by Catherine Brewer ’20
Excitement swirled in the air as a sea of black and white filled the towering bleachers of Mullaney Gymnasium this past Saturday night. It was time for Late Night Madness: Providence College’s inauguration of the 2017-2018 season for the Men’s and Women’s Division I Basketball teams. Students waited with anticipation for the student performances, the sage words of emcee Doris Burke ‘87, as well as the concert featuring 23-year-old rapper Lil Uzi Vert that was to follow in Peterson Recreation Center.
The cheerleading team was the first to hit the floor, bursting with energy and boasting synchronized back handsprings. “The electricity level was ramped up and they found new ways to get the people going,” applauded Patrick Quilty ’20, who looked on from the stands.
The expected lull between performances was quickly filled with student voices, as Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” blasted out of the speakers and brought everyone to their feet in dance. The sudden display of student unity was refreshing and spoke to the main theme of the event, as later bellowed by Coach Cooley: “Us. We. Together. Family. Friars.”
A diverse variety of dance performances were next to sweep spectators off of their feet. The Step Team was the first to make waves with their dynamic stomp performance, followed by the Irish Dance Club, PC Dance Club, PC Dance Company, Motherland Dance Group, BMSA, and the renowned PC Dance Team. Katie Printer ‘18, captain of the team, expressed that they will be returning to Nationals after claiming the #7 spot in this past year’s competition. The team took the stage with a feisty, fresh edge, as they are now incorporating hip hop into their routines. “We wanted to do something fun and something to hype up the crowd!” Printer exclaims. “Basketball season is always our favorite part of the year, and we just wanted to get everyone on campus as excited as we are, so that was what we were hoping to do with our fun hip hop dance.”
Darkness fell over the gym for the announcement of the winner of Providence College Television’s “Make Some Madness” hype video competition, which had been taking submissions until Wednesday. Students were encouraged to grab a couple of fanatic friends to make a video demonstrating school spirit and lasting under two minutes. The videos were posted by PCTV on YouTube, and the voting was based on the number of likes each one accrued. “Rise up, Friartown,” proclaimed Men’s Basketball Head Coach Ed Cooley at the premiere of the 39 second video that took first place, “The Time is NOW!” The top students also received a $500 gift card, and the second and third place submissions were awarded $250 and $100 gift cards, respectively.
After opening remarks from Athletic Director Bob Driscoll, NBA sideline reporter and color analyst Doris Burke ’87 took the floor to introduce this season’s basketball teams. Burke began with her alma mater, the women’s team. The athletes and coaches danced onto the court one by one to their favorite songs, including Allegra Botteghi ‘18 and Brianna Frias ‘18, who are both entering their senior season. After a few words from Coach Jim Crowley, the team lined up and whipped and nae-naed to iAmDLOW’s “Do It Like Me,” sending the crowd wild.
Next up was the men’s team, featuring five seniors: Rodney Bullock ‘18, Emmitt Holt ‘18, Jalen Lindsey ‘18, Kyron Cartwright ‘18, and Tom Planek ‘18. The team was followed by Cooley, who applauded the Friar Family, exclaiming, “We have the greatest fans in America!” The team will host Carleton University at the Dunkin Donuts Center on Oct. 28 at 4 p.m.
Despite the wealth of school spirit at the event, the attendance seemed slightly less than last year. Ava Merz ’20, who attended the event as a spectator, said, “Compared to last year though, I was disappointed with the turnout and the hype wasn’t as present as the year before. There wasn’t even a wait to get in.”
The primary reason for this was the separation of the Lil Uzi Vert concert. Instead of having Uzi perform in Mullaney, the crowd moved over to Peterson. While men’s basketball season ticket holders received free, priority access, the remainder of the student body was able to purchase tickets for $30 each. However, the toll that this decision took on Madness was minimal, as the gym saw only a few more empty seats and experienced a far smoother transition than in previous years.
Despite slightly lower turn-out, many students enjoyed celebrating one of PC’s sports traditions. Merz commented, “Madness is always something I look forward to. Having everyone come together to support our basketball team and seeing all the performances reminds me what the Friar Family is all about.”