Think you love your old school? Not as much as Dr. Gerardo Greico, a man who has attended 503 consecutive high school football games. And he doesn't even live close by.
Dr. Greico hasn't missed a single varsity football game at St. Rita's in Chicago since he joined the team there as a freshman, all the way back in 1969. His iron man streak has lasted an out-of-this-world 43 straight years.
Opening its doors in 1905, the all-male Roman Catholic high school is situated on the southwest side of Chicago. Ray Manzarek, co-founder and keyboardist for The Doors, attended St. Rita's. So did former Blue Jays pitcher Jim Clancy and White Sox right-hander Ed Farmer.
The Southtown Star asked Greico why he has dedicated his entire life to his old school. "I love St. Rita," Grieco said. "It's been a love affair since I was a student here."
It's one thing to support your old high school football team, but this is something much bigger. A surgeon by trade, Greico has donated his services as the team doctor during the football season, despite having one heck of a commute from his Bloomington home. "It's 144 miles from my front door to St. Rita," Grieco said.
Mike Zunica, St. Rita's athletic director, believes his school's biggest fan deserves some kind of acknowledgment for his dedication.
"It's got to be Guinness Book (of World Records) material," Zunica said of Grieco's streak. "He's an inspiration to us and the 107-year tradition of the school. It's incredible for our students to see a renowned surgeon have that much passion for his high school. He's supported this school through thick and thin."
The streak had a few close calls over the years. In 1990, Dr. Greico attended a game in a tuxedo, as he was serving as best man at his brother's wedding after the Saturday afternoon clash.
The doctor is so dedicated to his old school that he schedules surgeries around the Mustangs football schedule.