MARQUETTE, Mich. (WZMQ) – It’s easy to find die hard fans of every sports team around the country but one NMU Wildcat fan has taken her support of the team farther than just cheering from the sideline.
Since 1999 NMU has played over 100 home football games. Kathy Andel has been in the same spot rooting for the Wildcats at every single one.
“I’ve not missed a home football game in all that time,” remarked Andel.
Andel became a wildcat fan to support her son, who at the time was a student assistant for the team, she says watching the games was a fun thing to look forward to but the more games she went to, the more attached she became to the players. She would chat with the students after practices and games. She took an interest in students who came from other countries, partly because she could relate to them.
“They are away from home, and when I was in the army I was sent to Germany, so I know what it is like to be away from family and friends, so we just started doing things together.
Over the last 2 decades Andel has hosted athletes for dinner, holidays, and birthday parties. She even makes sure players are getting their weekly prayers in.
“One day she asked me do you want to come to church, and from that day I went every Sunday,” added Tommaso Lami, an Italian soccer player at Northern.
It’s clear to see the love Andel has for the athletes, and the love they have for her. As players leave the field from practice there is a line 20 deep to pay respects and get a grandmotherly hug from “Grandma Kathy.”
Andel needs a walker and oxygen tank to get around the stadium. But no matter what it takes Andel says she will continue to come to games and support the green and gold as long as she can.
“When I die they can bring my casket here and put me [the Superior Dome],” laughed Andel.
Andel will be crossing an item off her bucket list Saturday when she performs with the NMU Marching Band on the field. Andel will take the field for the national anthem before the Wildcats face off against Wayne State. Kickoff is set for 1pm at the Superior Dome.