Attention, struggling actors: after a strike-depleted awards season, even those who make a living as professional seat fillers felt the economic burn. What other novelty jobs might be out there for aspiring performers drawn to the absurd? Why, how about "professional superfan":
Cameron Hughes is his team's biggest fan. Depending on his mood, he might pull off one of the multiple team jerseys he wears and spin it wildly in the air, scream at the top of his lungs, and exhort fellow supporters to do the same. Or he might pull an old lady from her seat and dance her through the arena.
A big, imposing redhead with energy to burn, Hughes is a traveling "superfan," paid by team owners to whip the crowd into a frenzy, create some fun, and generally manufacture team spirit for the locals.
Baseball teams like the Toronto Blue Jays and the Los Angeles Dodgers pay him an average of $2,000 a game to do his thing, as do N.B.A. teams like the L.A. Lakers and New Orleans Hornets and N.H.L. teams like the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs. All told, he works about 80 to 90 major- and minor-league games a year, and difficult as it may be to believe, Hughes makes a comfortable six-figure salary just by being a crazy sports fan.
That's right: the loud dude sporting the Memphis Grizzlies ballcap (and exhorting everyone to "Put your paws together!") might be faking it. It's not even the money that hurts — it's the loss of innocence. If we can't trust our over-invested sports fans, who can we trust? Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, sports-addled douchebags... is there nothing left we can believe in?