|ESPN.com: Page 2||[Print without images]|
Tom Ables has watched his beloved San Diego State Aztecs play football everywhere from Miami to Seattle.
He's watched them play in Ann Arbor, Mich., and Columbus, Ohio. He's watched them play in Honolulu and Tokyo. The list goes on and on.
Ables is set to watch the Aztecs play for the 700th time Saturday, albeit in a setting slightly less storied and glamorous: Laramie, Wyo.
"They say Laramie isn't the end of the world," Ables said with a laugh. "But you can see it from there."
Ables should know. It's his 16th trip to Laramie to see the Aztecs play. It also will mark the 530th consecutive SDSU game he's attended, dating to October 1964. He's missed just two Aztecs games since enrolling at San Diego State in 1946: a road game at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo due to illness and the 1952 Pineapple Bowl at Hawaii because travel was too expensive.
"I never set out with the idea of setting some kind of record or having a streak," Ables told Page 2 on Friday before catching a flight out of San Diego. "I went because I love to go. ... Now, I have to confess I take pride in it."
It's certainly no stretch when San Diego Union-Tribune columnist Nick Canepa calls Ables "The Greatest Aztecs Fan Who Ever Lived" -- especially when you consider he's also attended more than 1,000 SDSU basketball games. Ables was ranked No. 3 on a list of college football superfans in an ESPN.com article earlier this year.
Two days ago, Aztecs coach Brady Hoke asked Ables to address the team after practice, a testament to his connection to the program. Ables owns a block of season tickets for home games, but he's watched road games from the sidelines since Don Coryell was SDSU's coach in the 1960s.
Ables, 84, still runs his own public relations firm in San Diego and is obviously fortunate that wife Nancy, also an SDSU alum, understands his preoccupation with the Aztecs.
"A lot of people ask, 'What does your family think?'" Ables said. "It's always been a family deal. My wife has gone to [436 games] and still goes to all the home games. My son [Ken] has been to [343 games prior to Saturday]. Happily, he is going to Wyoming with me."