Upon walking into Boston College’s Alumni Stadium or Conte Forum on game day, you will be greeted by a sea of screaming fans in bright gold tee-shirts. Two decades ago, however, this wasn’t the case. The tradition of the Super Fan shirts began in 1998 when BC juniors Chris Millette and Jeff Bridge felt that something needed to be done to boost school spirit at games. In a letter to The Heights, Chris and Jeff described their frustration with the lack of enthusiasm at games. When they tried to start cheers and ignite some enthusiasm, the seated, quiet fans told them to sit down. At the time, it was “cool” to remain calm and composed at the games rather than getting rowdy.
However, these two students were frustrated that they couldn’t cheer for their teams in the same way that fans cheered at games on ESPN. In response, they came up with the idea to create gold Super Fan shirts that BC students could wear to games and fuel up the crowd.
“Our concept was simple – just make everyone in the same shirt,” Chris explained. In matching gold shirts, “the mob effect would take over and people wouldn’t be worried about standing out.” Their idea to sell these gold shirts finally came to fruition during their senior year with the help of UGBC and the Athletic Department. In their letter to The Heights, they motivated students by saying:
“Think how intimidating it will be for other teams to come to Alumni Stadium or into Conte Forum and see a sea of gold. Think about students screaming and yelling, helping BC and distracting the opponent. Think about those people watching ESPN and saying, ‘Wow, look at how crazy the fans are at BC.’ Think about years from now when this becomes a tradition. It will be known all over – BC kids wear gold…and go nuts.” (10/5/1998)
Jeff and Chris ordered 500 shirts for an upcoming hockey game at UNH with the slogan “Whatever It Takes”: a message that they wanted to communicate to their fans, but also their motivational slogan to accomplish their own goal. After the UNH game, the BC football team had a night game against Virginia Tech. At this point, news of the “Gold Rush”, as Jeff and Chris dubbed it, had begun to spread. “We had the box of shirts in our dorm room and people were literally knocking on our door all day looking for shirts,” Chris described.
Over the course of fifteen years, this relatively small vision has become a reality. It is just as they said: a tradition of Super Fans. Today, each grade has its own slogan, which is as much a way to identify grades as it is to make new friends and build class unity. Freshmen are given their Super Fan shirt at summer orientation and there is perhaps nothing more exhilarating than the first football game of the season. Fans stand on the bleachers and scream the same cheers year after year, celebrating each touchdown by singing “For Boston.” In a sea of gold sea, we are one. We are BC.