With a large fan base for Tigers, Cowboys, Saints and Bulldogs in Shreveport-Bossier City, more than a few residents are heaving a sigh of relief that football is right around the corner. Although several fans wait drudgingly for the boys of fall to take the field each year, a few fans keep the spirit of their teams alive no matter what season.
Melody Polk is teaching more than just arithmetic and reading to her second grade students at Platt Elementary School.
For the past three of the seven years Polk has taught at Platt, she has decorated her classroom to exhibit her adoration of her alma mater, Louisiana Tech University, to her students. Polk even had Miss LA Tech recently come visit her classroom to read to her students and of course teach them the infamous bulldog sign.
Polk was raised in a family of die-hard LA Tech fans who attend every home football game and continued the family legacy by not only receiving her undergraduate and master’s degrees from the university, but also marrying the now-LA Tech hockey coach. The couple takes their young daughter to every LA Tech hockey game along with several home football games, and nicknamed her “the littlest Tech fan.”
When asked how to describe what LA Tech means to her, Polk’s response was, “I have this sweatshirt – my favorite sweatshirt – with a picture of Louisiana, and it has a heart around Ruston with ‘feels like home to me,’” said Polk. “That’s what the city of Ruston and LA Tech are for us. It will always be in our hearts.”
Since Dr. Ike House’s first Louisiana State University football game, he knew LSU was more than just a school.
Although House can rarely be seen without purple and gold (he even has a crown on his tooth with LSU colors), he admits he didn’t convert to being a Tiger until his first football game as a student.
House moved from Texas to Louisiana as a child and remained loyal to Texas football until the time came for him to choose where to further his education. Because LSU had one of the top dental schools at the time, House made the decision to receive his undergraduate degree from LSU as well, but stubbornly refused to become an LSU football fan.
When the first home football game of the season rolled around, House had plans to remain in his dorm room and study, but peer pressure and the roaring sounds coming from the stadium drove him to the stands.
The game was against Nebraska, ranked No. 1 in the nation. As House tells the tale, “it was unheard of to come close to beating Nebraska – but we did.” The final score of the game was 6-6.
“I had never been to anything like that before,” said House. “From then on I knew I was going to be at every game.”
But for House, it has always been more than football.
“There’s a certain joy with the people at LSU,” said House. “They’re very hospitable, very friendly – even the people we don’t like. We’ll call you ‘tiger bait,’ but we’ll also share a hamburger at a tailgate.”
Bossier resident Pat Murphy has been wearing blue and white since his childhood growing up in Arkansas.
“As a young man, everyone wants to be a cowboy,” said Murphy.
After being stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base, Murphy said his love for the Dallas Cowboys grew with the large fan base he encountered in Shreveport-Bossier City, and he began frequently attending home games.
Murphy’s son grew up in the stands at Cowboy football games, and Murphy and his wife continue to go to Sunday and Monday night games. Murphy said nothing beats being in the stadium atmosphere.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” said Murphy. “You get there and everyone is cheering and carrying on – everyone is having a good time together.”
Because of Murphy’s lifelong dedication to the Cowboy franchise, he has a room set aside as his “Cowboy Man Cave.” The ‘man cave’ is complete with authentic autographed memorabilia, a collection of years of game tickets and even signed postcards addressed to Murphy from Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders.
Murphy’s wife even added her own flair to the room by designing Dallas Cowboy curtains for the windows.
“My wife – she’s a trooper,” said Murphy. “I’m fortunate she’s so cool with it. She’s goes to every game with me, and she even buys me the cheerleader calendars every year.”