Last Friday, Iona College introduced their men and women basketball team in a pep rally known as Maroon Madness, but it really should had been called “Maroon Sadness.” The idea for the pep rally is to get students hyped for the upcoming season but it barely, if not, failed to meet its goal.
For starters, Maroon Madness started fifteen to twenty minutes past the original start time which was 9:00 pm. By doing this, a mob of students waited impatiently in the bitter cold. When the event finally started, the lights went out and only a bit of students got up from their seats and started cheering. There was one section of students that remained seated like they didn’t know what was going or had no sense of school spirit. But you can’t blame them because once the lights went out there was no reason to cheer. The only thing that happened was a video of a group of Iona students singing the school song.
I understand the idea of representing the school but that video wasn’t necessary for this particular event. After the video, the lights came back on and the school’s pipe band started playing while entering the gymnasium. The pipe band is a school tradition since this is an Irish school but one must remember this is a basketball pep rally. I can see the pipe band playing before an Iona rugby game but not at Maroon Madness.
The school’s dance and cheerleading team performed then the men’s and women’s basketball team was introduced. I thought Maroon Madness could redeem itself at this point of the night but it didn’t. Two hype videos on the basketball teams played but they were sub par. Once the videos were over, the coaching staff of the girl’s team came out followed by the men’s basketball coaching staff. They waved to the crowd and threw t-shirts but that was it.
The players were introduce one by one. First a player on the women’s basketball team walked out followed by a player on the men’s team. They were suppose to throw out t-shirts but almost half of them forgot to do so. One of the men’s basketball players threw a basketball into the stands. Luckily no one got hurt. The last player to come out was men’s basketball senior guard AJ English and nothing really happened after that. The lights came on then everyone in attendance left.
Maroon Madness was a waste of forty minutes. Being that the event as a whole lasted less than one hour was a complete let down. The event looked like it was put together without any form of creative thinking. I get that Iona College is not Kentucky or Duke but it’s still a Division I school with two solid basketball teams. There were some many things the school could have done that would have made Maroon Madness more enjoyable and longer than an episode of “SpongeBob.”
One idea is that Maroon Madness should have started off with a basketball hype video instead of students singing the school song. It’s a basketball event not a school assembly. Secondly, the school should have a pep band to perform instead of a pipe band. There is a time and place for a pipe band, but Maroon Madness was not the place. At least with a pep band, they are able to play instrumental versions of songs people are familiar with.
The fan interaction was terrible. There were some students cheering and others looking at their phones. Maroon Madness should have done more with the students. For example, have one to three people come up and try to shoot a half court shot or see how many three pointers someone could make in one minute. Maroon Madness could have done a competition seeing which side was the loudest and whoever won gets free t-shirts. Speaking of t-shirts, Maroon Madness didn’t bother to sell any Iona basketball merchandise which was another let down. The event could have done a raffle and the winner would get free ticket to the big rivalry game against Manhattan.
The players should have been able to do more than walking out on the floor and showing themselves off. They could had done a three-point competition between the top shooters on the men’s and women’s team. A dunk contest would have been nice too. That would really get students pumped up and a reason to tweet about Maroon Madness. A scrimmage between the players would have been exciting to see. But I guess Iona wanted to be different from other schools by not giving up their fan base something worth watching.
Kentucky had a video of Drake on the court and 2 Chainz appeared at Georgetown’s midnight madness. I know Iona probably couldn’t get someone at their level to come to Maroon Madness but it’s something to think about in the future. Since the school is in New York, they could try to get a player from one of the professional football, basketball, baseball or even hockey teams to come out. It doesn’t have to be a sports icon. It could be a music artist or an actor. Just find a way to bring someone who would give people a reason to show up. Imagine if Iona said Odell Beckham Jr. was coming to Maroon Madness. There would be a lot of people attending just to see Odell himself. Lastly, Maroon Madness lacked a hype man/women. With events like Maroon Madness, there should be a person that gets on the mic and gets the crowd going.
Overall, Maroon Madness hardly lived up to the expectations of getting people ready for the new season. There was no effort put into it and I’m not the only one that noticed it. Some Iona students believed Maroon Madness could have been better and it was too short. One student actually thought his high school basketball pep rally was better than Maroon Madness. If a student thought that, then there’s a problem. The school might as well skipped Maroon Madness and had students wait until the season start. They will probably have a better time watching a game than what they saw on Friday.
Was there any good things about Maroon Madness? Yes, there was. It got me out of my dorm room that night. Besides that, Maroon Madness made me feel like I was at a high school event instead of a college. Hopefully next year, there is some thought when putting together Maroon Madness.
Ryan McFadden is the founder of Inside The Locker Room and an alumni from DeMatha Catholic High School. He is now a freshman at Iona College and plans to major in Mass Communication. Follow him on Twitter @RMcFadden15
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