Despite Tide foundation, young Holeman is LSU all the way

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 7, 2004

So LSU won their first national championship in 45 years Sunday night, big woo. At least that the attitude most folks in the state of Alabama have about it. Around these parts there aren’t many people who much cared what a team like LSU does or doesn’t do. Their only concern is what Alabama and Auburn are doing. Where is Auburns’ national championship, where’s Alabama’s bowl game?

But Sunday night there was one Demopolis native that witnessed what was perhaps the single greatest event in all of his 11 years. For life long LSU fan Bill Holeman, witnessing his favorite team finally win a national championship is something he will carry with him for the rest of his life.

But for his father Gary Holeman, LSU’s championship was yet a joyful yet painful experience. "I still don’t understand how it is that he became a LSU fan when both me and his mother have always been nothing but Tide fans, but LSU is his team," Holeman said.

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Maybe it’s their loud colors or perhaps their fierce mascot "Mike The Tiger," that has attracted the young Holeman, but for whatever reasons the young man clearly bleeds purple and gold.

Although his father graduated from the University of Alabama, young Bill only remembers his trips to Baton Rouge to visit his dad. "I received my undergrad from Alabama, but like many other bankers I received a graduate degree from LSU’s Graduate School of Banking. It was a three-year program with two-week sessions once a year at LSU. And during that time my family would drive down to Baton Rouge to see me. And it was during that time that Bill somehow became an LSU fan," the father said.

No one in the Holeman family has been able to understand what it was that happen to young Bill during those trips to the bayou country.

Perhaps it was voodoo or a Tiger gris-gris curse or maybe the spicy food that got a hold of him, but whatever it was it has stuck with him for almost six years now and only looks to be getting stronger.

From the look of his bedroom it’s clear that young Bill has a full fledge case of Tiger mania.

He has it all, from the LSU hat to the replica home jersey, purple and gold banners, collectible Tiger dolls, car flag and classic LSU sleepers.

He knows the names of almost every starting player from this season and many notable players from the past. And unlike ABC’s play-by-play broadcaster Brent Musburger, Holeman knows how to pronounce LSU quarterback Matt Mauck’s name properly.

He has taken some flack in the past for being an LSU fan and has seen the Tigers at their worst, but from here on out the young man doesn’t expect anyone to give him a hard time.

"My first LSU game at Tiger Stadium was last year when they played Alabama, but I didn’t really like it because I had to sit in the Alabama section and it was too loud, too cold and we got beat," Holeman said.

He continued…. "A lot of kids at school have asked me questions about why am I a LSU fan, but I don’t have too many of them asking me anymore. They all know the answer now."

And while Gary would prefer for his young son to yell "Roll Tide" instead of "Geaux Tigers," he knows that the more you try to force a kid to like what you like the more they want to run the opposite way. After all it could be worse.

It’s taken a while, but young Bill has managed to get his dad to support LSU when they go to a game together.

And though he may not want many to know it, Gary does occasionally dress in what he calls his "LSU costume," even at the Alabama/LSU game.

It’s amazing what people will do for their children.

And so while Gary may have to wait a while before he is able to watch his team win a national championship, he will softly cheer for the Tigers along with his son.