Thursday, October 05, 2006
Midnight Mania--Part II
In the first of two guest posts on Midnight Mania, Scarlet provides insights on the atmosphere and enthusiasm at the event. She also took this photo of four sophomores (L-R, Higgins, McCarthy, Gilroy and Lawrence) with Rhett.
I arrived at Walter Brown Arena 9 pm. My friends and I walked in and immediately went to our old seats. After sitting in them for about 10 minutes, the stroll down memory lane was over as we all realized how uncomfortable the benches were. Yes, the old barn has a lot of charm and some awesome memories, but sadly, not very comfortable seating. My friend Laura was emceeing the festivities so I was able to hang out with her down at ice level, on the bench. It was an interesting perspective.
The doors opened prior to 11pm and for about a half hour, there was a solid stream of students entering the building. The band was out in full force. I forgot how the sound bounces off the low ceiling. They were playing prior to everyone getting there and wow, loud. And good. The team was hanging out on the ice, not dressed yet. I would have liked to have gotten the reaction from the freshmen and sophomores, as I'm sure they didn't know what to expect.
Thirty seconds after Section 8 filled up, they all did their infamous Song, to Rough em Up. Nice. Not even here a full minute and they're already swearing, and right after a get together up in Case Gym with Dean Elmore and Mike Lynch. But wait! A student leans over to tell me they're saying "Puck em Up", not using the F-word. Sure, that makes it all better.
The music alternates between the band and the DJ. The students are all standing, chatting, chanting, just having fun. About 11:30, the games begin. Laura heads out on the ice with some students. She tries to explain the rules of the game about to be played, to no avail, no one can hear. Another thing I do not miss about WBA - the pretty lousy sound system. There was an electric car race, a Let's Make a Deal game (which gave me an opportunity to play Carol Merrill and display the envelope choices), an accurate shot game with these little teeny nets that I think the coaching staff should utilize to improve shot accuracy, and a Name That Tune game. During one of the breaks I chatted with Dan McGoff, pointed to Laura and told him that she was responsible for the very first Midnight Madness at Walter Brown. He was sufficiently impressed and proceeded to tell me he loves in WBA and wishes they still played there. So much for the $95 million palace on the next block.
The team was hanging out on the bench and definitely got a kick out of the goings on. They were particularly interested in signs some female fans were holding over in section 2. Ah, young lust. They were also confiscating most of the candy that Rhett was supposed to throw to the fans. "But I love Dots!!!" said Ryan Monaghan.
They were using the Zamboni entrance for the player entrance and there were red lights and a smoke machine - neither of which were used at prior Midnight Madnesses at WBA. Then, they lowered the lights and the team came out on the ice through all that-- pretty cool. The place was incredibly loud. The lights stayed off as the team lined up in front of the visitors bench. Jack skated out to say a few words. He touched upon the new swearing policy, amidst a few boos, then turned it over to Jim Prior for introductions. Again, a difference from previous MMs where the players lined up on the goal lines. And what would a Midnight Mania be without at least one incorrect player announcement? The more things change, the more they stay the same. This year it was Luke Popko.
Once that was all done, the lights came up, and the skating and passing drills began. I decided to walk around at this point and can't provide the best recap of the rest of the evening. Once the drills were over, the skills challenge began and the team had fun with it. Everyone got pumped for the start of the season, which Jack had to remind everyone was the exhibition on Saturday the 7th. I'm so glad they resurrected this event and held it at WBA. It definitely added to the festive atmosphere and brought back some great memories. But now, a new season begins and all is right in the world.