a Great Outdoor Provisions sleeping bag, Gortex jacket, and gloves. After the race, media personalities Skip the Prize Guy from 98.7 Simon and Shannon Smith from Fox 8 hopped into the balls for a race of their own. While the race started close, Shannon prevailed after Skip took a tumble (and suffered from an apparent wrist injury that he claims cost him the race). Per usual, the hamster balls delivered a good time.

 

8:45 a.m. – “We’ve lost one.”

At 8:45 a.m. the contestants got their first break, and we lost our first participant. Stan Bowen from Tobaccoville, NC opted out after a couple of hours. And then there were 22.

 

9:35 a.m. – Attention Message Board People

One of our contestants already experienced computer (or more accurately boards) withdrawal. He asked me to get on the boards to ensure Dino’s presence at the Carolina game. Hopefully someone reading this will pass along the message.

 

12:00 noon – It’s a Celebration

The contestants quickly decided that the mini-contests were a good thing and had the opportunity to compete in another before lunch. This one involved touchdown celebrations. All those who chose to participate showed off their best dancing skills in the end zone for a motley crew of judges from the Athletic Department staff. The majority of the contestants dancing demonstrated real creativity in their moves. Naz-T would have been proud. Our judges made the tough call to narrow the group down to the final two, who would face-off on live television. Kenny Beck from WXII would toss each a ball after which they would have time for freestyle celebration. The prize on the line was a meal of choice from the Village Tavern while watching the Fiesta Bowl in warm, comfy and luxurious Deacon Tower—with such a sought-after prize  , we elected to make the anchors in the (locked) WXII building the official final judges. Kenny, who apparently had his Wheaties for breakfast, launched a pass that extended just beyond the first contestant Brett Eagle’s grasp. Brett’s father later called in that the pass was uncatchable, but I think Kenny would beg to difer. Either way, Brett quickly recovered and busted out some moves a la Beyonce. The second contestant, Andrew Boyd, caught his pass for a TD and pulled out a smorgasbord of classics, with the lawnmower as his signature move. Despite Brett’s missed catch, the anchors at WXII named Brett the winner, and as a result he enjoyed grilled salmon and NY cheesecake (with deliciousne  ss guaranteed) while his cohorts fueled up with McDonald’s.

 

1:20 p.m. – Another one down

Zach Hines, currently a student-athlete at Wake Forest, was our second contestant to leave. His excuse was probably the best we’ll hear the entire contest: track practice.

 

8:40 p.m. – “Here comes the rain”

The afternoon was fairly uneventful. Lots of napping. Lots of interesting conversation. Most remain in high spirits. We did experience some more attrition. Emma Rhodes, who wasn’t feeling well; but her dad remains to attempt to bring home a victory for the family. Harry Caines of Kernersville also decided to skip out. Only 19 remained, but most were still looking strong and settled in for the long haul. The ominous sky promised wet weather in the near future. In the name of safety, the rules specify that the contestants will be moved to the club seats in the event of inclement weather. As contest officials, we decided to make the move to the Club Level. The decision was confirmed as the contestants walk up the stadium steps was lit by the flash of lightening. When the rain headed in, contestant Tyler Kelly decided to head out. Lucky for him, his mom is still in the running and is willing and able to tough out the wet weather.

 

11:40 p.m. – Final thought from Day 1

"Have we made it to Thursday yet?"


Last Fan Sitting - The First Night

At midnight we were 18 strong. When I arrived back at BB&T Field this morning, only 10 remained.

Although the temperature outside remained a balmy 50 degrees, the rain came in full force. The fans stayed remained in stands throughout the wet weather, but things really got interesting when the temperature dropped and the wind picked up as day began to break. 

Here are some of the highlights relayed to me by our staff member on duty for the night:

-What would any contest be without the occasional bribe from the contestants.  The mixture of rain and close to 24 hrs of sleep deprivation led to some interesting offers.  Presently, we have declined on all of them, despite some enticing opportunities.

-Although none of the contestants knew each other prior to the competition, they have throughout the competition been very amicable to one another. In fact, they became so close that those who dropped out chose to do so together. An interesting effect of the Last Fan Sitting Contest: how they came as one, but left in pairs.

-The Last Fans Sitting now have a fan of their own. During the 4 o'clock hour, a passerby sent a message to the fans via the security guard: "Black and Gold represent. I'm here to keep my black and gold true." We're unsure whether these words of support were intended for the fans sitting, but he was certainly proud of the Deacs.

-Lucas Hash won't be receiving 15 years worth of season this year for his birthday. At the 6:50 a.m. break he decided that he didn't want to send this year's birthday at BB&T Field. I'm guessing this year all he'll want for his birthday is to be warm and dry. Happy Birthday Lucas!

-The contestants receive a ten minute break every two hours and a fifteen minute break every six hours. Now that the elements have come into play, the breaks have important strategic implications. The breaks are taken in the home locker room, and each of the contestants has a specific routine in order to maximize their time in the warmth. Some opt to take advantage of the hand dryers to warm gloves and socks, others focus more on matters of hygiene (apparently clean teeth are ever important even in sitting competitions). A few choose to do nothing at all other than enjoy the warm--these are the few with cold feet. Each contestant has claimed his/her territory within the locker room. All place incredible importance on their break routine. The nuances and rituals exhibited during the breaks are quite interesting to outside observer--like something you'd see on reality TV. How would you spend your 10 minute breaks?

Check back later for more postings about Day 2.


Last Fan Sitting - Day 2: Introductions

With only 10 contestants holding strong, I would like to properly introduce our remaining steadfast sitters:

Mark and Cameron Adams: This father-son duo is nothing short of hard core. A couple of days after announcing the contest, Mark came into the Deacon Club office to obtain some of our football media guides because he plans on making it all the way to the bitter end and needed to study up for the trivia contest. During most breaks they simply stand and observe as all of the other contestants run around in a frenzy completing their warming rituals. Mark and Cameron both speak softly, but are big competitors. 

Danny Coomer: The loquacious one in the bunch, Danny is a single father in love with only two things: his son and Wake Forest. He's even been caught sneaking around Deacon Tower to take pictures during the construction. Danny also has permanently displayed his devotion for the Deacs by tattooing a WF and Wake Forest on his arm. I reminded him that this tattoo does not meet the new brand standards and recommended that he should update the gold and logo. 

Kim Phillips: Kim wins the Ms. Congeniality award for this competition. Ever hour or so I see her waving at the webcam because another friend or family member has tuned in to see "her space out in the stands". Her husband was originally the Wake fan, but Kim has adopted the Deacs while living here for the past 23 years. When not sitting in the stands at BB&T Field, she plays co-ed volleyball at the Clemmons Y. Her team has recently moved to intermediate (Danny says they're pretty competitive). All us ladies out there are cheering for Kim to give these boys a good fight.

Joe Parry: Hi Joe! (Joe is probably reading this blog right now on his iPhone). Although a graduate of Georgetown, Joe is currently getting his MBA at Wake Forest and is obviously now committed to the Deacs in a big way. Joe brought along his finance book (which had to take up a good chunk of his 20 pounds) so that he could study while sitting. Or maybe it was intended as a mechanism for putting him to sleep during those cold, rainy nights. Joe has a penchant for sticking out his tongue--he must be using the Michael Jordan strategy to try and intimidate the other competitors. 

Bob Yakos: For some reason I simply cannot get Bob's name straight. Throughout the competition I've called him Robert (which technically is his real name), Yokas, Yekes, Roberta, Yonkers--the list goes on and on. Bob is best dressed for wet weather. He has bright blue gear that looks straight out of the Deadliest Catch. While most times Bob is quiet, the poster contest revealed that he is one of the brighter crayons in the box. Although he didn't win according to our official judge, all of the actual contestants agreed that Bob's wit and ingenuity were unmatched.

Austin Dunning: Austin is probably our youngest competitor and most definitely weighs the least. Decked out in a camo rain suit, sometimes we can't even see him at all. Austin is always in high spirits and offers the other contestants a refreshingly positive outlook. It's no surprise Austin is good at pepping people up, seeing as he was a mascot for the Frederick Keys minor league baseball team. Austin was the Keyote, and I feel quite certain he had the job on lock down.

Andrew Boyd: Andrew has a clear advantage in the competition, as for weeks leading up to this contest he spent long, rigorous hours practicing sitting. Additionally, Andrew claims to have also spent time envisioning what mini-contests we could potentially have and then practiced for those; as a result Andrew is batting about .600 (way ahead of the rest of the pack) on the mini-contests. Andrew has a daughter in pre-school, who he pulled out of school so that she could watch her daddy shake his moneymaker in the Touchdown celebration dance contest on the local news. 

Brett Eagle: Brett is our token vegetarian--he won't eat anything mentioned in the song Old McDonald. This has made feeding Brett a little difficult, as both McDonalds and Pulliams Hot Dogs graciously donated meals packed with protein. Always quick with a clever remark, Brett is that extreme competitor who was glad the rain and cold came because it weeded out the weak. On several occasions during the competition, Brett has shown us all that he can seriously bust a move. If this whole sitting thing doesn't work out, maybe he can score free tickets to the games through the dance team.

Jim Phillips: Jim is a man of few words. But according to Jim, he does a lot of listening. Jim is old school Wake Forest--literally. He and his wife met on the old campus while in graduate school for seminary. Jim's daughter Emma also participated in the contest, but she had to drop out early on account of a cold. Emma is currently in school at Richmond (she's a spider), but still cheers for the Deacs and Jim says that he's going to keep on sitting because Emma won't let him come home.


Last Fan Sitting - Day 2

12:20 - To Ron with Love

After a cold morning, the contestants were hungry for another contest within the contest. They would prefer contests more along the lines of who can pile up the most blankets and sleep the longest. Unfortunately that wasn't in the cards, so instead we opted for a test of intellect and/or middle school debauchery: a paper airplane throwing contest. We armed each of the contestants with two 3-pointer cheer cards to and 30 minutes to craft their best possible paper aircraft. The only rules were that the final product had to resemble an airplane in some way, shape or form (i.e. they couldn't ball up the paper and throw it at the target).

We placed a cone half-way down the stadium and made the launching pad the lower edge of the club seat section. At the time we were subject to significant winds that would definitely alter the paths and distance of the throws. Danny, the first sitter to throw his plane, confidently walked down to the launch area and lifted his finger to test the direction of the wind. The only problem was that Danny was wearing gloves, and even if he wasn't by this point he probably has no feeling in his fingers that would enable him to detect the direction of the wind. So it was no surprise when Danny threw his plane out into the stands that the wind took it down after only a few rows.

Some contestants named their planes. Bob not only once again showed his Wake Forest pride by writing Go Deacs! on the wing, but also gave a shout out to his three kids: Joe, Sam and Nate. Jim also included his daughter Emma's name on the plane. However, the power of children did not help Bob and Jim, as their planes took a similar fate to Danny's.

Kim spent quite a long time completing a fan-fold plane, an idea for which she took a lot of verbal abuse, but this unique aircraft also proved no match for the wind. Joe included a note to Coach Grobe on his plane that said, "Thanks for the pep talk Coach Grobe". Unfortunately for Joe, no pep talk would help his throw. Brett's plane suffered a similar fate. Mark and Cameron actually both earned negative yardage with their attempts. Just as I was thinking I might have put the target too far away, Andrew once again pulled through to win the contest with a plane that landed only a row away from the cone. Andrew had named his plane To Ron with Love, as the prize for winning this competition was a catered meal in Ron's Deacon Tower Athletic Director's box. We are pretty sure it was Ron Wellman effect that pulled his plane through to victory. 

2:45 p.m. - Words of Encouragement

"Just think, there are ten people here but nine of you will go home without season tickets." -Matt Lamoureux, Assistant Director of Operations and Facilities 


Last Fan Sitting - Day 2 continued

6:00 - Dah, Dah, Dah Dah Dah, Dah

After another long, cold afternoon we broke up the monotony with another contest. All 10 contestants still remain, but two decided not to participate in this particular competition. The prize at stake was the ultimate Last Fan Sitting survival pack, including a flannel WF pajama pants, a sweatshirt, a hat, a football media guide to study for trivia, hand warmers, a Wake Forest canteen full of piping hot coffee, and the piece de resistance: an I'm-a-true-too-cool-for-school-Deacon-because-I-wear-1993-Wake-Forest-gear-with-gray-cloth-lining rain jacket. I knew the prize was good because it got an "OMG!" from the crowd.

The contest involved the fight song, so we brought in our heavy hitters from the Marketing Department to help judge. Each contestant would have the opportunity to sing "O Here's to Wake Forest" in front of the panel of judges and would be critiqued on three areas--technical (with a penalty for reading the words off of a handheld or paper), flare, and pitch. The winner would be the person with the highest total score. We drew numbers during a break to determine the order.

Danny was first up. Turns out he was the only person of the eight who participated that actually knew the words to the song. He also utilized his cell phone to play music in the background, so we gave him props for his prop. One of our emails let us know that Danny enjoyed singing and thus did so often; however, his voice lacked the prowess and purity of a seasoned performer in our opinion. Jim was second up, and before singing dedicated the song to his wife Leslie who graduated in '78. Jim definitely performed with heart and would have been perfect if 90% of the words to the song were actually dah. 

The contest guru, Andrew Boyd, once again graced us with quite the performance opting for a version he said was from the Old Country. It sounded like Show Tunes meets Looney Tunes, all delivered dramatically with an impeccable English accent. Confident of his performance, he remarked to the judges, "now don't all applaud at once." Kim followed Andrew, but apparently knows a different version of the song than the rest of us. Hers goes something to the tune of: "Rah, Rah, Oh Jesus!, Rah." 

Unassuming Bob showed up and promised me he'd deliver on the flare, but he was saving it for the end. He took his shoes off and got to singing. While the performance was fairly average, the finale almost made him a clear favorite to win the contest. He capped off the song with a cartwheel and positioned to do a back flip. Just as everyone on the judging panel audibly gasped, Bob said "just kidding." Had he pulled off the flip, we all agree he would have enjoyed a landslide victory.

Brett Eagle was next and was as bootylicious as ever. He opted for a remix, and it got very interesting when we got to the Rahs. His performance once more reaffirmed that Shakira has nothing on Brett when it comest to gyrating the derriere. Joe followed with a nice water bottle substitute for the rhenish. His voice was quite pleasant, and that, along with an impressive WOOOO! helped keep him in the running. Austin rounded out the group. Turns out Austin doesn't know any of the words and had no way of looking them up--but have no fear, he improvised. With a humming of the song, Austin complimented the tune with a Lord of the Dance adaptation (which subsequently makes him Lord of the Deacons). The hum was soft and steady throughout until all of the sudden from the depths of his very small belly there burst out a powerful, deep and somewhat scary "GO DEACS!" He ended the song with a tip of his hat.

All the performers made valiant efforts, and there was much heated debate among the judges, with each judge arguing diligently for his/her favorite; there was even an amusing impersonation of Austin's fast feet by Marketing Director Mike Odom. But in the end the flare, heart, stage presence, and creativity of Andrew won him yet another competition.

 

6:16 p.m. - Andrew Boyd Limerick

In honor of Andrew's singing victory, we are posting a limerick written in his honor that was emailed to me by his friend Ivan Herman (WFU '99).

There was a wet man named Andrew.

Who clung fast to his seat like kudzu.

His fingers went numb,

While he sat on his bum.

But now he'll have seats with a good view! 

 

10:00 p.m. - Happy Birthday Emma!

Today is the birthday of one of our former participants, who also happens to be the daughter of one of our remaining sitters. Emma, your dad says happy birthday. If he wins the seat rights and season tickets, I'm guessing it will most definitely be your best birthday present ever.


Last Fan Sitting - Day 3

2:20 a.m. - Delirium

I may not know karate, but I know CRAAAAAAAAAAAAZY!" -Austin Dunning

 

7:00 a.m. - Fighting Words & Perspective

It was a chilly 41 degrees here at BB&T Field and the rain continued to come down in buckets. In honor of our promise to the University legal counsel and medical staff to keep the physical safety of our contestants a priority, our sitters spent most of the day yesterday and all night in the outdoor club seat area. We'd prefer to have all of the remaining ten leave the contest alive. While some might argue that we've gone soft, I assure you that this contest has been no cakewalk. After sitting out in the pouring rain Monday night (weather conditions crucial enough to cause 9 of their cohorts to bite the dust), the contestants were soaked to the core. They didn't even begin to dry out until about midway through the afternoon.

Although the contestants spent the night under the cover of the club seat eave, nothing could protect them from the dropping temperatures and gusts of wind blowing rain into their seating area. We also had our first serious equipment malfunction. Mark's sleeping bag zipper broke, and in adherence to the rules, we did not allow his request to have a visitor swap it out with one that works. His son Cameron still has a functioning sleeping bag; we'll wait and see if he's willing to share with his pops.

All the benevolance toward one another has frankly been somewhat sickening. I felt it was only appropriate to try and stir up the pot a bit by asking when we were going to hear some fighting words. That's right, I'm a spirit breaker. Danny, our resident drama queen, delivered on queue: "Don't worry, later today I plan on pushing Kim down the stairs." I might have taken some creative liberty with this quote just to see Danny get all worked up that I skewed his words--he's not actually going to push her, but rather enable her fall. Apparently he is under the impression that Kim is hitting on him (which makes him feel cheap) and we shouldn't be surprised if Kim "slips" when walking down the stadium stairs to return to the section 3 seats later this morning.

Upon hearing Danny throw out a little smack, Joe delivered some sass of his own. We were attempting to get Danny to do his "world-famous" Dino dance, and to set the mood Joe pumped out some music on his iPhone. As Danny perked up at the mere sound of Beyonce, Joe astutely pointed out that Danny was eager to rise upon hearing the line "all single girls stand up."

All joking aside, the contestants continue to display incredible kindness and generosity towards one another--especially considering this prize is worth almost as much as some people make in a year. A week ago when planning for the contest I envisioned seats full of cut-throat, mean-spirited competitors armed with a take-no-prisoners metality. The group here says that I assumed this because I went to a certain public University where (in their opinion) the people lack the integrity of civilized Wake Forest folk. While I have to stick up for my alma mater, there is a nugget of truth in what they are saying. We have all seen the ubiquitous Proud to be a Deacon logo extolling the tenets of the Deacon faithful: Dignity, Class and Integrity. Our Last Fans sitting have demonstrated tremendous integrity and are truly a class act. While I'm sure they will tell you they are also quite dignified, the image of them cocooned in their sleeping bags on cold, wet bleachers prevents me from praising the sitters for this final virtue at this time.

Although they may have sacrificed self-respect in the name of seats, one thing they all have is perspective. This has been exhibited time and again, such as when Danny, glowing with pride, played me a voice message of his son singing the Barney song that was meant to be a tune of encouragement. Or when Andrew informed me that he in fact had three kids (not just the preschooler referenced earlier) so that they receive a shout out on the blog as well. He and other contestants were kidding that their kids must be thinking: "Daddy, do you love football more than me?!?!" But I assure you, everyone here has their priorities in order.

Kim uses perspective as a motivational tool. Through an email we learned that Kim's sister Dawn is serving our country in the Air Force and is currently stationed in Iraq. Kim figures if her sister can survive the desert, she has no room to complain about sitting around for a couple of days.

I'm sure the nine who don't win the Football Seat Rights prize will be disappointed, but I'm willing to bet none will be utterly devastated. At the very least, I feel fairly sure each contestant has gained a handful of new friends. I know I have.

 

9:15 a.m. - "It looks easy when they do it."

The Last Fans Sitting have become real media hogs. After making their morning radio and television appearances, the rain had subsided and we moved back down to the metal bleachers in section 3. With the weather finally cooperating, we were able to hold the oft-requested Punt Catching Competition.

After we explained the rules (single elimination), all were talking a big game. They've seen the Deacs special teams players catch punts hundreds of times with ease and as a result figured it couldn't be all that hard. One by one the contestants positioned for the catch at about midfield, and one by one they failed to catch the ball. Joe was the only one to actually perform--but at least he did so with flare, diving to make the grab. Joe's prize for this competition is a two-hour nap in the Deacon RV, which he'll take later this afternoon. With less than 24 hours remaining in teh sitting portion of this competition, that nap might just be enough to pull him through to the bitter end.

 

10:00 a.m. - A Presidential Visit

"Ooooo, Ooooo, is he giving away Deacon Club memberships?!" Danny eagerly asked when we told him that Deacon Club President Ken Budd was coming by to give the sitters something. While Danny and the other contestants didn't receive any free priority points, they did score some warm Krispey Kremes.


Last Fan Sitting - Day 3 continued

3:45 p.m. - Les Miserables

Just an hour before, I had remarked to our group that this was a great day for a sitting contest. The sky was blue, the sun finally made an appearance, and the contestants were amusing themselves playing two lies and a truth. Austin nearly dropped out earlier in the day due to an aching stomach, but I think he just ate too many Krispey Kreme donuts. He quickly recovered and with his second wind amused us more than ever with his upbeat personality and cheery disposition. All was well at BB&T Field.

However, as the afternoon progressed dark clouds began to gather in the North. While the ominous sky did not look promising, the robust winds foreshadowed a tough road ahead for our sitters' final night. With the winds picking up to the point that walking was a burden, we decided to try and push the final contest within a contest forward a bit. Unfortunately, Joe was still taking a nap in the RV, so we were unable to gain much time on the approaching storm. The clouds continued to grow, and it was an eerie site to see the juxtaposition of the dark gray storm clouds rolling over the bright blue of the clear Southern skies. 

The contest we had planned was a team challenge. We divided the group into five teams of two. To do this in a fair manner, we asked them for Wake Forest's total scholarship cost last year. The five people closest to the answer ($9.65 million) got to select their teammates from the five remaining people. We placed the gold D-E-A-C-S flags in the end zone. Each team would have to select one person to run their flag to the 40-yard line, where their partner awaited. They then would have to "wheelbarrow" walk together to the 20-yard line, and then the person who did not run the flag would have to kick a field goal from the 10-yard line. The winning team got thirty minutes to take a hot shower in the locker room (not together of course). The teams were set and the contestants were pumped. But first we had to break.

Our timing for this contest could only be described with two words: Les Miserables. Half-way through the break the sky opened up. But like the US Postal Service, neither rain nor wind nor heat of day nor gloom of night could keep us down--so it was on with the contest. The teams had a quick second to strategize about who would was best suited as the flag man (or flag person, sorry Kim) and/or whose leg would be able to deliver the winning field goal. Mike Buddie signaled the start of the race and they were off. The flag running was fierce. Joe's eyes were wide with intensity, and I'm pretty certain I saw his nostrils flare. Danny was not far behind and God help anything that tried to get in his way. It was reminiscent of the running of the bulls. 

The wheel barrow race turned out to be the critical portion of the competition. Joe and Cameron (we'll call them Jameron a la Brangelina) lost some ground as they had some troubles getting their hands and feet set. Danny and Bob (Dob) got off to a quick start. Bob had even thought ahead and changed the shoe on his kicking foot. Out of the stretch I thought Dob was going to pull away easily, but out of nowhere Jameron's strength allowed the pair to overcome the early technical difficulties and reach the 20-yard line first. Dob was not far behind and with visions of soaps and steamy showers running through their heads both teams were determined to make the field goal on the first attempt. Joe set up for the kick (laces out of course) and Cameron drilled it through the uprights so as to leave no question as to the winner. Cameron was so pumped up he bellowed out a victory cry, which might be the second word I've heard Cameron utter the entire 72 hours.

The other contestants left disappointed, but a few opted to try their luck at the field goal just for kicks and giggles. Several did surprisingly well, and we might want to investigate whether they have any eligibility left. The contestants returned to their seats in section 3, and the rain continued to fall. Although the weather forecast let us know that it would stop before long, the thought of wet seats and puddles at their feet meant that the upcoming night was not for the weak of heart.

 

5:44 p.m. - To stay or not to stay?

I've come home for a short siesta before returning for my midnight to 9 a.m. shift in a short while. As I'm typing here snug as a bug in my warm and cozy bed, the sound of the wind outside my window makes me more grateful than ever for warmth, shelter, a hot shower and dry clothes. The night ahead does not look promising. What we have is the classic Catch 22. To stay will be torture. But at this point, after enduring hours upon hours of the cold, rain, wind, and boredom, to leave would also be torture. Escalation of commitment tells us all 10 will be present at the trivia contest tomorrow morning. Sanity tells us otherwise. As the sitters embark on this final test of perseverance, I offer a plea from my friend Jackson Brown: "Oh won't you stay, just a little bit longer? Please, please stay. Say you will."


Last Fan Sitting - Day 3

7:45 p.m. - A Farewell to Austin

It took over 36 hours, but we have finally had another sitter drop out of the competition.

At first glance, Austin Dunning does not strike you as someone who would have what it takes to go the distance in this competition. Just a hair over 100 pounds, his delicate physique made us all wonder how he was able to take the abuse that Mother Nature so brutally handed down over the course of the past three days. But I should have know better than to judge a book by its cover.

Austin's story is one of spirit, spunk and an unadulterated innocence that was as refreshing as it was uplifting. Austin actually went to my high school in Greensboro, NC. He was a freshman when I was a senior, and although I had seen him before I didn't immediately recognize him during registration. After reading my blog, my mom called to remind me that Austin was, in her words: "the best hornet Western Guilford ever had." This competition has made me realize that Austin Dunning is a mascot through and through.

The root of the word mascot traces back to mean anything which brings luck to a household. All of us involved with this competition feel lucky to have met Austin Dunning. Mascots are almost always smiling (they have no choice, the dimples are stitched in). Austin arrived before the break of dawn Monday morning with a broad smile that seemed to stretch from ear to ear, and the grin was always there as he periodically peeped through the hole in his sleeping bag to beam at us all. Mascots entertain. We never knew what to expect from Austin's quarky personality, but I always found myself laughing when in his company.

Austin, you did a great job. I'm sure the remaining nine would agree that your departure feels as if we've lost a family member. I hope you realize what a great experience this has been and how much you have touched all of us. I'm only sorry that I didn't get to say goodbye to you in person.


Last Fan Sitting - The Fourth Quarter

We've finally made it to the home stretch, and all nine remaining are still looking strong. I'm on duty for the duration of the contest so I'll keep you posted in a more timely manner--though I imagine the sitters won't be doing much more than sleeping and studying tonight.

8:30 p.m. - Dance the Night Away

During the contest the competitors have passed time in a variety of ways, such as doing the wave for the webcam or committing football media guides to memory. This evening they decided to give all those viewers out there on the world wide web a show by spontaneously breaking out in the YMCA and Macarina. If you missed it, don't feel bad--I did too. They said it was a pretty good show, but I'm not sure if that assessment is legit or just shameless self-aggrandizement.  Kim did say she had to set the boys straight that although the sprinkler is a worthy dance, it is not part of the YMCA. Under her direction, the boys got their point on instead.

 

10:50 p.m. - Strange Sounds From BB&T Field

Even though my shift didn't begin until around midnight, I just couldn't stay away. As I walked up the stairs to fetch my laptop from Deacon Tower, I was stopped in my tracks due to a strange sound coming from the direction of the sitters that sounded something like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVq4beVrHeU. Turns out we've got a snorer in the bunch. I'm not going to embarass the person and tell y'all who it is, but I will give you a hint. His name starts with an M and ends with Noah's ride.

 

1:25 a.m. - Top 10 Reasons they're here and you're not.

#10:Dedication. I'm not saying that there aren't a number of extremely dedicated Deacons who are not sitting out here with me tonight (I'm talking to you Julie Griffin). But these people have an extreme dedication that I imagine is matched by few. Take Danny for instance. Danny goes above and beyond the call of duty in his dedication to the Deacs. He told me he would name the movie about his life "My Son is My World," but I think this is only because he knows the title Die Hard has already been taken. I'm not kidding--Danny is a die-hard Deac. Most guys dream of having a lounge or man cave, but Danny has his Deacon Den. Check it out at the following link and pay particular attention to the curtains, which Danny sewed himself. http://gallery.me.com/kelly.mansfield/100197

#9: They've got friends. Lots of them. Almost all of the contestants have received a slew of texts, emails, calls, and visits from loved ones, but our only remaining lady takes the cake when it comes to having friends. Kim is more popular than TIger Woods, the Wii and Tickle Me Elmo--combined. Whenever she is not waving to a friend on the webcam, she is greeting her seemingly never-ending line of family and friends who have visited to offer moral support and help avoid the tedium.

#8: They signed up.

#7:Preparation. The art and science of packing has played a key role in keeping these contestants alive, especially when the first drops of rain began to fall from the sky. Many of the Monday night drop-outs were the result of substandard preparation for wet weather; holy tarps simply will not do (unless it's Sunday). Each of our remaining nine has made the most of the 20-pound carry-along bag. Andrew ought to receive a sponsorship from Ziploc because he has plastic bags in all shapes and sizes to keep his gear dry, which became invaluable as soon as the rain came pouring down.

#6:They are nice people. Again, I'm not saying that all of you out there are not nice; these guys are just take nice to a whole new level. If I were competing in the contest I would go Machiavelli on these people. The $22,000 end prize would certainly justify my plan for the means of winning: sing the $5 football song hour after hour until the other contestants can't take it anymore (though I imagine a Kelly-hater alliance would form within an hour, which is when the hater-blockers would come in handy). On the other hand, the remaining nine have pulled together to get one another through this test of physical and mental fortitude. It really is one team, one fight out here right now. Interesting how everyone left has a good heart. Karma must be working her magic. 

#5:They need a strong stomach. Some of our guys were just joking about how they are looking forward to being able to use the bathroom whenever they choose. Because bathrooms are only accessible during breaks, our contestants need to have cooperative stomachs willing to adhere to our rules and timing. For the most part this has not been a problem, though we did have one glitch after eating pasta and breadsticks from CiCi's Pizza earlier in the day. We all enjoyed the warm meal--well all of us except Danny's stomach. Fortunately Mark had packed some Tums (#7) and was willing to share with the rest of the crowd (#6). 

#4:Sleeping bags. All of our remaining sitters except for Jim have what looks to be very expensive and very warm sleeping bags. Joe made out like a bandit, as he forgot to pack a sleeping bag but won a $200 Great Outdoor Provisions bag that has proven to be synthetic gold. I went to check on my peeps a bit ago and they look like a bunch of mummies--granted somewhat warm mummies.

#3:They have thick skin--both literally (to survive the cold) and figuratively (to survive the abuse they are taking on my blog). 

#2:They have nice bosses. Many people's employers would not allow them to come sit out in a stadium for a week doing basically nothing at all, but our contestants were blessed with supportive and understanding employers. Kim's boss actually owns Deacon Tower club seats and has come by daily to offer encouragement. Mark and Danny's coworkers have sent numerous emails of support. Although Mark's boss asked that we pass along a cell phone number, so Mark might have been roped into doing some work from his remote location. Danny's fellow employees plan on setting off the fire sprinkler above his desk upon his return to work so that he can relive his experiences here. I think this could backfire on his coworkers, as I can already picture Danny's Flash Dance montage featuring the water from the sprinkler and his office chair.

#1: They are crazy. I'm talking serious crazy. Dictionary.com defines crazy as a mentally deranged person, but I prefer the adjective definition: extremely enthusiastic. Whichever type of crazy you feel better suits our contestants, it has gotten them this far. To paraphrase Billy Joel, we may be right, they may be crazy, but it just may be a lunatic we're looking for.

 

3:29 a.m. - Prediction

"He's got a good constitution. And he's just plain smart." -Franklin our security guard explaining why Bob was his front-runner to win the competition.


6:00 a.m. - From the Mouths of the Sitters

Joe Parry: Thanks to everybody for your support and encouragement. Shout out to the business school.

Andrew Boyd: We're not as foolish as we look...but we are as smelly. I love my wife.

Brett Eagle: We're not smelly, we're aromatic. CAROLINA'S GOING DOWN ON SUNDAY!

Danny Coomer: Daddy will be home shortly. Don, I'll be in after I shower.

Mark and Cameron Adams: We'd like to thank everybody for all the support, texts and phone calls. And I now have a newfound respect for homeless people. I'd like to thanks to Wake Forest for giving us a chance, and to the support staff.

Jim Rhodes: This is for my wife and daughter (they wouldn't let me come home).

Bob Yakos: I'm glad it's going to be over soon.

Kim Phillips: I can't believe I did it (we can). Thank you everyone who called and came to visit, emailed, etc. Thanks for the popularity! The guys will remember the Krispey Kreme.

That's all they wrote....


6:10 a.m. - Closing Time

As the clock is winding down, things are starting to spin as anticipation for the trivia contest builds. This will be my last post until after the finale when we announce the winner. Before I head out to get things lined up for the rest of the morning, I wanted to let you know the format of the trivia contest.

We will have rounds of five questions each. If there is a tie we will move on to the next round until we only have one winner. It's simple enough, but the stakes are high.


Last Fan Sitting - Trivia is No Trivial Matter

 

 

Now that I've rested, I've edited and updated this a little so that it should make a little more sense--sorry!

Per expectations, all nine competitors made it to the 9:00 a.m. sitting deadline. With the trivia contest looming in the near future, we paused a moment for Ron Wellman to meet the contestants and to get in a couple of final photo ops with the whole group. Our sitters had told me earlier in the day that they had nothing to be nervous about because they either knew it or they didn't--regardless, I was nervous for them.

Everyone was given a piece of paper to write down answers for the first round of five questions, all of which were focused on questions about statistics. This was a serious prize and as such we needed serious questions. With the help of our media relations staff, I put a lot of thought into making questions (all questions and answers will be included in a blog later) that were challenging (but not impossible), fair and somewhat unexpected. Upon seeing the puzzled gazes before me, I knew I had at least mastered the challenging part. 

The papers were collected and I began the scoring. Naturally there was a complication. One question involved naming three of four people, and Andrew had asked: if he put down four names, but only three were correct would he still receive credit? We told him no, but Bob misunderstood my response to mean that they could put down three and guess on the fourth without penalty. As a result Bob wrote down three correct names and one that was incorrect. Based on our answer to Andrew and the group, we did not feel that we could give Bob credit for that question. To make matters worse, that question would have won him the contest. On the first round Bob had answered either one or two questions correctly, three other contestants had succeeded in getting one accurate answer, and the rest were completely stumped. When answering Andrew's question, I was probably clear as mud, and felt absolutely horrible for Bob. My stomach sunk like the Titanic; however, I felt firmly confident in our decision, so the contest must go on.

Thus Danny, Brett, Andrew and a somewhat disgruntled (but rightfully so) Bob moved on to the second round, while we had to give our condolences to the rest of the group. At first scoring of the second round it appeared that Danny, Andrew and Bob had all only answered two questions correctly, with Brett falling out of the race. However just in the nick of time I remembered that I had given the contestants a little margin of error on one of the questions. Taking this into account meant that Andrew and Bob had in fact successfully answered three of the five questions.

And then there were two. (Drumroll please) Round 3, which was centered on questions about our coaching staff, would likely determine the Last Fan Sitting Contest. I felt as if you could cut the suspense with a knife as Geoff Lassiter brought the papers to me to be scored. Andrew and Bob both looked calm even amidst the media frenzy and tense atmosphere. Both did well in this category, but Bob decisively won answering four of the five questions correctly. All of the other contestants were gracious in defeat as they immediately turned to congratulate Bob, who was equally gracious in victory. After the contestants had some time with one another, the Winston-Salem paparazzi wanted to get their hands on Bob. Ironcally, our "Silent Bob" turned out to be quite the wordsmith, answering with grace, emotion and his trademark authenticity. Bob revealed that he had done this all for his three young sons and even got a little choked up--along with thre rest of us. 

Bob selected his Football Seat Rights and season ticket location on the spot. His wife and two of his sons came over to check out their new digs at BB&T Field. Bob's older son of about three came into the stadium and burst into tears. I think this was caused by one of two things: he was unhappy with Bob's choice of seats, or I just have that effect on children. My money is on the latter. 

The other nine didn't leave empty handed, as Ron Wellman announced that they'd receive tickets to the Carolina game this weekend. Andrew, for his second place finish (or first-runner-up as us optimists like to refer to it), also earned free football season tickets for next year. 

Since I've now gone well over 30 hours without sleep, I apologize if this posting is not totally coherent. Check back later tonight, when I hope to post a little more about the contest, the trivia questions and answers, thank yous and a message to the final nine.


Last Fan Sitting - Trivia Questions

Thursday, January 8 - 10:40 p.m. - Trivia Questions

Good morning Wake Forest Nation! I finally woke up to a text from my mom telling me she had finally beat "I want to rock and roll all night" on expert (seriously Mom, you rock!), and after a deep sleep I'm ready to wrap up this blog and get some much-needed closure with the contest. Now for the much-anticipated posting of the trivia questions:

Round 1 Questions - Statistics

1. According to the 2008 Wake Forest team statistics for all games, in which of the following categories did the Deacons have more than their opponents (circle all that apply): Scoring, Rushing Yardage, Passing Yardage, Total Offense

2. How many field goals did Sam Swank convert in 2008?

3. How many total tackles did Aaron Curry make in 2008?

4. Four Wake Forest players other than Riley Skinner threw at least one pass during the 2008 season. Name three of them.

5. While Alphonso Smith led the team with seven interceptions, what Deacon had the most interception return yards?

 

Round 2 Questions - Wake Forest Players

6. The 2008 Wake Forest squad had five players from Winston-Salem. Name two of them.

7. Quarterback Riley Skinner has the most wins as a starting quarterback in school history. To date, how many career wins does he have?

8. Defensive tackle Ramon Booi was the heaviest player on the 2008 team. What is his weight, as listed in the media guide (within 5 pounds)?

9. Considered one of the top cornerbacks in the ACC, Alphonso Smith is from what Florida town?

10. In 2008 Wake Forest had three sets of brothers on the football team. Name one of the pairs.

 

Round 3 Questions - Wake Forest Coaches

11. Coach Jim Grobe just completed his eighth season with the Deacs, but prior to Wake Forest he coached at Ohio University. What is Ohio's mascot?

12. Early in his career, Wake Forest defensive back coach Tim Billings worked primarily with special teams at Marshall University. One of his players at Marshall led Division 1-AA in kickoff returns in 1996. Name this current NFL superstar.

13. Offensive coordinator Steed Lobotzke earned his degree from the Air Force Academy in what academic discipline?

14. After graduating from Wake Forest in 2004, former player Brad White took a two-year hiatus to work in what industry before returning as a graduate assistant to help coach the defense?

15. Who is the only member of the coaching staff (not including graduate assistants) that graduated from Wake Forest?

 

Round 4 Questions - Anything Goes (This round was not needed, but just FYI)

16. What is the student to faculty ratio at Wake Forest?

17. Who was the first president of Wake Forest College?

18. What years did the Wake Forest men's golf team win back-to-back national championships?

19. Name the daughter of R.J. Reynolds who donated about 350 acres when the college moved to Winston-Salem in 1956.

20. What was the final score of the Eagle Bank Bowl?

 

SPOILER ALERT - Round 1 Answers

1. Scoring YES, Rushing Yardage NO, Passing Yardage YES, Total Offense YES

2. 11 field goals

3. 105 tackles

4. DJ Boldin, Brett HodgesJordan Williams, and Brandon Pendergrass all threw a pass in 2008.

5. Kevin Patterson had more interception yardage.

 

SPOILER ALERT - Round 2 Answers

6. Turner Faulk, Kyle Jarret, C.J. Washington, Trip Russell, and John Stamper are all from Winston-Salem.

7. Riley currently has 26 wins as a starter.

8. Ramon Booi weighs 330 pounds (any answer between 325 and 335 is acceptable)

9. Alphonso is from Pahokee, FL.

10. 2008 Wake Forest brotheres include Matt & Christian Hartford, Hunter and Riley Hayes, and Chantz McClinin &Derricus Ellis (half-brothers).

 

SPOILER ALERT - Round 3 Answers

11. Ohio's mascot is the Bobcat.

12. Randy Moss played under Coach Billings.

13. Lobo majored in Economics.

14. Brad White worked in the Financial Industry (Banking, Investment Banking or Portfolio Management Analyst would also have been acceptable answers).

15. Tom Elrod is the only full-time coach that is a Wake alum.

 

SPOILER ALERT - Round 4 Answers

16. 10:1 students to faculty

17. Samuel Wait was the first Wake Forest president.

18. Golf won the national championship in 1974 & 1975.

19. Mary Babcock is the daughter of Reynolds who donated the land.

20. EagleBank Bowl: Wake Forest 29, Navy 19 (Go Deacs!)


The Thrill of Victory, The Agony of Defeat

Despite long, sleepless hours and a persistent ache in my calves from climbing too many stadium steps, the sitting portion of the contest had been thoroughly enjoyable for me. In fact, even though I had scheduled in a catnap on Wednesday afternoon, I couldn't sleep because of my excitement and desire to get back out with the final nine sitters at BB&T Field. I know I sound like a broken record when I keep exalting our contestants for their unwavering character, but the display of sportsmanship and genuine goodwill had the unexpected side-effect of impacting me personally. As a result, the seemingly simple trivia portion of the contest was nothing short of excruciating.

The trivia contest generated a whirlwind of activity, and everything around me seemed to be going 90 miles per hour. I was trying my best to keep up with the Speedy Gonzales pace and ensure a fair ending to this marathon contest, but my brain and my heart were in two different places. I'm rarely at a loss for words (as you have likely deduced after reading this overly-verbose blog), but when the time came for me to announce those who had been eliminated, I simply did not know what to say.

While I knew that the show must go on, I just wanted to cry. What made it worse was that, true to form, none of the competitors showed any signs of disappointment, spite, bitterness, scorn, regret, or anything remotely negative. The only person suffering from the agony of defeat was me.

I was on an emotional roller coaster, and fortunately what goes up must come down (and vice versa). Thankfully, the contest ended relatively quickly, and we were able to announce Bob as the winner. Someone else did this because I still didn't trust myself to accurately say his last name. While Bob didn't turn another cartwheel in celebration of his victory, his face said it all. Bob had entered this contest for his three young sons, and I know later on in life they will realize that this is probably the best present their Dad could ever give them because it is wrapped in four days worth of dedication. During his rounds of interviews, Bob spoke to the unity of the group, and promised to offer his tickets to his fellow sitters any time he or his family members couldn't make a game. 

After all the interviews and most of the other contestants had said their farewells, Bob and I met at the bottom of section 3. He said nothing but gave me a hug that brought tears to my eyes. Not to be a Monday morning quarterback, but our athletic department staff had been making predictions on who would win it all, and Bob had been my sleeper pick from early on. For some reason congratulations didn't seem enough to capture the moment, so rather I told Bob that he had been my boy from the start. With a smile he said, "I know." No other words were needed.

Ah, the thrill of victory.


Last Fan Sitting - You all are CRAAAAAAAAAAAAZY!

This contest has been my entire life for the past for days, and I need some closure. I want to shout words of praise for the final nine from the mountaintops, but since it doesn't look like Wake Forest will pay the bill for me to climb Everest, this blog posting will have to suffice.

To Mark and Cameron Adams: You guys are intense--but more importantly you are dedicated. And not just to the Deacs, but in all aspects of life, as was exemplified by your counter-intuitive attempt to get Austin to stay for the remainder of the contest. If the competition had been Last Fan Standing, I have no doubt the two of you would have won. I also find it very impressive that you, as father and son, made it through this competition together. A lot of parents and college kids couldn't stand to be around one another for more than an hour, not to mention 4 days. This contest speaks wonders about your relationship, and I'm guessing helped fortify it even more. 

To Kim Phillips: I'm not typically one to glorify "girl power"--but girl, you've got the power! Not only that, you've got more friends than the Quakers. And you have good reason for this. Your infectious laugh never gets old and your endearing personality puts everyone around you in a good mood. Thanks for doing such a great job in all of your interviews. Being the lone lady of the group, you had more than your fair share of media attention, but you delivered marvelously ever time. Based on calls and emails I have received, a lot of people were pulling for you to win it all. I can't think of anyone who would have done a better job representing all of us women out there.

To Jim Rhodes: While you don't talk much Jim, I think that is likely because you are the most sane one of the group. I know you wanted to bring this prize home to your wife as a present, but I hope that she realizes that you have given her a far more valuable gift. You have endured rain and wind and cold and me for four days, all in a selfless act for the woman you love. This is a rare example of true modern-day chivalry. Your wife is a very lucky woman.

To Brett Eagle: Your mom already has Football Seat Rights, so I'm wondering if, for you, this contest more about the journey than the destination. Regardless of your motivations, I feel confident this has been an experience you will never forget. I've thoroughly enjoyed your wit, even those stinging remarks sent in my direction. And yes, I enjoy your dancing as well. If the Marketing Department ever decides to make the Naz-T Deacon a double act, you will be the best candidate for the job. We owe you a warm salmon dinner, so don't be a stranger.

To Joe Parry: "Say it ain't so, Joe"--I really thought you had a stellar chance to go the distance. I'm not sure whether you realized it, but you were definitely a leader of the group. Your were impenetrable to fatigue, and your constant demonstration of strength brought courage to the other competitors. Best of luck with finishing up your MBA. Let me know what you end up doing; I want to invest in whatever lucky company ends up hiring you. If you are even half as determined in your professional life as you are to the Deacs, you are going to be very successful.

To Danny Coomer: Prior to the competition, I was a little nervous about your participation. I had heard that you were an avid poster on the message boards; thus, I knew that even the tiniest glitch would be brutally analyzed. As somewhat of a perfectionist, I'm not sure I would have been able to muster the beating of a dead horse that would have ensued had the contest flopped in any way. However, meeting you has been a joy. I think you might be the craziest of us all, but in my mind that's not such a bad thing. Normal is overrated. Your love and pride for your son is inspiring, and he's incredibly fortunate to have you as a father. Now that we're tight, next time you want to take pictures of our stadium or construction projects, please call me rather than running around under the cover of night. I'll be happy to give you a tour any time.

To Andrew Boyd: Our soul man, you definitely were the person to credit for the fabric of generous spirit and team unity that blanketed this contest. You were without a doubt the spiritual leader of the group. We now all know one another "intimately", and this is largely due to your effort in banding the group together as one team with one fight. Although I have never seen you spread the good Word, based on the way you kept the faith alive among our sitters at BB&T Field, I can say with confidence that you are very good at your job.

To Bob Yakos: Even though you don't fish, I hope you realize that I'm going to call you Fisher Bob from here to eternity. Your succinct demeanor must be rubbing off on me because, despite there being so much to say, I can't find the appropriate words. All I know is that you are a good man Bob, and nobody deserves this prize more than you.


 

Last Fan Sitting - Last Blog Posting: Many Thanks

I want to preempt my thanking with a quick disclaimer stolen from every Oscar speech ever written: So many people have helped make this possible that I want to apologize in advance if I forget to thank someone.

On to the thank-fest. First, I want to thank Wake Forest and the Athletic Department. On paper this is a ridiculous idea with trouble written all over it. We appreciate Ron Wellman's faith in our abilities and encouragement of our creativity. I'd also like to send a shout out to Carter Cook in the legal department for working with us to make this event a reality, as well as Bill Applegate and all of the EMS staff that made this a truly safe competition of endurance.

Thanks to all of the Deacon Club and Marketing Department staff members who helped staff out the contest--and a special exclamation of gratitude goes out to Mike Piscetelli, Josh Cox, and Paul Kennedy, who had to work the graveyard shifts. Also, thanks to Gregg Boyles and Ken Anderson for ensuring all the workings of Bridger and the Tower so that we could accommodate our staff and sitters during breaks.

We had to feed our sitters on a beer budget, and because of ISP's Derek Morel we were able to fill bellies early and often. Thanks to Quiznos, McDonalds, Lowes Foods, Papa Johns, and my buddy Mark from Pulliam's Hot Dogs for keeping our contestants fueled. We also appreciate the generosity of Great Outdoor Provisions, who donated a prize worth several hundred dollars for one of the mini-contests. Village Tavern and Catered Affairs also delivered on the prize front, and we thank you.

I want to thank my boyfriend for not only putting up with me ignoring you, but also coming by to bring the sitters ducks. Andrew told me this morning he wouldn't have made it through the night without his Aflac duck.

A plethora of other people have helped make this a special event, including: our videographer and trivia emcee Dave Goran; Scott and Steve at Capture Value PR; all of the news channels and especially the camera men who bore the cold with us in order to cover the event; JO, Russ, Gary and Joe for helping me get the webcam up and running; Coach Grobe and Dino for coming bright and early to kick off the contest; and our faithful Show Pro security guards. 

Another thanks goes out to all of you out there who already have Football Seat Rights and/or Deacon Tower seats. Your support has enabled Wake Forest to build a football program worthy of avid fans who will do just about anything for the Deacs. 

Finally, I'd like to thank all of you blog readers out there. I hope you've had half as much fun reading my musings as I've had writing my first ever blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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