UB True Blue member Shane Patterson looks to spread positive energy as football walk-on
Shane Patterson believes that Buffalo’s football team is missing something: energy.
The junior communication major on the pre-law track can be seen and heard sending positive energy to those around him, whether he’s blasting his speakers out of his backpack in the Student Union or hyping up the crowd at a UB sporting event as a member of True Blue. He thinks his high-energy antics are just what the football team needs.
“I’m a fiery person,” Patterson said. “Every time I do something good, I celebrate. I’m always energetic and I feel like I can bring that to the program, which in my opinion I think is lacking.”
Patterson, a current member of True Blue and a former volunteer football manager, is now attempting to cheer on the Bulls from even closer proximity – the field. Patterson has been training with the hopes of becoming a walk-on for the football team. He hopes he can spread energy to the team as a player the same way he has as a fan.
Academic issues and coaching changes have prevented him joining the team in the past, but he now hopes that he can finally make the jump from a fan to a player.
“I’m just praying to God that I make it,” Patterson said. “I’ve done my part this semester getting straight A’s, I’m in shape, and I think that if I try out I’ll be good enough. I know I’ll be good enough.”
Patterson ended up at UB after playing a year and a half at Tusculum College, a Division-II program in the South Atlantic Conference. The slot receiver wanted to come to a bigger program to see if he had what it took to be a top college football player.
He originally planned on playing for SUNY Albany until its head coach left. Soon after, he set his sights on Buffalo.
“The coach at my old school had a connection to coach [Holman] Copeland, so I came up here and expected to play right away,” Patterson said. “Then everything got messed up with my eligibility and my grades. Basically I didn’t come here as a recruit once coach Copeland left … He stopped answering my calls and then I had to become a walk-on.”
Copeland was a former graduate assistant for the team and is currently the assistant coach/recruiting coordinator for Central Connecticut State University. He coached at UB from 2012-13 as the assistant linebackers coach.
Patterson has been spending the last two years trying to bring up his grades so he can join the team, but the process has been complicated. According to UB football eligibility rules, a walk-on must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
“I left my last school with a 2.92, and when my credits got transferred here, my old GPA turned into a 2.46,” Patterson said.
In Patterson’s first semester at UB, he ended up failing one of classes, bringing down his GPA to a 1.9. He said he currently has straight A’s and he expects to have a 2.8 GPA at the end of the semester, which will put him that much closer to being eligible.
Patterson grew up in Bound Brook, a suburb in central New Jersey. In addition to playing football for his high school, Patterson was the mascot for the school’s basketball team. In fact, he was the first.
In his freshman year of high school, Patterson came home and crafted a mascot costume out of cardboard for his school’s sports program. His brother, John, said he looked like a “knight of the round table.”
According to John, Patterson singlehandedly built the school’s student section, giving the small school a major change in atmosphere.
“He changes mindsets,” John said. “That’s what he does. When he was mascot, he changed the whole mindset of the people. He created a real home-court advantage.”
Patterson then went on to play football for two seasons at Tusculum College. Like in high school, Patterson was involved with hyping up Tusculum’s student section as the school’s mascot at basketball games.
Patterson can often be seen, or most likely heard, in the student section at Bulls basketball games. Heads from all over Alumni Arena turn when Patterson begins to yell commands at his cadre of painted warriors in the student section.
While Patterson finds hyping the crowd fun and exhilarating, he claims there is actually a lot of work that goes into properly pumping up a home crowd.
“Honestly, you need to be able to control the crowd,” Patterson said. “You need to be able to talk, you gotta be able to listen and you have to be loud. You have to be enthusiastic, because when your team is down by like 20 points, somebody’s still gotta keep the spirit alive.”
Even Patterson’s comrades in True Blue have never seen anything like the unique brand of energy that he brings to the student section.
“Shane is an absolute monster,” said Kyle Hughes, a freshman marketing major and member of True Blue. “The guy has brought a new level of energy to the student section that I’ve never experienced before. He somehow finds a way to get everybody involved. He brings it to a whole new level.”
Aside from cheering on the Bulls at home, Patterson tries to make it to as many away games as he can. The most memorable game for him was the road trip to Kent State.
After the Golden Flashes were defeated 80-55 on Jan. 30 at Alumni Arena, Patterson posted a video on Twitter that he took of Kent State fans cursing out UB fans at the game. When he traveled to Kent State later in the season, he was showered with taunts and boo’s regarding the video.
Buffalo won the game 71-65.
The Bulls’ fan hopes sparking some fervor into UB’s student section will help Buffalo become a big-name school.
“Cheering on my team is one of the most fun parts of being in True Blue,” Patterson said. “The No. 1 thing for me is that I’ve always been a small town person. My high school was a school with 500 people. My old college was a college with 4,000 people. Now UB is a big school, but it’s not a big name school. As a student, I’m trying to get us to that level of a UNC or a Duke, or a Tennessee.”
Patterson was also involved with other projects until he got too busy with school and True Blue. He played drums and sang tenor in the UB Gospel Choir and he also writes poetry from time to time.
When he isn’t cheering on the Bulls in Alumni Arena, he’s filling the air around campus with music. He keeps a Bluetooth speaker in his book bag and takes it with him wherever he goes.
“I try to play mostly positive music. The music I play is going to have you bumping or jumping around,” Patterson said. “It’s going to have you thinking, ‘This day is actually good.’ It’s going to help you realize that there’s some positivity going on right now, and I need to embrace that more than the negative.”
Whether he’s walking through crowded hallways, or mingling in the Student Union, Patterson is playing music of multiple genres – rock, hip-hop, R&B and even “Waltzing music” as Patterson describes it, gets airtime on his speakers.
Patterson doesn’t play his music to draw attention to himself; he simply does it to uplift people around him.
“When I walk into a room and my music starts playing, everyone’s head starts bobbin’, feet are tapping – it really brings light to somebody’s day,” Patterson said. “Really and truly it’s uplifting. People don’t really know what music can do for people.”
Patterson plans to approach Buffalo’s coaching staff this summer if his grades are at the acceptable level for him to walk on. If things don’t workout in Buffalo, he may transfer.
But wherever Patterson ends up – whether it’s in the stands, on the field, or in the choir – he’ll be bringing positive energy to those around him.
James Battle is an arts editor. Questions and comments can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org