Manchester University
Oak Leaves

October 27, 2018

Manchester Madness 4

Soccer player Josh Gonzales and women’s basketball player Faith-Alexis Graham play musical chairs at Manchester Madness. 

Photo provided

Manchester Madness Kicks Off Basketball Seasons

Destinee Boutwell


On Friday night, I sat in silence in the University Safety Office working on homework. Suddenly there was the faint sound of sirens coming from outside. The safety officers grabbed their vests and coats and headed out to investigate what the commotion was all about. A few minutes later, Officer Latasha Henry came back and laid her water bottle on the desk. “You can clear us from the call,” she said. “People are out there on golf carts using sirens to promote Manchester Madness in the PERC tonight.”

As soon as the crowed stepped foot in the door of the PERC, they were greeted with hospitality and school spirit. A red carpet guided them down the hallway to the entrance of the gym. Along the way they were welcomed by staff and volunteers and they were given tickets for the night’s raffle prizes. The bleachers were sprinkled with people in Manchester apparel and excited to greet the men’s and women’s basketball teams. First-year Lizzie Smith said, “My first impression was that since not a lot of people were there, it wasn’t going to be that good, but it actually was really fun.”

At 8 p.m., the lights were lowered and event moderator Nick Melero kicked off the event by introducing the basketball teams. As members of the men’s and women’s teams ran out through the spirit tunnel formed by the Manchester cheerleading team, Melero shared fun facts about each of them. Each player threw three, miniature basketball stress balls into the crowd. “My favorite part of the night was when I got a basketball signed by one of the players,” said sophomore Levi Doe. “I was near the back of the crowd so I stood and waved my arms hoping that a ball would come my way. However, none of the players threw them far enough so one of my friends caught one for me.”

After the teams were on the court, Melero introduced the coaches. Men’s head coach Jerod Good’s spectacular dance moves gained emphatic approval from the crowd, as many got to their feet and joined him. “My favorite part of the evening was Coach Good’s grand entrance,” said women’s basketball player Carli Skinner. “I didn’t know he could dance like that! It shows that coaches aren’t always serious.”

The evening moved forward with the premiere of the basketball promotional video. The teams looked fierce as they dribbled, spun the ball on their finger and shot the ball with the gym dark around them Women’s Soccer Remains Hopeful and the spot light highlighting their performances. “The use of technology improved the introduction of the teams,” said senior Garrett Hartman. “If I was on the other team and saw the video, it would make me a little nervous about facing Manchester.”

The introduction of the team may have left chills on the flesh; however, another video aroused joy and laughter from the crowd as the men’s basketball team faced off against the women’s team in a ‘Dad Joke Challenge.’

“The dad jokes were hilarious,” Smith said. “By far they were the highlight of my evening.”

Hartman agreed with this sentiment. “My favorite joke was the beaver one,” he said with a chuckle. “I just saw a documentary about beavers. It was the best dam thing I’ve ever seen.” The event was not all about the basketball teams. Audience participation was very important. Two students were drawn at random to face each other in a three-point contest. The first student scored five three-point shots in two minutes. His opponent did not make a basket until the last 30 seconds, when she landed three shots in a row. Both basketball teams were on their feet cheering as the final seconds faded off the clock. “My favorite part of the evening was watching people from the crowd shoot the free throws for two minutes,” said first-year Hailey Whitworth. “It was funny and got the crowd to react.”

Later on in the evening, some people were pulled from the crowd to join some of the basketball players and the women’s head coach Josh Dzurick in a game of musical chairs. “I enjoyed how competitive the people participating in musical chairs were,” Smith said. It was a ruthless competition that gained a lot of excitement from the crowd. Students, athletes and staff were pushing each other out of the way, shoving each other out of the chair and sitting on each other’s laps.

The evening ended with everyone in the crowd joining President Dave McFadden on the gym floor to sing the Manchester fight song. As the voices of Manchester swelled, I was very conscious of the smile on my face and the pride in my heart.

“I really enjoyed the event,” Doe said. “It was a good way to spend my Friday night.” The women’s first game is Nov. 9 away at Adrian. A few days later on Nov. 13, the men travel to Purdue Fort Wayne for their first game of the season.

“Manchester Madness gets me so excited for season!” Skinner said. “I can’t wait for our first game.”