Funny, but Anthony Nguyen, president of the Completely Insane Anteaters, doesn’t look crazy. In fact, the UCI student with thick-rimmed glasses and slender build looks more the serious, bookish type. But just get him to a game and watch a bad call go against the Anteaters. That’s when Anthony does a complete Jekyll and Hyde, popping out of his seat, disputing the call at the top of his lungs and “going ape.”
“I get furious at bad calls,” Nguyen says. “At baseball games, I can be heard across the field shouting, ‘Ump, what are youdoooing? That’s malarkey!’”
Anthony’s not hard to spot in a crowd. He’s the one wearing the blue and yellow clown wig and matching face paint. At basketball games, he can be seen taunting players on the opposing team, calling them nicknames like “Air Ball” – forgetting they tower over his 5’10’’ frame.
“Anthony’s really come out of his shell this last year,” says Robby Ray, assistant marketing director for UCI Athletics.
Come out of his shell? The kid’s become a rabid little terrier.
“He exudes a passion for the Anteaters that’s contagious,” Ray says. “All our student athletes know him. They look for him. They beg him to come to their games.”
Anthony obliges by trying to attend every game in every sport – men’s and women’s. By his count, he attended 100 games last year; one day he went to three in a single day, his personal best. His attendance record, seniority – he’s a fourth-year sociology student – and devotion to the Anteaters earned him the CIA presidency.
Any student can join the CIA by showing up to a CIA-attended event and presenting a UCI ID. Joining is free, and the first 3,000 members get an eye-popping yellow T-shirt. (Anthony wears his to every game, unless he’s sporting full-body paint). Members get prizes such as In-N-Out coupons each time they attend a CIA event.
The first big CIA turnout is at Midnight Magic – kickoff of the men’s and women’s basketball season and first official day of practice Saturday, Oct. 15, in the Bren Events Center. Festivities begin at 9 p.m. with slam dunk and other contests, followed by introduction of the each team’s players. Anthony, of course, will be there.