The Rams gave their fans little to cheer about. (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)

With Louisville rolling over Colorado State, there was only one thing for CBS’s cameras to do: keep focusing on the Colorado State fan in the Rams costume his mother made for him.


Sad Rams Fan, who was happier on Thursday:



Easy, Will Brinson. Sad Ram Fan was also Mad Ram Fan, as you can see by doing elementary lipreading on this GIF.

It’s not easy being Sad Ram Fan. He is actually Justin Stank, a 16-year-old nicknamed “Little Diesel” by the Rams’ Jesse Carr. His mom told the New York Times’ Ben Shpigel that she now makes his outfit, since he grew up and the university bookstore stopped selling the costumes.

“Little Diesel’s the epitome of the fan that every team wants, a guy who’ll travel all the way to Lexington, Ky., just to see us play,” Carr said.

Zoe and Justin travel to games at Air Force, Colorado and Wyoming, where the fans, Zoe said, are particularly hospitable. Others are less forgiving. At Mile High Stadium once, an inebriated Colorado football fan grabbed Justin by his throat. During a basketball game at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas a few years ago, Zoe noticed that it had been a while since Justin left for the restroom. A U.N.L.V. fan had ambushed him as Justin exited the stall, and Zoe said he had been shaken up.

“But it hasn’t stopped him,” Zoe said. “He was mad he didn’t get a swing at the guy. And that guy was lucky I didn’t get one, either.”

Justin can instigate, too. At a Colorado State-Colorado football game, he walked by the Colorado cheerleaders, who asked to take a photograph with him, telling him how cute he was. Cute, at least, until Justin turned to the Colorado mascot, Ralphie the Buffalo, and said, “O.K., let’s barbecue.”

“They all chased him away,” Zoe said. “All you saw was this ram and the cheerleaders chasing him up the hill.”

The suit always travels in its own duffel, a jump bag Zoe used when she volunteered for the fire department. It folds easily, but the head, now that it is detached, is a bit cumbersome. When Zoe and Justin unpacked at their hotel on Wednesday, they noticed that a horn had been ripped off, perhaps during a security search.

“Some people,” Zoe said. “Can you believe that?”