74 years. In today’s world, that number constitutes the average life span for the American male. It’s also the number of years that twin sisters Betty Fitzgerald Hoover and Peggy Fitzgerald Coppom have been attending Colorado sports games.
Take a minute to let that sink in. They’ve been Buffs fans as long as the average person has been alive.
“We started going to football games when we first moved to Boulder, basketball too,” Peggy said.
“1940,” Betty clarified.
Since then, Betty and Peggy have become an iconic and beloved part of University of Colorado athletics. In that time, they have attended nearly every football game and both men’s and women’s basketball games. They are CU’s biggest super fans.
A few weeks ago, on Nov. 19, the twins turned 90 years old, hitting a milestone very few people reach in their lifetimes.
“Every birthday’s exciting, but this one was special,” Betty said. “It’s pretty good, but I don’t feel like 90 years old.”
Peggy added, “I don’t have a secret [to making it to 90]. It’s God and our parents, attitude and we’ve had some maintenance along the way.”
But a lot has changed since 1924. Since the twins were born, the United States outlasted six major wars, including the biggest and baddest of them all: World War II. In the early 40s, this second worldwide battle impeded the dream of a college education for many Americans, including Betty and Peggy themselves.
“Well we only went [to the University of Colorado] one year, and that was ’43, 1943,” Betty said. “It was during World War II, and Peggy got married and I went to work. It just wasn’t practical for us to stay in school when we needed to work and her husband came back from England, from the war.”
Peggy added, “There were bombing missions and not many [men] came back, but anyway we got married when he came back. So many friends were killed, and you were grasping for life during those days.”
During those days, campus life around CU was much different than it is today.
“It wasn’t quite the same because we had not many men here,” Peggy said. “All the boys were off in service. We had the radio school for the Navy, and the language school for the Navy, so we had a lot of servicemen here.”
Colorado’s football program took a direct hit following the onset of the war too, the sisters said.
“The football program wasn’t as good as it could be because a lot of the boys were drafted,” Betty said. “It was entirely different during the war.”
But that didn’t deter the twins from attending most CU sporting events. It’s something that they’re both proud of, and they said they’ll always be honored to call themselves CU fans.
“We are very proud and recognize the effort that it takes to be a student athlete for all the athletes,” Peggy said. “Whether it’s skiing or tennis, all of them. And we’re very proud of all of them. The volleyball team is doing so well. We can’t get to all the games because we don’t drive at night anymore, but we’d love to like to come to the games if somebody would take us.”
That’s not to say that they don’t keep up with those sports, though.
“We keep current with everything that’s going on, with skiing, or tennis, or golf,” Betty said. “We read about it, of course, and talk to people who are able to attend. The ski team is always number one, cross country’s always good.”
In more recent years additional entertainment and traditions have made games exponentially more exciting for the sisters.
“You know, the band, the cheerleaders, the Ralphie handlers…” Betty said.
“What would we be without a band?” Peggy interjected.
“They put in time a lot of time too, so we consider them a part of the athletic program, so football and basketball, the things where they help out,” Betty said. “We think the band is just great because we need that music at football and basketball games, so we respect and are proud of all of them.”
When the CU Independent asked the twins about their favorite CU sports memory, Betty had a hard time nailing one down.
“Oh, there are so many of them,” Betty said. “I can’t just pick one favorite team. We’ve had a lot of football ones, we had some basketball favorite memories, track team, ski team, those we couldn’t attend.”
Peggy had a much easier time picking out her favorite memories.
“In 1971 or ’72, somewhere in there, Oklahoma, Nebraska and CU were ranked—I can’t remember what order, but they were number one, two, three in the nation, and we were all in the Big Eight. And we beat Oklahoma. Anyway, we were here and that was really exciting. Nebraska was way ahead of us,” Peggy said.
The sisters deliberated for several seconds to pin down the exact year, before Peggy finally said, “I couldn’t tell you. But then when we beat Texas for the Big 12 championship, some of those memories.”
Peggy also mentioned Colorado basketball’s upset victory over Kansas last year as one of her favorite sports memories in her long tenure as a CU sports fan.
“It was exciting for us; we weren’t there,” she said. “When our basketball team—since Tad Boyle’s been here—won the Big-12 tournament, that was also really exciting.”
“Tad Boyle?” Betty asked her sister. When Peggy confirmed, she said, “Pac-12 you mean.”
“What did I say?” Peggy wondered.
“Big 12,” Betty answered.
“Oh no, the Pac-12 tournament in basketball.”
“Yeah, that was really exciting,” Betty said.
As for the upcoming basketball season, the two said they could not be more excited to watch the men and women sail to victory.
“Of course,” Betty said. “We always think we’re going to win, and we’re surprised when we don’t. We’re supposed to win!”
You can look for the twins in the VIP section by the tunnel in the Coors Events Center throughout the basketball season. They’ll be at almost every game dressed in matching yellow sweaters and pom poms as they cheer on the Buffs.
“We’re glad we can come here and we can still do it,” Betty said.
Contact CU Independent staff writer Alissa Noe at email@example.com.