Cameron Hughes is his team’s biggest fan. Depending on his mood, he might pull off one of the multiple team jerseys he wears and spin it wildly in the air, scream at the top of his lungs, and exhort fellow supporters to do the same. Or he might pull an old lady from her seat and dance her through the arena.
A big, imposing redhead with energy to burn, Hughes is a traveling “superfan,” paid by team owners to whip the crowd into a frenzy, create some fun, and generally manufacture team spirit for the locals.
“I’m that guyâ€”the funny, happy, dancing, possibly very drunk guy you’ve seen at the ballpark at least once,” says Hughes, adding that he himself never drinks on the job unless you count the three Red Bulls he downs as a pre-game ritual.
Baseball teams like the Toronto Blue Jays and the Los Angeles Dodgers pay him an average of $2,000 a game to do his thing, as do N.B.A. teams like the L.A. Lakers and New Orleans Hornets and N.H.L. teams like the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs. All told, he works about 80 to 90 major- and minor-league games a year, and difficult as it may be to believe, Hughes makes a comfortable six-figure salary just by being a crazy sports fan.