It’s a bird! It’s a plane! IT’S SUPERFAN!

Its a bird! Its a plane! ITS SUPERFAN!

Kate Immergluck

The stadium rumbles with the student section’s spirited stomping. It’s last year’s Homecoming, double overtime and third down. All Decatur needs is a field goal to secure a Cinderella-story victory over Blessed Trinity (BT).

As junior Nathan Tumperi lines up to kick, the fans chant and cheer with unrestrained roars of pride. With the whole school watching, he feels the weight of the game on his shoulders.

“The fans definitely made it easier,” he said. “The other team was trying to distract me, and our fans were cheering me on.”

He remembers one BT player doing jumping jacks right in front of him, but Decatur fans kept him focused.

“They snap it, I kick it, and I thought I was going to miss because it was so close, but then it went in, and everyone stormed the field,” Tumperi said. “They picked me up and everything.”

The fans did indeed storm the field, swarming the players with whoops and shouts of Decatur pride. That is until the whistle blew, and the referee called offsides against Decatur.

“I was ready to go to the locker room. I thought we had won, and then the whole team is back on the field,” Tumperi said. “Coach Jackson was like, ‘you gotta go kick it again.’ I was like ‘wha-what?’”

His teammates did their best to pump him up.

“They kept on hitting my helmet and saying, ‘you got this’ and stuff, and it really doesn’t help because then I just go out there with a concussion,” Tumperi said with a laugh.

But the sound of cheering fans got his head in the game and ready to play. Tumperi sent the ball sailing to victory for the second time.

Junior Art Enloe and sophomore Pete Sass were among those fans. Enloe and Sass might even be considered Decatur superfans.

“I just go to the games and go ham. Give ‘em the ‘D,’” Enloe said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

For Sass, being a fan is also about participating in extracurriculars.

“It’s just a fun way to get involved with school activities because I’m not really a part of clubs outside of baseball,” Sass said. “I want to just make the most of my high school [experience] by supporting my friends [and] just getting involved in their sports.”

Sass tries to be his friends’ biggest fan because he knows they support him, too. Enloe agreed with him but jokingly added, “half the time, it’s to not do homework.”

In all seriousness, though, Enloe believes that fans can make the magic happen.

“Decatur is a unifying thing, and when we all get together and cheer for one another, great things can happen,” he said.

Once at a home baseball game against Tucker, Enloe said Decatur turned a slow start around and “destroyed” them.

As a fan, Enloe believes that games like those make going worthwhile. Just by being there, shouting from the stands, he feels like a part of the game.

“I was there in spirit, you know, cheering for them,” he said. “That’s why I like rooting for people.”

For both Enloe and Sass, “rooting for people” is a hobby, but for one UGA basketball fan, it’s a passion. Jesse Kenney has attended almost every single home game over the last 27 years.

He’s UGA basketball’s own celebrity fan.

“I consider myself a die-hard Georgia basketball fan,” he said. “I love it.”

Kenney was born and raised in Kentucky, where he said, “basketball is king.” As he grew up, the sport had a special place in his heart. But he didn’t start sporting the red and black until later.

“When I moved to Georgia, I started going to the games and got hooked on it,” he said.   

Even though Kenney found his passion a few decades ago, he wasn’t recognized as a “die-hard” fan until 15 years later, when he started wearing the same red sweater to every game. Since then, he has been dubbed “The Sweater Man.”

FOX5 heard about “The Sweater Man” and did a report on him in February of this year. One fan told the reporter, “he brings me joy every game.”

This year, at the UGA vs. Auburn game, the fans showed their appreciation for all the joy Kenney has brought over the years by advertising a red T-shirt with the sweater’s design on it.

Kenney said the promotion got a lot bigger than he expected.

Over 2,000 students came to the game wearing the shirt.

A few students even made a Twitter account for him, and by the next day, there were tons of tweets saying things like, “wow we love the sweater man,” “OMG YES” and “I AM DOING SO MANY JUMPING JACKS RIGHT NOW!”

Even in the sea of red and black, you can still spot “The Sweater Man” doing jumping jacks after every basket, cheering on his team.

Decatur has its own long-time superfan, too. While FOX5 never did a story on Doc Fowlkes, he founded the booster club, coached teams, worked on fields and cheered on the sidelines his whole life.

He “just always loved the games,” his wife Gwen Fowlkes said.

He loved the way sports brought people together. Gwen remembers one Saturday in particular she and Fowlkes went to a baseball game to watch their two youngest sons, Jimmy and David.

“It was sleeting – the ground was frozen, but our whole family was there to watch Jimmy and David play,” Gwen said. “Everyone was bundled up walking around with blankets around them, and somebody walked up and said, ‘this is really what you call togetherness, family togetherness.’”

Sports are a family affair for the Fowlkes. Their four sons, Jimmy, David, Eddie and Buddy, played sports throughout high school, and their daughter Lynn was a cheerleader and a swimmer.

David coached baseball at the University of West Georgia for almost 30 years, and Doc and Gwen were always in the stands, cheering for the West Georgia Wolves.

“We went to all the out-of-town conference games, rain, shine, sleet or snow,” Gwen said.

Inside their home, there are pieces of Doc and Gwen’s life together hanging in picture frames and sitting on the mantel.

A baseball bat from the years David played minor league baseball hangs above a door frame. A baseball that all of Doc’s children and grandchildren signed for his 80th birthday perches on the mantel. On the dining room table sits a stack of papers, 1 ½ inches high, from when Doc sat down and hand wrote “the mathematics of baseball.”

“It was ball, ball, ball, ball, ball, ball, ball. We’ve been to a lot of ball games,” Gwen said with a laugh. “It was fun.”

Doc and Gwen were married for 68 and ½ years when he passed away from an aortic dissection on Feb. 24 of this year.

“He said, ‘I feel like I’m going to pass out,’ and he dropped his head . . . and he was gone. That was it,” Gwen said. “He barely got the sentence out of his mouth.”

Moments before that, he was in the stands, cheering for the Decatur girl’s basketball team in the state quarterfinals. Gwen remembers him saying how happy he was that so many student fans were supporting their team.

“[It’s a blessing] that he was at the game, doing what he loved to do,” Gwen said. “The only place that would have been better would have been on the baseball field, and he would’ve been in the third-base coaching box.”

That night, the community came together one last time for Doc Fowlkes.

“Everybody was so kind,” Gwen said. “I was saying [when we got in the ambulance], ‘but our car is parked out there,’ and [an officer] said, ‘don’t you worry about that car because the whole police force will know not to bother it.’”

Decatur loved Doc Fowlkes, and he loved Decatur.

“He loved sports, and he loved the young people,” Gwen said.

He really was Decatur’s number one superfan.