By, Rosalia Cefalu, Contributor
If you’ve attended a basketball game this fall, you know music isn’t the only sound coming from the pep band’s section of the Draddy bleachers. Their friendly competitive banter accompanied by eye-catching signs are an essential part of game night’s live entertainment.
One sign in particular has been getting lots of laughs from the stands this season. The mop guy sign, which Pep band member Max Toder calls his favorite, recognizes the student-workers who mop the court after there has been high-intensity action near the hoop that may lead to sweat accumulating on the floor. This must be cleaned up immediately following one of these plays, as it can present a slipping hazard.
The sign is meant as a way for pep band members to acknowledge the efforts of these workers in a fun way that engages the crowd. The crowd truly matches the energy they bring to successful foul shots and Jasper-favoring referee calls when it comes to these students coming onto the court with their mops in-hand.
“We don’t think mop guys get enough recognition for their hard work, so we wanted to make a sort of ‘Thank you’ gift card we could give them everytime we see them hard at work,” Toder said.
Pep band member Emily Peters also spoke to the Quad about their game-day rituals. When asked about the friendly teasing that goes on during games she mentioned some of their usual chirps.
“From the time I was a freshman, members of the band have been yelling out random cringy things during foul shots such as ‘number blank eats cereal with a fork’ and ‘your sock is untied,’” Peters said.
The Pep Band has found that simply shouting at opposing players doesn’t have the same effect as their witty one-sided conversations.
“After heavy research, we have found that just shouting or screaming doesn’t work as well as one would hope,” Toder said. “A confusing statement seems to work best, something to confound the players for long enough that they miss their shot.”
The Pep Band’s banter is typically kept civil, but according to Toder resulted in the suspension of the squad in 2017. Since then, it seems they have been good sports about the competition.
“I felt that they were too harsh, but maybe they wanted to make sure it didn’t happen again,” Toder said.
“In later years, they stuck to letting us know if they thought something was too much to be shouting at the games, or even when they thought a shout was good!”
Peters also spoke to the band’s continued support for the mop guys.
“We are also proud to be the only pep band that acknowledges the mop people, we want them to know that they are appreciated and a vital part of the game,” Peters said.
As the season goes on, it will be exciting to see how the pep band continues to toe the line and craft new crowd pleasing banter. And for the mop guys, hopefully they keep up the great work. Jasper Nation really does appreciate all that they do.