Dec 15, 2011, 2:36 PM EST
If you’re a regular ESPN viewer or just a big fan of college basketball, most likely you’ve heard of Taylor University’s Silent Night Game — a relatively new, once-a-year tradition at the tiny NAIA school in Upland, Indiana. The gist of it is that the crowd remains completely silent in the early portion of the game, but when the 10th point is scored, they erupt in bedlam.
Also featured: the capacity crowd at 2,265-seat Odle Arena sings Silent Night, everyone is dressed in wacky costumes (seen this year: penguin, Cindy-Lou Who, Batman, several gorillas), and afterward there’s a university-sponsored “Habecker’s Holipalooza” Christmas party. Featured activity there: the school president reads A Christmas Story to students.
The patient tradition isn’t even two decades old; it began in the early ‘90s when longtime Taylor coach Paul Patterson got the suggestion from an assistant on staff. It’s a blend of basketball and Christmas cheer, sort of an initiation into the holiday season that comes before cramming for the end-of-semester blitz.
“It’s so bizarre, that first 10 points. You can’t speak. You can encourage the guys, but you can’t do anything,” Patterson said Friday night, referring to typical coach gyrations and screams. “Then it (the 10th point) comes and the game gets to be a really high intensity.”
Halftime entertainment? Oh yes … this year about 100 girls stormed the court and danced to Justin Bieber’s Little Drummer Boy, prompting Bieber himself to forward a tweet about it. This is all just stupid enough to be completely awesome. We approve: Carry on, Taylor University.
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