Loyola-Chicago, the only team to pull off an upset so far in this NCAA Tournament, features an especially lovable and pious fan in its cheering posse. Her name is Sister Jean, and she’s a 98-year-old nun. She is very cool:
The Chicago Tribune has a great profile of Sister Jean, who’s been the team chaplain since 1994. She prays with the team as part of a pregame ritual, and she leads the fans in prayer before the games, too, “asking God to help the referees call fouls ‘justly’ and asking that the scoreboard ‘at the end indicates a Ramblers win,’” according to the Tribune. She knows her shit—er, stuff—too:
“She’s like another coach,” senior guard Donte Ingram said. “The first game (as a freshman), it caught me off guard. I thought she was just going to pray. She prayed, but then she starts saying, ‘You’ve got to box out and watch out for 23.’
And when current Ramblers coach Porter Moser took the job in 2011, Sister Jean left a manilla envelope on his desk, which contained “pages of detailed notes on the strengths and weaknesses of each returning player.”
She missed nine games this year due to a broken hip, but otherwise, Sister Jean is at almost every Loyola home game. She’s got a good reason for not traveling to road games, though:
“They would just worry about me,” she told the Tribune. “They just need to worry about getting that ball in the basket.”
But she made it to Dallas, and the Ramblers are just one win away from a trip to Atlanta. If her prayers are answered again on Saturday, it doesn’t seem likely that they’ll let Sister Jean stay home for the Sweet 16.