The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Panthers fan shows 16 years of pride

Randy Hicks applauds at a City College men’s basketball game Feb. 21. Hicks has been attending games since 1998.

Bright lights reflect off hardwood floors, scoreboards and shot clocks light up, and the crowd anxiously anticipates the start of the game. The bleachers are filled with alumni, friends and family of players from both home and visiting teams, and fans of basketball. This is the typical scene for home games at City College.

And Randy Hicks, 49, is usually part of that scene, taking his place among the crowd of cheering fans. Hicks, who has been attending games since 1998, said he uses his love of sports and cheering for the many City College athletic programs as a form of therapy to help himself cope with a painful disability.

Most fans that come to the games at City College are currently students or alumni, but Hicks has never attended classes, nor does he have a relative that has. In fact, he has absolutely no connection to City College other than living the area.

“When I moved up the road I said, you know what? City’s here, this is my school. There’s a lot of history here,” said Hicks. “There’s a lot of history at Sac City.”

Hicks was born in Iowa, where his love of sports began at a young age. He never played sports growing up but he was always a devoted fan. He graduated high school and attended Iowa Lakes Community College, later moving on to Minnesota School of Business.

While living in Minnesota, Hicks began to suffer from chronic pain and memory loss. Doctors first believed Hicks had rheumatoid arthritis. He was fired from the job he had in Minnesota and many jobs after due to the symptoms he experienced. Eventually, Hicks decided to pack up and move to Sacramento with friends.

Then, in 2000, doctors diagnosed Hicks with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a disease that causes widespread musculoskeletal pain. Along with the pain, people with fibromyalgia suffer from severe fatigue, memory loss, and mood issues.

“Memory loss is a scary thing, and there are days where the pain is so severe you just don’t want to get up,” said Hicks.

Instead of worrying about himself once he was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, Hicks decided to help others. He started doing volunteer work with Californians for Disability Rights, an organization dedicated to fighting for the rights of people who have any form of a disability.

“Disability advocacy is very important. I wouldn’t want to get paid to do what I do,” said Hicks.

Hicks is currently the legislative chair for Californians for Disability Rights. He attends the many legislative hearings and keeps track of all the bills that are passed—not just bills pertaining to disability rights.
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“Randy is very involved and very active in disability rights,” said Californians for Disability Rights President, Susan Chandler. “He seems to be able to keep tabs on a million things at once.”

In addition to keeping track of legislation, Hicks also sets up displays at various events in the region to talk about what his organization is and what it does for those with disabilities. On May 21, 2014, Hicks will be attending Disability Awareness Day at the state capitol.

For people with musculoskeletal diseases, exercise is very important to help with the pain, according to Hicks. When Hicks isn’t volunteering as a disability rights advocate, he’s riding his motorized bicycle or taking public transit to City College games.

“Riding my bike to the games is good exercise for me, said Hicks “But being at these games and watching these sports really helps distract me from the pain.”

Hicks said basketball is his favorite sport, and he can be seen on the sidelines and in the bleachers of every game, both men’s and women’s, talking to spectators about all the things the team is doing right as well as the things they need to improve.

“He’s a recognizable face at our games, a great fan, and he’s a good guy to have around,” said City College Athletic Director Mitch Campbell “He’s a Panther and we like having him be a Panther.”

Not only does Hicks love watching the games, he said he also enjoys the interactions with the people, whether they be people in the crowd alongside him, coaches, or congratulating the players on their performances. One by one, he salutes each player as they head to the locker room during halftime and after the game.

“He loves us players. I think he genuinely cares about us and he wants to see us do well. You can’t dislike somebody like that,” said City College men’s basketball forward Michael Wiggins.

Hicks says he loves to interact with other fans at the games and plans to continue to support Panthers athletics for the foreseeable future.

“I like to be seen. I feel happy to be here and they’re happy that I’m here,” said Hicks.

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