A SPORTS FAN’S DREAM:How one Marshall student found her home with the Thundering Herd


Photo courtesy of Sydney Shelton

Sydney Shelton came to Marshall University two years ago excited for game day and now works in the press box.

Welcome to orientation here at Marshall University. Two years ago, I stood where you do today. I signed up for classes, I took my picture for my student ID (yikes) and I could not wait for summer to pass by so that I could come back to Huntington. 

Two years ago, I was blown away by the support of strangers who helped welcome me into a place that was new to me. After orientation, I had the special privilege to check out the Joan C. Edwards football stadium. I was in awe of the stadium, and as I walked across the turf, I could feel my heart start to race. At the time, I knew two things were certain: Steve Cotton, Voice of the Thundering Herd, was easily my new favorite person (thanks again for the tour), and I could not wait for game day at the Joan. 

Fast forward several months, and I was heading to the Joan for my first game day, Marshall vs. Miami of Ohio (we won 31-26).  I had this awesome internship that meant I was on the sideline for my first-ever game day. The feeling that came over me seeing the football hype video come over the board, seeing the football team enter the field and the fans cheer on the Herd was amazing. 

Yet nothing compares to hearing the fans cheering “We Are…Marshall” chant ring through the stadium. In that moment I knew that my life had been forever changed. I knew that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. 

Game day in Huntington is more than just a normal Saturday college football game. It is a time that we come together as a community to not only remember the past, to remember the 75, but to celebrate what it means to be a part of the Thundering Herd at Marshall University. 

Today, my game day may be different than yours. I now spend mine behind a computer in the press box, interviewing fans or alumni for the Parthenon social media or running around the sideline with a camera.  You might spend yours throwing back cold ones with friends and cheering on the Herd with your fellow Marshall Maniacs, however, one thing is for sure: we will remember these days for the rest of our lives. 

So welcome to Marshall University. While every game day should start with Thunderstruck blasting from your speakers, just remember that if it ends in a victory or a loss, you will always be a winner. You won because you chose a school and gained an entire family. 

We Are.. looking forward to having you as a part of Marshall. Go Herd. 

Sydney Shelton can be contacted at [email protected]