Superfans: The Next Generation
BC grad feels it’s never too early to pass on the love of Eagle football to kids — and he wrote the book
ByOn fall Saturdays in Chestnut Hill,
We know the place to be.
Daddy and I are ready
To watch some football –
It’s never too early to start grooming the next generation of Boston College football devotees, believes 1992 alumnus Michael Shoule, who has published a new bedtime book for children that promises to place little Eagles on the fast track to “SuperFan” status.
The board-style reading book, My Daddy Loves Boston College Football, was developed by Shoule – a former Heights writer, BC Gridiron Club member and long-time BC season-ticket holder – when his son Nathaniel was born in January, 2007, and the first-time Dad began the time-honored paternal task of reading a bedtime story to the infant.
“I was stuck reading to him about ‘Sheep in the Jeep’ and ‘Hippos Go Beserk’ and all of those other board books,” laughs Shoule. “I thought to myself that there has got to be something better for me to read to him – and something that is not quite so repetitive for Daddy.”
Later that year, while Shoule was attending his 15-year reunion at the Heights, he checked out the Boston College Bookstore for children’s books and came up empty.
“While I was driving home to New York, I came up with the idea of a children’s board book that is about a father sharing his love of his alma mater’s football team with his son or daughter,” he says. “I brought the idea to the Collegiate Licensing Corp., got an illustrator, Arnel Reynon, worked with the BC Sports Marketing office and found a printer.”
Shoule also agreed to share profits of the book with the Boston College Campus School, where he worked as a volunteer during his junior year, and with the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism, a charitable organization founded by the former Eagle football star to help children with the same disability that affects his son.
“Activities like these make us proud to be alums,” Shoule says. My Daddy Loves Boston College Football was published this past August, and Shoule drove to campus from his home in Queens, NY, with a supply of books, arriving just in time for the kickoff of the 2009 season opener against Northeastern.
“I have gotten e-mails from so many people who are excited about this because they have children or nieces or nephews or grandchildren who are enjoying the book,” Shoule says.
Shoule has a proven history of nurturing Boston College football fans, starting with his wife Esra, a native of Istanbul, Turkey.
“Esra’s idea of football is a round black and white ball,” he says with a laugh. “As you know, soccer is a ‘religion’ in Europe. I still remember taking her to our first BC game together and how she was in shock that we would ‘allow’ fans from the opposing team into our stadium. Now she definitely is a BC fan.”
Shoule adds that first-born Nathaniel has been joined by sister Emma – born in April of 2008 – and he is reading the BC book to both of them on a regular basis. “My son is starting to pay attention to football on television,” Shoule says proudly. “Except, one day I was watching a New York Giants’ game against Philadelphia and he started clapping and yelling ‘Go Eagles!’
“We’ll get him straightened out,” the New York native says.
By the time we get home
I can hardly speak.
And Daddy and I
Start thinking about next week.
Reid Oslin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org