The Cavalier Daily
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Superfan rouses crowd with distinctive style

Well, we have the Cavalier. Yes, and Tech has the Hokie, Duke the Blue Devil, and Ohio State has the Buckeye. Let's face it, we have just one in a sea of sporting icons, icons in which we invest the intense joy of victory and the heart-wrenching pain of defeat.

But, the University does have something uniquely its own. Rather it has someone uniquely its own who defines Cavalier fans. We have Superfan.

Superfan, otherwise known as Patrick Kelly, a second-year Engineering student, with his bright orange-and-blue soccer ball hat, painted face, bright orange socks and blue Virginia cape, is common only to us, the Wahoos. He can be found at nearly every University sporting event, including soccer, basketball, lacrosse, and, especially this season, football.

"He's the all-out crazy fan you wish everybody was," third-year College student Anne-Marie Angelo said.

Hailing from Philadelphia, this national lacrosse championship participant was as energized and eccentric in high school as he is today - except he wore a basketball instead of a soccer ball.

"I got many threats from other teams," Kelly said.

In fact, many of his friends were as fervently devoted fans of sports as he was.

"A friend of mine does the same stuff at Villanova, where he's going to college," he said.

So it was only natural for Kelly to continue his avid support of athletics here at the University.

Last year, he also performed as Superfan but, according to cheerleading coach Kelly Carter, he only cheered the Cavilers on from the stands. However, because of the overwhelmingly positive responses he received from other Wahoos, he was given exactly what he needed: a place on the field, with the cheerleaders, said Shelley McQuality, head cheerleader and fourth-year College student.

"I just like to be really stupid," Kelly said when asked about why he became Superfan.

He said he enjoys all sports, and regrets that he cannot play football.

"When the game starts, I get really into it. I want to be out there but I'm not 6'4" and 280 pounds. I'm just a skinny white guy," he said.

School pride was also a major motivating factor behind his role as the Superfan.

"The whole patriotism thing is part of it," he added.

At the very least, he's a skinny white guy with a creative imagination. The cape, he said, was originally a Georgia Tech shirt that he tore apart. All the women the soccer team signed his soccer ball, with its strange scribbles. The body paint (which requires at least half an hour to wash off) was bought at "And the Party Starts Here"; the orange socks are self-explanatory; but what's the deal with the floaties?

"I actually had a dream about the orange floaties. I had a dream where everybody [in the stands] was wearing floaties," Kelly said.

After looking everywhere, he finally found them on clearance during CVS's end-of-summer sale.

"The Tech fans were really slow picking up," he said, on what is already becoming one of our newest football traditions - wearing the orange floaties.

Although most responses from Wahoo fans have been positive, he has also received a few negative comments.

"We've gotten a lot of flack from older alumni," Carter said.

Kelly, however, laughed off the criticism.

"I don't really care. It's because I'm on the field [and appear] non-traditional," he said.

Most students feel the same way, such as first-year College student Annie Gill, who echoed the thoughts of many students.

"He's kind of eccentric but funny," Gill said.

Whether loved or hated, Superfan is quickly adding original flavor to our unique Cavalier culture.

"The Cavalier is the symbol, but he's the student that really supports us on the field," second-year College student Amel Chabbin said.

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