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Seattle SuperFan Overcomes Challenges Through Sports

Credit Kevin Kniestedt
Host Gabriel Spitzer and "Big-Lo."

This story orginally aired on February 24, 2018.  

Lauren “Big Lo” Sandretzky has rarely missed a professional sports game in Seattle in 30 years, and has been called Seattle’s biggest sports fan. He even has his own super fan action figure. But his passion for sports and the players goes beyond just wins and loses. It’s gotten him through some pretty difficult times in his life.

He lost his grandfather and mother, two very special people to him, when he was very young.


“Mom dying was the hardest. She fought cancer for six of my seven years, and to watch the emotional side of what she went through, her tears, her crying, her anger, there was so many different emotions from my mother.”

After losing another family member in his teens, Sandretzky turned to sports for comfort.

He credits working in clubs to turning his life around due to being able to meet various Seattle sports icons that would come in. That’s what really started him on his road to superfandom.

He started attending the games of the players he was meeting with die-hard attendance records, but he didn’t stop there. He would meet the players to send them off at the airports and even go as far as shoveling paths of snow to their cars so they wouldn’t injure themselves on their way back.

Sandretzky’s challenges were not over, however, as he began his own series of serious health battles, the first taking place in 1999 where he contracted a flesh eating bacteria that almost killed him.

“The pain was so bad I called a buddy and said ‘dude you gotta drive me to the hospital,’” Sandretzky said. “Went over to Highline Hospital. They shipped me down to Harborview where a bunch of doctors came in, looked at my infection and they all turned white.”

He needed three surgeries in five days and was in the Intensive Care Unit for seven.

Currently, he has two holes in both his feet from diabetic foot ulcers and a blood clot that he says is constantly pounding in his head. Yet, he continues to remain positive and give 100% support to his favorite teams.

“It’s been really miserable, but you know what, life is what you make it and if you make it miserable it’s gonna be miserable. But I’m going to make it happy, because I want to be happy. So, let’s go Seattle. Let’s win some games.”

Gabriel Spitzer is a former KNKX reporter, producer and host who covered science and health and worked on the show Sound Effect.