Arizona Wildcats super fan makes unexpected appearance at season opener
Mario Nava has been to every home game for more than a decade, but a cancer battle put that streak in jeopardy
TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Wildcat fans are celebrating the first home game of the season.
Arizona super fan Mario Nava has been to every home game for over a decade, but that almost didn’t happen today.
Mario is known as the Wildcat Fireman to many and for him, it’s more than just a sport.
“This is Tucson, University of Arizona, this is Tucson,” Mario said. “This is what makes the community and this is what brings everyone together.”
In his traditional firefighter’s helmet, he’s graced the Wildcat stadium for another season.
“My first game was in 1983,” Mario said. “But my dad was in the military so we left and we came back in the 90s and we’ve come ever since.”
His excitement for the UA extends far beyond the ones closest to him.
“They come up to him they’ll ask him questions and he’ll gladly talk to anyone that’s just who my dad is,” Mario’s daughter Crystal Nava said. “He’ll say hi to everyone.”
Mario’s battle with cancer began in 2011, but the last few months have made things difficult when it comes to making his anticipated appearance.
“Today was just a worry to see what would happen because it would have just been me,” Crystal said.
He says as of now, if there’s a game he’ll be there.
“It’s a lifestyle, it’s tradition, it’s what we look forward to every start of football season and that’s why I’m here because, as I told my family, this is good medicine,” Mario said.
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