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What is it about sports that inspires such an intense level of devotion in its fans? It’s just a bunch of guys running around, right? Scientists have actually studied the brain activity of sports fans, discovering that watching games increases testosterone levels, makes neurons mirror players and even improves language skills. But not everything about sports fandom is positive. In this feature, we’ll spotlight ten superfans who probably take the whole thing a little too far.

Shanta Ronaldo
Sports, World's Most Obsessed Sports Fans, Crazy Obsessed Sports Fans
Soccer is starting to pick up momentum here in the United States, but over in Europe it’s by far the most popular sport. Top players are global celebrities, and few have the brand recognition of Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo. The multi-millionaire footballer has legions of fans, but none as devoted as Dutch teenager Shanta, who has taken his idol’s last name in tribute. The 17-year-old has spent thousands of dollars on multiple trips to Spain to see Ronaldo in person, got his hair cut in imitation of the player and even dresses like him.

Robin Ficker
Sports, World's Most Obsessed Sports Fans, Crazy Obsessed Sports Fans
Some fan’s aren’t content to sit on the sidelines and watch their team win or lose — they want to be part of the action. Probably the best example of all time is Washington Bullets superfan Robin Ficker, who made a name for himself as one of the most ardent hecklers of all time. Ficker was notorious for his seats behind the visitors’ bench, where he would use a small megaphone to constantly razz whoever the Bullets were playing. When the Bulls played the Bullets, for instance, Ficker would get out Phil Jackson’s autobiography and read the sex parts through his megaphone to throw the team off. This tactic was so effective that Charles Barkley actually paid to fly him to Phoenix to do it against the Bulls in the ’93 finals!

Victor Thompson
Sports, World's Most Obsessed Sports Fans, Crazy Obsessed Sports Fans
We could do a whole thing on sports fans with insane tattoos, but we’re going to cap it at one for the sake of brevity. Meet Victor Thompson. The New Hampshire man became an Internet sensation in 2008 when he got the sides of his head tattooed with the New England Patriots’ logo before the Super Bowl. In the following years, he expanded his dome art to essentially make it a replica of the Patriots’ helmets, with the Riddell logo on the front and even the little green dot that marks the wireless radio that lets a player hear the coach from the sidelines. He still hopes to get the facemask done, but Thompson gets thrown in jail a little too much for that to happen.

Clevane Gillespie
Sports, World's Most Obsessed Sports Fans, Crazy Obsessed Sports Fans
Sports fans love to decorate their houses with flags and other memorabilia to trumpet their love for the team. But Washington Redskins fan Clevane Gillespie goes balls to the wall, turning his entire front yard into a monument to the team. Gillespie, a Chesterfield County resident, started his yard art in 2012 after he mowed over one too many yellowjacket nests, and each summer he makes it even bigger and more impressive. The landscaping features a massive copy of the team logo made out of mulch and takes him about three months to complete every year.

Donna Lebano
Sports, World's Most Obsessed Sports Fans, Crazy Obsessed Sports Fans
When you talk dedication, hockey fans have it in spades. Chicago Blackhawks booster Donna Lebano’s love for her team is pretty out of control, though. In 2013, the team was playing the Minnesota Wild in a home game at the United Center when the eight-months-pregnant Lebano felt her contractions start. A normal human being would take this as their cue to get to the hospital, but Donna and her husband weren’t going anywhere until the Blackhawks took the game 5-1. Just a few hours after the game ended, she gave birth to her son Owen, and soon her and her family were back in the stands rooting for the team once more.

Tony Incenzo
Sports, World's Most Obsessed Sports Fans, Crazy Obsessed Sports Fans
Sometimes being a sports fan can actually lead you to a career. Case in point: Tony Incenzo, whose lifelong love affair with soccer resulted in a multi-decade job as a sports reporter. He’s traveled to an astounding 1,995 different soccer fields around the world for games, catching matches in bizarre places like prisons. He keeps meticulous notes on every match, storing them in his soccer shrine home. Tony’s love of the game has cost him dearly, however — he’s had girlfriends leave him because he wanted to see as many as five games in one day.

Craig Robinson
Sports, World's Most Obsessed Sports Fans, Crazy Obsessed Sports Fans
Here’s another soccer fan who has let his obsession rule his life. Craig Robinson likes the sport, sure, but what he really loves are Corinthian figures — sort of the British equivalent of bobbleheads, made in the likeness of the sport’s star players. He’s been purchasing them since he was nine years old, and his collection is truly epic. Corinthian released 5,000 unique figures, and Robinson has one of each. They’re displayed in a custom terraced shelving unit built by his father, and he’s celebrating his fandom by having the company make a custom Cornithian in his likeness.

Sudakhar
Sports, World's Most Obsessed Sports Fans, Crazy Obsessed Sports Fans
We don’t have the last name of the cricket fan this anecdote is about, but it’s so insane that it had to make it in. Cricket is huge business in India, and during the 2015 World Cup semifinals the country’s team was having a hard time with Australia. With the team down 329 runs (don’t ask, cricket is super weird), Sudakhar ran in between innings to a temple in his village of Ponneri to make an offering to the gods. While there, he decided that an appropriate offering would be his tongue, and he pulled out a knife and tried to cut it off. Thankfully, the young fan survived, but it will take years of therapy before he can speak again.

Don Martini
Sports, World's Most Obsessed Sports Fans, Crazy Obsessed Sports Fans
The New York Giants are a team that inspires a lot of loyalty in their fans, but few take it to the extreme that New Jersey grandfather Don Martini did. The retired schoolteacher had been messing with woodworking in his spare time, but nothing prepared him for a project that would take two years of his life: building an enormous scale model of Giants Stadium the size of a car. 20 feet long, 17 feet wide, with 65,000 hand-cut seats and tiny TVs in each end zone. He decided to build it after the real stadium was demolished in 2010, and it stands as a monument to football history.

Ruth Steinhagen
Sports, World's Most Obsessed Sports Fans, Crazy Obsessed Sports Fans
Let’s close this one out with a fan who took her obsession about as far as it could go: cold-blooded murder.Ruth Steinhagen was a typist for an insurance company who loved baseball — most notably, Phillies first baseman Eddie Watkus. When the team came to Chicago to play the Cubs, Steinhagen lured Watkus to her hotel room and then pulled out a rifle and shot him through the chest. He survived, and then the whole story came out: she’d fallen for the player when he played for the Cubs and then lost her mind when he got traded. She was committed to a mental institution and died in 2013.

Source

THE WORLD’S 10 MOST OBSESSED SPORTS FANS

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