Self-described "obsessed fanatic" who's witnessed more than 2,500 live sporting events, lands in Boise to see Broncos take on San Diego State
Eric Fink talks with man once dubbed: "America's Greatest Sports Fan" Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
"I think a lot of people think I'm crazy and I don't care," Mark Chesna said with a smile.
An Indianapolis sports radio host once dubbed the 55-year-old Oshkosh Wisconsin native "America's Greatest Sports Fan."
And, Saturday night, "America's Greatest Sports Fan descended on Boise to take in his first game on the "Blue."
"Every stadium's got their own environment," Chesna said. "The environment itself, I don't know what I'm going to see until I get there. They all excite me."
Mark's sat in the stands at hundreds of stadiums through the decades. He's a self-described obsessed fanatic. As 2012 comes to a close, Mark will have attended more than 2650 sporting events. His passion began at the age of 12 when his dad took him to his first Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field in 1969.
It was some time after he started earning thousands of frequent-flier miles thanks to his wife, who works for Delta, that Mark's passion turned to obsession. He leaves Fridays from work at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in West Virginia and goes to the airport and waits stand-by for his weekend getaways. The getaways often include multiple games in multiple cities.
"When my wife got a job with the airlines," Mark said, "It allowed me the opportunity to say: "Hey, I want to hit every major league baseball stadium which I've done, I want to hit every NBA arena, which I've done except for new ones."
Saturday night he comes to Boise thanks to a friend and former co-worker who recently retired to the City of Trees.
"His first statement was not have a good retirement or have fun in Boise," Mark's buddy David Klinger recalled. "It was: "Can I get a free meal? Can I get a place to stay? And, can you get me tickets?"
Over the decades, Mark became a meticulous statistician. He keeps a thumb-drive protected list of when and where he's attend every game. Saturday night's Boise State - San Diego State contest marks 2,657 live games overall.
"America's Greatest Sports Fan" has set the 5,000 mark as his lifelong goal.
"I can't ever imagine stopping going because I don't want to go anymore," Mark said. "The only way I can imagine stopping going is if something happens to my health."
Mark's confident as long as he stays upright, he'll continue to hop on a plane somewhere, get a ticket to his next game, and continue adding to his astonishing resume.