MU stauffer-wolfe arena
Manchester Madness was held in the Stauffer-Wolfe arena in the PERC.
Photo provided by MU Athletics

Manchester Madness Makes Triumphant Return

Tristen Bronaugh

Manchester Madness ended its 3-year hiatus, as Dr. Sun Kang’s Events and Facilities Management class put together a proper introduction for the 2022-23 men’s and women’s basketball teams.

What is Manchester Madness? “The biggest event in Manchester history,” sophomore Colin Turner shouted. Manchester Madness is an event for students to meet and get involved with the university’s men’s and women’s basketball teams. This involves walkout introductions for each player on the teams and getting the opportunity to play a few games with the players.

The goal is for students to build a connection with both teams so that when they play at home students come and cheer them on.

This year’s Madness was held on Halloween night, inside Stauffer-Wolfe Arena. There, students from Kang’s class greeted each person with smiling faces and fist bumps. They also passed out raffle tickets for the chance to win signed Pacers memorabilia and other sports merchandise.

Closer to the gym, sounds of base and snare drums were booming. The hype music playing created an adrenaline-pumping vibe, as if the entire student body was preparing for the big game. But instead of holding players in uniforms, the seats were full of students in their Halloween costumes, laughing and conversing with one another.

President Dave McFadden opened the event by being met by an uproar of applause from the crowd. As the crowd quieted down he delivered a powerful speech thanking everyone for coming out and emphasizing of the return of Manchester Madness. He ended his speech by saying, “I want you to show up to the men’s and women’s basketball games in the same numbers as today.”

As the lights dimmed and the colorful strobe lights turned on, the teams were introduced. Each player ran out as their name was called and got an ovation from the crowd. On the men’s side first years Elijah Davis and Mike Elliot got the crowd roaring. On the women’s side, the crowd got thunderous for sophmore Alexis Porter and fifth-year Bridget Nash.

Then it was game time, starting with the Dizzy Bat Sack Relay. Four men and four women from the basketball teams went out to the crowd and picked a partner. After they split into two teams on each side, a person from each team had to hop in a sack to half-court, spin around a bat six times, and then make any shot on the opposing basket. Whichever team finished everything one time through won.

Before the game started a wave of students ran out and showered the crowd with free t-shirts. This was unexpected by the crowd and became a continuous event before every game was played.

After the game, women’s coach Josh Dzurick and men’s coach Nate Conley took the floor. Coach Dzurick started by thanking every student for coming to support the teams. Coach Conley asked for a round of applause for students being there, but also for Kang and his class for the hard work they put in to get Manchester Madness organized.

“The students mean so much to both teams,” Conley said. “Other teams don’t like playing here because of you guys!” This got the crowd off their feet with applause. Conley finished his speech by getting the crowd to the “OH oh oh oh chant,” a popular chant among college sports.

Next was the second game, musical chairs. Two players from each team grabbed someone from the crowd to take part. The women were on the left side of the gym and the men were on the right. Both sides were competitive as students timidly circled the chairs but sophomore Duriel Moss won on the men’s side and junior Peyton Horne won for the women.

After musical chairs, it was time for the costume contest, judged by Pres Dave. Students in their costumes rushed to the gym floor. There were a lot of notable costumes but in the end, it was a white sheet ghost costume that took first, as it reminded the president of his childhood.

After everyone got back to their seats it was time for the final event, the three-point contest. There were two sides (men and women) one person from each side went head to head. Whoever made five threes the fastest won the round and went on to the final.

Rounds one and two were tough for both sides, the men’s side barely winning each time. It wasn’t until round three that contestants started making shots. The women’s side took round three. In the fourth round, it was all women’s side as they started strong while the men couldn’t get going. In the fifth round, the men’s side struck back with a strong performance and took the round.

In the final round, each winner had five shots whoever made the most won. The crowd was on their feet as they watched the contestants take their shots. In the end, it came down to a tie between the women from round three and the man from round five.

As the night came to an end they read off the winning raffle ticket numbers. For a moment it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop, until the loud shriek of a student who realized their winning ticket was called.

The event ended electrically with Pres Dave calling for all the students to come down on the court and join him in the Manchester fight song. Students rushed the court surrounding Pres Dave and the fight song began.

“Manchester Spartans hail to thee! Hail to the black and gold, Hail to victory! Fight for her colors, fight for honor too! Hail to Manchester, hail to you! Manchester, Manchester, fight, fight, FIGHT!”