Tennis Prose



A Hired Sports Fan Story

As told by former NHL All Star defenseman Barry Beck…

So if you ever wonder if tennis engages in the business of hired fans and or hecklers, consider this story…

My first year in Colorado the team brought in “Krazy George” from Oakland to help out the fan base and generate interest in pro hockey (Colorado Rockies were relocated from Kansas City by the National Hockey League).

His real name is George Henderson and he got interested in hockey by going to the Oakland Seals games.

Colorado Rockies then-president Munson Campbell knew George from Oakland and hired him to do the Rocky games.

I became good friends with George throughout our time in Colorado and had dinner with him on several occasions. The energy was always there even at dinner. He could wear you out by the time dessert came.

George was also hired by my hometown British Columbia Lions and Vancouver Whitecaps.

I was at a Whitecap game sitting on an aisle seat with dear friend and fellow Templeton grad Don McKenny when George came up the aisle beating his drum, looked at me, did a double take then yelled out “Bubba!” and jumped in my arms.

He was famous for his game time entrances.

The fans would get excited to see which new way he would come into the stadium.

On one occasion it was by parachute. Another time he flew in by helicopter.

My favourite was when the doors opened up at the corner of the Northwest end and you could hear the rumble of Harley’s outside. In came the bikers with George on the back of one of them looking like Jack Nicholson from Easy Rider.

They stopped behind the opposing teams bench and started doing burnouts on the rubber running track. The fans were cheering with excitement as smoke bellowed out behind the bikes. Needless to say security wasn’t too happy as the bikes made their way around the stadium to the delight of the crowd.

George was the first one to start “the wave” which he initiated at Colorado games. I don’t think he knew how big it would become. He also did a lot of charity work with different local organizations.

When it was time for our team awards night in Colorado my rookie year the announcer said, “And winner of the fan favorite award is?”

I looked at teammate Randy Pierce and said, “Damn, got to be Krazy George!”

George paved the way for many to follow. Most games you will see some fan trying to get the crowd going. They have a long way to go to compete with George.

Carota Boys, Hrbaty’s Long Island kids at US Open, J Block (James Blake), The Samurais (Sam Querrey), Genie’s Army, Davis Cup super fans, surely there’s been some hired super fans like Krazy George in tennis. And also for sure, some hired hecklers too.

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