Welcome to the refreshed Hustle Belt! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts [http://www.hustlebelt.com/fanposts] to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card [contest rules]. We’re collecting all of the stories here [https://www.sbnation.com/why-we-are-fans] and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!
For me, being a fan of the Ball State Cardinals was a gift from birth. Not because I was born holding a Jason Whitlock jersey or an autographed Bill Lynch photo, but because my parents had the wisdom to send me to BSU for college. Parents are funny that way, sometimes. They know what’s best for you before you do. When I came to campus for the first time, I fell in love. And that love affair has continued for the better part of 15 years or so.
College was admittedly more about
books tests classes fun rather than sports, but sports did play a significant part. Between the tailgates, the taunting, and the tomfoolery that followed a group of 50 or so fraternity guys with the most ardent groupthink and poor decisions possible, Cardinal athletics was a common bond that colored our time together. (Sidenote: The current set up of visiting teams on the opposite sideline of the student section was because of us. Apparently, after several letters of complaint to the MAC because of fan behavior, they were switched. I’d like to apologize. But that would be hollow. I’m not sorry. And I can never lie to you guys.)
It hasn’t always been easy being a Ball State fan. There were not so great years. There were hard years. There were Ronnie Thompson years. There were years were Cardinal football was the butt of multiple jokes with the nation’s longest losing streak. But the highs were so awesome!
There was a Maui Classic run where Kansas and UCLA met the wrath of the Cardinals. There was the magical undefeated 2008 in football. There was the women’s SHOOTYHOOPS upset of Tennessee. It’s a love affair that has had it’s share of ups more than downs, and really, that’s all you could ask for.
They say that being a fan of a MAC program is hard. And at times it is. But unlike your run of the mill P5 program, the successes are that much sweeter when they happen. We aren’t spoiled fans. We don’t grumble when we ONLY make the Sweet 16. Fans of Ball State (or any other MAC program) are perhaps the last true fan out there who celebrates the love of the game and the stories of the athletes, coaches, and fans who make college sports so much fun.
I can’t imagine being a fan of another program. Ball State made me who I am and I’ll take my Cardinal affection to my grave. But my story is not unique. We all have them. And the great thing about SBNation and Hustle Belt is that you are just as important as our authors and leadership. Our community is fan-driven and fan-led and we want to hear your side of things as well. Share your story of “Why I’m a Fan” here.
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