JAY — This is the place where nearly everybody knows Suzanne Hebert’s name.

We are not talking about Sam Malone, Woody Boyd and Carla Tortelli — the risible characters on “Cheers.”

This is the Phoenix Dome, not a TV show about a Boston bar — and the 77-year-old Hebert, like Beantown-pub regulars Norm Peterson or Cliff Claven, is a fixture at Spruce Mountain home basketball games.

Well before Spruce Mountain existed, Hebert began attending sporting events at Jay High School as a 10-year-old.

“Oh I love it,” said Hebert, who used to play softball and basketball. “Oh yeah, they like me. I like every sport. I like football. I haven’t missed any this year.”

When you walk into the gym, you will find Hebert in the first row of where she sits courtside. She has no fear about sitting up front and being close to the action. Her eyes never leave the floor after the opening tip-off.

“She is a great asset to the school and is always at all the games,” Spruce Mountain athletic director James Black said. “She comes very early and stays for the whole thing.”

Winter’s cold nights won’t keep Hebert home, either. She often walks from her home to the school. She used to attend games with her husband, Andre Hebert, who passed away in 2010.

“She lives close enough so she walks to the games,” Spruce Mountain secretary Sally Boivin said. “She is usually the first one here because she wants to walk here during the daylight. And then there is always a good Samaritan — somebody that gives her a ride home. She doesn’t have to walk home in the dark.”

She is one of the Dome’s VIPs and friends treat her like she is the mayor of Jay. Fans smile at her or shake her hand when they pass her. Some people stop and speak with her. Those brief conversations usually end in a long hug.

They look after her like she was their grandmother, and in a way, she is Spruce Mountain’s loving and supportive matriarch.

“She is a loyal fan. Here at every game early,” said Spruce Mountain secretary Aurelie Merrill, who has known the No. 1 fan most of her life. “She is here every game.”

I sat beside her one night. She introduced herself with a bright smile and said, “I am the No. 1 fan.”

I wasn’t going dispute this clam from Spruce Mountain’s most enthusiastic spectator. No sir! This sweet woman, who is a lifelong resident of Jay, has plenty of devoted friends.

“I can remember her as far back as when my kiddos were in sports,” special education teacher Cyndy Paradis said. “She loves the kids in this community. I mean she really does. She is a constant visual supporter of these guys. She just enjoys watching a game in the community and things.

“I just think it is amazing for her age in that era that she grew up in — just all that she has accomplished and just to be a positive member of the community…it’s just remarkable. She always has a positive outlook. She is always incredibly friendly and supportive of all the kids here.”

Whenever I cover a game at the raucous Phoenix Dome, I sometimes sit beside her. She always greets me with her warm smile.

She watches me put my camera together to prepare to shoot another Phoenix showdown. She will peer over my shoulder when I am previewing pictures that I have taken. She is not shy when she likes a particular shot.

Suzanne Hebert insists she is Spruce Mountain’s No. 1 fan. Well, she’s certainly my No. 1 gal at the Phoenix Dome, but she also gave me a glimpse of how a tight-knit community of Samaritans takes care of one of its own with tender loving care.

Tony Blasi is sports editor for the Franklin Journal and Livemore Falls. He is also a staff editor at the Lewiston Sun Journal. He is email address is [email protected]

Suzanne Hebert watches the Spruce Mountain boys’ basketball team warms up in the Phoenix Dome in Jay.

Suzanne Hebert watches the Spruce Mountain boys’ basketball team warms up in the Phoenix Dome in Jay.

Suzanne Hebert watches Spruce Mountain’s Austin Darling warm up in the Phoenix Dome in Jay.

Suzanne Hebert watches Spruce Mountain’s Austin Darling warm up in the Phoenix Dome in Jay.

Suzanne Hebert checks out the crowd as the Spruce Mountain boys’ basketball team warm ups in the Phoenix Dome in Jay.

Suzanne Hebert checks out the crowd as the Spruce Mountain boys’ basketball team warm ups in the Phoenix Dome in Jay.

Suzanne Hebert enjoys a bag of popcorn she watches the Spruce Mountain boys’ basketball team in action at the Phoenix Dome in Jay.

Suzanne Hebert enjoys a bag of popcorn she watches the Spruce Mountain boys’ basketball team in action at the Phoenix Dome in Jay.

Suzanne Hebert checks out the crowd as the Spruce Mountain boys’ basketball team warms up in the Phoenix Dome in Jay.

Suzanne Hebert enjoys a bag of popcorn as she watches the Spruce Mountain boys’ basketball team in action at the Phoenix Dome in Jay.

Suzanne Hebert watches the Spruce Mountain boys’ basketball team warm up in the Phoenix Dome in Jay.

Suzanne Hebert watches Spruce Mountain’s Austin Darling warm up in the Phoenix Dome in Jay.

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