February 23, 2011
The Men Behind The Masks
If you’ve ever been to a Lake Erie College home basketball game, you’ve probably seen the craziest fans in all of the GLIAC. They certainly aren’t thousands strong, hundreds strong, or even multiples of ten strong, but the Lake Erie College handful of hecklers are a strong nuisance to opposing teams.
They are all seniors, and from behind their super-hero masks, have seen Lake Erie College sports grow from Division III competitors to Division II power-conference challengers. Who are these masked wonders? They are Business Administration and Sports Management Majors Scott Given and Andy Kurzinger; and Marketing and Spanish Minor Alex Royko.
Scott, Andy and Alex have been supporting the Storm since they were freshman, but their tradition started as sophomores when Kurzinger wanted a mask to hide his face while yelling. He explained, “A friend bought [the mask] on clearance after Halloween and I thought it’d be hilarious, so I figured I’d wear it to that one game.” That one game happened to be against then 8th ranked California (PA), and the Storm pulled off the stunning upset in their first year of Division II competition.
Throughout the years, the Storm fans have been a consistent presence, but have yet to be considered a “hostile” crowd. While some fans support the trio and other despise them, these gentlemen have done their best to infuse energy to a crowd like no other at a small school. However, inexplicably, this year has seen a dip in student fan support, and Given commented, “We really encourage students, faculty and staff as a whole to support our athletic teams; aside from us and the “Speedo Squad”, the energy to build is infinite.”
Thursday night (Feb. 24) will be the last time this group of seniors gets together for a crazy night of basketball, and they hope to see a good turnout, as it will be senior night for the players as well. Royko commented, “I’d like to see our LEC fans be as energetic here, rooting for their classmates, as they are watching a game on TV. I hope the fans will continue to support the way we do in years to come.”
Thursday night’s game will be a “Blackout”, and fans should wear black to show their support. The game will take place at Jerome T. Osborne Family Athletic & Wellness Center at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. for the men’s and women’s games, respectively. Admission is free for LEC students.