Filed under: Bread City, Football, Journalism | Tags: Big Lo, Seattle Seahawks
I used to have a football blog, but I gave up on it after last season. It’s just been sitting there, catching crazy page hits and comments on two-year-old gambling picks, so I decided today to shut it down. But there is one thing I had to salvage, an interview with the guy who claims to have invented the D-FENCE sign. This was originally published in September, 2006.
The first time I ever saw a D-FENCE sign was during a Knicks game in the 1996 NBA playoffs. It was so popular with fans during that series, the two guys who brought it to the games were interviewed on television as the sign’s creators. Lorin “Big Lo” Sandretzky says that these guys are liars, because he made the very first D-FENCE sign in 1984. Here’s what he has to say.
Where did the D-FENCE come from?
BL: I was walking home from school with my friend, and there was this piece of picket fence that had broken off next to the drug store. The DE-FENSE chant had always been popular at ball games, and my friend and I just looked at one another, and said “D-FENCE!” It was a joke, but that’s what gave me the idea. Then that weekend, I stenciled out a cardboard D and a piece of cardboard fence, and I brought it to the Seahawks v. Raiders game. The first time people saw it, everyone was like, “What’s with the D and the fence?” I was a senior in High School at the time.
Does it piss you off when the Seahawks are in the Superbowl, and you see Steelers fans holding up the signs?
BL: No, I don’t let it bother me. It’s just one of those things. It kind of gives me a tingling inside, like hey, these people are all using something that I created. It’s a good feeling.
Is there any chance that the D-FENCE sign was a simultaneous invention, like the telephone?
BL:Well I suppose it’s possible, but I know for a fact that the cameramen who first filmed me with the sign told me that they had never seen anything like it before. They thought it was genius, and they said, “Hey you should copyright that.” But I was just a kid making a sign, I wasn’t thinking about copyrighting anything. I’m kicking myself now, though.
As a big Seahawks fan, what do you think about the accusations made by the Giants in the New York Times that Seattle is somehow amplifying crowd noise at Qwest field to make it harder for visiting teams?
BL: Completely not true in any way, shape, or form. I know the sound guy, and it’s just false. I was one of the first people in the stadium after they built it, and the first thing I did was to try out the different seats and see what the views were and how it sounded. And it’s incredible how much noise just one person can make in that place. It’s just how the stadium is designed; it’s an intimate space. And if one person can be loud, imagine how loud 70,000 screaming fans sound. And let me tell you, we can’t wait to play the Giants this weekend, because people are really mad about the claims. They just opened up a can of whoop ass.
What do you think Deion Branch’s role is going to be with the Seahawks, both in this weekend’s game against the Giants, and long term?
BL: This weekend he’ll get limited play, but he’s going to be a great asset because now defenses aren’t going to be able to double cover Darrell Jackson and Bobby Engram, and we’re going to be able to spread out the field.
Have you invented any other signs besides the D-FENCE?
BL: Well, there were so many of the D-FENCE signs around that I had to switch it up. So now for Seahawks games I’ve got the SEA-FENCE sign. My motto is: “SEA-FENCE on the field, SEA-FENCE in the stands, nothing’s more powerful than the Sea.”
In addition to being Seattle’s biggest fan, Big Lo has his own action figure! Check it out.
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