Inspired Shock Fan Drives Long Distance To Watch Skylar Diggins - KTUL.com - Tulsa, Oklahoma - News, Weather & Sports

Inspired Shock Fan Drives Long Distance To Watch Skylar Diggins

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We're all creatures of habit in some form or fashion-- for better or worse. When John Gaines' son took his own life several years ago, Gaines began to disconnect himself from the world.

"I got depressed," said Gaines during Thursday's Shock game against the Indiana Fever at the BOK Center in downtown Tulsa. "All I would do is go to work, then work. And then I'd go home and stay in my apartment. I wouldn't come out much because I feel for anybody who lost a kid. It was bad."

Sporting the green of the "Fighting Irish" isn't because Gaines is a fan of Notre Dame necessarily, but one of its former players: Skylar Diggins.

The star point guard's genuine passion and enthusiasm displayed on the court can be contagious to not only the other athletes taking, but to their fans as well. In this case, it's John Gaines.

"When she was a junior [at Notre Dame] I started having some of her games pulled up [on television.] The energy she puts on the court started affecting me. I've never missed any of her games on TV"

Gaines had never seen Diggins in person until this year when he bought Shock season tickets. His seat is courtside. Now retired from his job at a CVS national distribution office, Gaines hasn't missed a Shock home game. He always make the drive.

From Indianapolis.

"It says on my GPS it's 598 miles," Gaines explained. Even Skylar Diggins was impressed by the regular distances traveled just to see her play.

"That's just amazing to me," Diggins said after Thursday's game. "It's just humbling to have a fan like that; one that is just so loyal. He's always at the games here early. I always wave to him. He's just a great guy."

That's an interesting compliment considering Gaines and Diggins have never actually spoken. When asked on what he would say to her if given the opportunity, "I would just tell her how much she's helped me through all of this," Gaines replied.

"She's just a team player, it's such a good fit [with Tulsa.] They have a good team out here."

The Tulsa Shock's next game is Friday, August 2nd at 7:00 p.m. For more information about their upcoming schedule, check the Tulsa Shock's official website at www.tulsashock.net.

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