Fan of the Year: Jenna Martin
Cheers from a Chariot
Jenna Martin is SAGU’s Super Fan
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- As cheerful as a carousel, Jenna Martin is a can’t miss fan at numerous home games at Southwestern Assemblies of God University.
Completing her third year at SAGU, Martin, 24, is preparing for a career in youth ministry. A native of Mesquite, an eastern suburb of Dallas, she hopes to also develop her skills as a worship leader.
She is one of the most likeable, charming young ladies on campus. Her signature is a smile as sweet as flowers. And while she may be bound to a wheelchair, there’s an unstoppable spirit about her that knows no limitations.
Facebook photos of her zooming along a zip-line at a retreat or shooting hoops with friends only begin to illustrate Jenna’s effervescent personality.
Of her many interests, one stands out. Her love for SAGU sports!
She is often seen at midcourt, decked in purple and vegas gold, cheering passionately for Southwestern’s volleyball or basketball teams. Streamers adorn her wheels, make-up and attire that would cause President Kermit Bridges to salute, Jenna Martin is the unquestioned Fan of the Year!
Student-athletes for the Lions and Lady Lions widely respect her as Super Fan. None more than junior guard Jared Gibson. The 6-foot-3 hoopster who made more radar-range three-balls than every player in the nation except one, acknowledges her before, during and after games in the Sheaffer Center.
She was interviewed recently and answered a number of queries about her zeal for SAGU sports.
Q: Do you have any nicknames?
Jenna: Nicknames, oh goodness! I have so many; Jen Jen, Wheels, J-Meezy, J-Mart, Sissy, Little One - given to me by a friend in high school, and Nenna - my “aunt name.”
Q: Please describe yourself as a sports fan.
Jenna: I have gone to football games ever since I was little because my sister was a cheerleader and a member on the drill team. I loved going and just taking it all in. It was so much fun.
When the school band would play the “hey” song and their fight song, I would get so excited! I went to many of my high school’s football games. I always had so much fun just hanging out with my friends. Then I came to SAGU! Our athletes just make sports so exciting to watch! I want to attend every game! I always make sure I am in as much purple and gold as possible when I go to any SAGU game.
Q: What is the biggest game of any sport you have ever attended?
Jenna: Actually, I have never been to a pro sports game. But I would love to go to see the Dallas Mavericks or maybe a Dallas Cowboy’s game. Wow!
Q: What is your favorite sport to watch at SAGU?
Jenna: I love every sport at SAGU. But I would have to say that volleyball and basketball tie as my favorites. Soccer and football are up there too though. I have yet to go to a baseball game, but that is going to change in the future.
Really though, basketball has become my very favorite sport in general since I came to SAGU. I’m really into working on my basketball skills now.
Q: You are seen at most every basketball and volleyball game. How do you like your midcourt seat?
Jenna: I LOVE my midcourt seat. It’s the best view!
Q: How do fans respond to you at midcourt?
Jenna: It really is a great place to sit. When one of my friends walks by, I can get their attention easily.
Q: Jared Gibson refers to you as SAGU's #1 fan. What is your relationship with him and other players?
Jenna: I love “my” Lions and Lady Lions. Jared is right...#1 fan! (she smiles) Jared and I met when we sat next to each other in a class a couple of semesters ago and became really great friends. We have really become brother and sister even though we aren’t related by blood.
We even have a “secret hand shake” at half time of every home basketball game.
Lots of people have heard him refer to me as his lil’ sis and I refer to him as my “bubba.” They say: “Oh! We see the resemblance” and similar things. We just smile and let them think we are related. He has my back. I have his and we are brother and sister in Christ.
I love every one of the athletes on all the teams. They are all so nice and such great people. I know a large number of them by name. I just can’t say enough about how awesome they all are and the ways God uses them in my life when we cross paths.
Q: What motivates you to being such a loyal and vocal fan?
Jenna: Like I said before, I love “my Lions and my Lady Lions”. I like to say that “I have school spirit coming out of my ears.” Various athletes on both the guys’ and gals’ teams have become friends. They are all super nice and are a huge inspiration to me, whether they realize it or not.
God uses them to speak things into my life that I need to hear.
One example I’ll give is this. I was at a basketball game when I glanced over at the cheerleaders. The other team was winning by a couple of points when I noticed the cheerleaders cheering louder and harder.
It was though God was saying, “See, that’s what I do for you. When things get hard and you’re behind, I cheer louder and harder. You can do it!” God uses these athletes so much! I love it!
Q: Do you have any friends who are just as active at being a Lions fan?
Jenna: I do have some friends that come to games with me and help me yell for the teams. They are usually my hall mates.
Q: What do you like most about Southwestern athletics?
Jenna: I love it all! Everything. The athletes, watching the games, and wearing my purple. Purple has become my favorite color.
I have never been THIS into sports in my life. I can sit through games and kind of figure out what’s going on, strategically. Sometimes I ask a friend about whatever I don’t get. I’m actually starting to understand sports! Again, the Lions just make college athletics so fun to watch. I love it!
Q: What part of games do you like most?
Jenna: I like watching the teams before games, warming up and getting ready to play. You have to arrive early. The excitement builds up and I’m ready to watch them win!
Q: What other areas are you involved at SAGU?
Jenna: I was a World Prayer leader last year and am heavily involved in the prayer groups on campus. A few semesters ago I was also in Choir.
Q: What would you want to communicate to other students about coming to games?
Jenna: I would highly encourage every student to come out to as many games in all of the sports! Don’t stay in your rooms studying! Enjoy the full college experience. It includes athletics!
Come support the Lions! You just might get addicted like me!