When Anchorage resident, Thomas (Tom) Pitzke scheduled a neck surgery procedure with the nurse in his surgeon’s office, he had one pressing concern: “Will I miss a Seawolves basketball game?”
“She (the nurse) kind of giggled and laughed when I said ‘Can we schedule it to when the team is out of town?’” Pitzke said. “And it was perfect because they were out of town for two weeks going down to Washington and Oregon at the time.”
Pitzke said that for the past 36 years, he has not missed one home game. By next year, he will have gone to 500 games in a row. He did emphasize that this pertains to the Seawolves men’s basketball games.
“It’s not that I don’t want to go to women’s, it’s just hard for me financially to go to both. If they were all played the same nights, it would make more sense,” Pitzke said.
He does make it to the women’s games if at all possible.
It all started when Pitzke was a student of Anchorage Community College. He knew some of the men’s basketball players from high school. Then it took off from there.
When one does a search on Google for information on Pitzke, pictures on akdemocrats.org pop up of him with Senator Johnny Ellis and Jackie Purcell of KTUU, with captions that refer to him as, “Seawolves super fan Tom Pitzke.” There are also pictures of Pitzke’s birthday cake, decorated with green and gold frosting and basketball hoops made of black icing.
When former TNL sports editor, Taylor Hall was asked about the super fan of Seawolves basketball, he answered with, “Tom Pitzke.”
Pitzke said he gladly accepts the title of the Seawolves super fan. Though he has faced challenges, he still remains loyal.
Among other medical procedures, Pitzke has had two neck surgeries, a throat surgery and carpal tunnel surgery on both wrists.
“I wanted to make sure if I had a chance, not to miss a game. Fortunately, all the other surgeries which, there’s been multiple, have usually been late spring time or summer or fall where I don’t have to worry about that,” Pitzke said.
Pitzke also said that he has to take the bus or taxi from Government Hill to all the games, which can be a challenge for someone on a fixed income.
Through the years Pitzke has collected many memories – some funny, some crazy.
“The concession stand popcorn popper would cause so much smoke they’d have to evacuate the building a couple times. Then one of these other incidents, a player from the other team popped one of our guys in the mouth and he had to have his jaw wired shut for the rest of the season,” Pitzke said.
If one wants to find Pitzke at a basketball game, he is easy to spot.
Pitzke has a collection of fan wear from yellow or green afros, to face paint, to a basketball mask.
“What I did over the years is literally take a knife to it and cut it right down the middle and then I cut in a couple eye holes in the basketball and a nose to breath, and a hole for the mouth to breath,” Pitzke said.
When asked whether or not he will be at the next Seawolves basketball game, Pitzke answered as any super fan would: ”I’ll be there even if I have to crawl on my hands and knees.”