Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Story Behind "Big Lo" [J. Mark English]

Walked into work today and my boss had a present for me: a one of a kind "Big Lo" Super Action Figure. Apparently he resembles my likeness.

As it turns out not only is "Big Lo" an action figure but he is a real person. Lorin Sandretzky is a resident of Seattle, and is big time sports fan.
Les Carpenter wrote an article about him recently for the Seattle Times in January of 2005:
It is a snowy night at Boeing Field, and Big Lo stands in the parking lot with a shovel in his hand. Before him, under the icy drifts, sits a fleet of elegant automobiles belonging to the Seattle Sonics. In an hour the team plane will land and the players will all spill out, tired, ready to go home. By then he figures he can have their cars shoveled, their windshields cleaned.
He won't ask for money. He doesn't want money. This is his duty as a fan. At 6 feet 8 and 470 pounds, Lorin "Big Lo" Sandretzky is bigger than the players he's waiting for. If you ask him, he will produce a business card proclaiming himself "Seattle's Biggest Sports Fan."
Who would argue? Nobody else would be out there. The wind howls, the temperature is 29 degrees, and as usual, Big Lo has made it to the airport before the team plane. He has been waiting for the planes as long as any of the players can remember. He's there when they leave as well — a one-man farewell committee in green and gold, waving signs, wishing them well.
"Maybe people think it's cuckoo, but I want to support these guys," Big Lo says. "It's just something I do because I don't want them slipping on their butts and breaking an ankle. I guess it's because I care."
There isn't a major pro sports team in town that doesn't have Big Lo waiting for it at the gate. The Mariners grew so accustomed to seeing him at the end of trips that former manager Lou Piniella once used him in a speech after a disastrous loss in Cleveland, imploring them the next day, "Come on, we don't want to let down the Big Fella."
Big Lo goes to every Seahawks game, leaning over the front rail behind the goalpost, waving a piece of a picket fence in one hand and three-foot high letters "SEA" in the other.
"SEA" fence.
Big Lo is also at every Sonics game. He sits in the third row right behind the north basket, wearing the same green jersey with gold sleeves because he thinks it brings good luck.
"He doesn't ask for anything. He's there to support you and he's there to encourage you," Sonics coach Nate McMillan says. "He's one guy who's all about the Sonics. Then I saw him at a Seahawks game and I said 'Are you all about the Seahawks, too?' He's all about Seattle sports."