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Sports Crazed: Valencia fan a constant at games

Posted: August 16, 2014 10:01 p.m.
Updated: August 16, 2014 10:01 p.m.

Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Lou Whitfield sits in his spot at the 23 yard line at Valencia High. He has been attending Valencia football games since the school opened in 1995 and has missed less than 10 games in that 15-year timespan.

 

“We.”

That’s how 69-year-old Valencia resident Louis Whitfield refers to his Valencia Vikings football team.

You know.

Like sports fans whose favorite team is the Kansas City Royals or New York Knicks or Pittsburgh Penguins.

“We,” as we’re part of the team.

“I heard he’s been to every Valencia football game,” says Valencia 10th season head football coach Larry Muir.

Every game?

“Yeah. Freshman, JV, varsity. He’s been to every game since Valencia started (in 1995).”

Not exactly.

“I was watching the freshmen in the 90s, but I got away from it because I was working,” Whitfield says. “But the JV games are right before the varsity games so I see all the JVs and varsity.”

I’ve missed a few over the years.

Few as in two or three varsity games.

That means, Whitfield has been to 230 or 231 Valencia High varsity football games.

He has been somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 Valencia high football games.

Attachments?

He has none.

Whitfield graduated from Bakersfield High.

His kids are 39 and 41 and they also graduated from Bakersfield High.

The neighborhood kids — that’s what got him going to games.

“It’s a no-brainer,” Whitfield says on why he goes to Valencia games. “I live right in the middle of the (school’s area) district. I follow the kids from the area. Not just the football team. My next-door neighbor’s son played golf. Others have been on the baseball team or track sqaud.”

Buy why high school sports?

We’re near Los Angeles.

You’ve got the Dodgers and Kings. The Lakers and Clippers. Heck, even USC and UCLA.

“High school ball, they still have the sprit,” Whitfield says. “It’s the purity of the sport. I’m so disgusted with the pros anymore. (The high school athletes) are out there for the fun of it. A lot of them, it will be their senior year. It will be their last ball game. And a few go on to play college or pro ball. They’re giving their heart for fun.”

Whitfield says he goes to other athletic events at Valencia High — basketball games and track and field meets especially.

But he is a familiar to Valencia coaches and other regulars.

He’s always in the same seat — home side, top of the bleachers, at the 23-yard line.

Whitfield says he sits there because there’s room for him to stretch out and the seats on the 50-yard line are for the parents to get the best view of their children.

He doesn’t want to be in the way.

Whitfield’s adoration for Valencia football isn’t odd, his wife Sue says.

In fact, she sees it as his hobby and Friday nights are his night out with the boys.

She fully endorses his passion.

“Friday night is his night,” Sue says. “When football season starts I know I won’t see him.

“I find other things to do on Friday nights,” she says.

After the 2013 season, Valencia High invited Whitfield to its player and family banquet to celebrate one of the greatest seasons in Vikings history — a fifth straight Foothill League title and a trip to the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division championship game — its first CIF title game since 2004 when Valencia played Mission Viejo for a title at Angel Stadium in Anaheim in 2004 (of course Whitfield was there).

“Usually banquets are for players and parents. I’m an outsider. I’m nothing but a fan,” Whitfield says. “Then they call my name and gave me a plaque. All I do is go to games and root the team on.”

The award they gave him was called the Louis Whitfield Fan Award.

It will be handed out yearly to a Viking fan whose devotion to the team is not unnoticed.

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