Terp of the Week: The Fans!
Feb. 22, 2013
Each week during the 2012-13 season a Maryland student-athlete, who has shown excellence on and off the playing field, will be selected as the Solomon Eye Associates Terp of the Week. We've mixed it up a bit and this week's Solomon Eye Associates Terp of the Week is the fans from men's basketball.
By Anna LaBonte | Maryland Media Relations Student AssistantLoud, crazy, passionate. Maryland students have been called numerous things in the past, but choreographed and coordinated have never made the list.
During the Terps' win over Duke on Feb. 16, fans inside Comcast Center got to see a new side of the students. A flash mob in the first half and Harlem Shake in the second riled up the crowd as Maryland completed the upset.
Assistant Athletics Director of Marketing Carrie Blankenship and senior Megan Piluk, a member of the dance team, had the idea to do a flash mob at some point after winter break. After looking at the schedule, they realized there was only one choice: Duke. Students were let into Comcast three hours before tipoff, giving enough time for choreography, and they'd already be pumped for the big game.
Piluk was tasked with choreographing all 4,000 students. She practiced the dance moves with her family over winter break to gauge how difficult the moves were to learn. Once she had her song list finalized and dance moves approved, Piluk looked for a creative way to start the flash mob.
In came the Turgeonites. The students who sit behind the Maryland bench dressed like Mark Turgeon are fan favorites for their devotion to the coach.
"I got the idea for it to start with the Turgeonites when I was dancing on the court at one of the games and saw them out of the corner of my eye breaking out some coordinated dance moves," said Piluk. "Right away I thought that they would be perfect to start the flash mob so I went up and talked to them after the game and they seemed really excited to get involved."
Even with everything planned perfectly, Piluk and Blankenship didn't know how the students would take it.
"A lot of people have mixed feelings about flash mobs," said Piluk, "I was worried that the students were going to think it was a waste of time and not participate in it."
Although many students were apprehensive when rehearsal began, they soon bought in. Blankenship received numerous emails about the Harlem Shake and decided to add one for the second half.
"It was fun learning the dances," said junior Vince Gruse, a member of the pep band. "At first I thought it was going to be really lame, but the dances were easy and taught well, so it worked out."
As the game clock ticked down to the under-16 timeout, Terp fans loudly cheered for Maryland while the student section geared up for the first part of their surprise.
"The atmosphere was crazy," said Gruse. "I've never heard Comcast so loud." After pulling off the flash mob, the students went wild for the Harlem Shake in the second half. The excitement in Comcast was palpable, with many fans saying the building was louder than Cole. When the game was over, Maryland fans stormed the court to celebrate with the team.
"They were big," said sophomore guard Nick Faust after the game. "The crowd was into it almost every play. We got them into it and they just gave us a push at the end. You know, they're a great team and the crowd really helped us a lot."
While fans celebrated the win postgame, Maryland Athletics uploaded a video of the dances to YouTube. The flash mob had been great inside Comcast, but no one expected it to spread so rapidly outside College Park. The video has over 1.5 million views on YouTube and was featured on ESPN.
"Once I saw that the student section was going to actually participate, I knew it was going to be an Internet hit," said Gruse. "I'm surprised it hit over a million views though."
"When I saw that the flash mob was on ESPN I had so much Terp pride and wanted to thank everyone who participated in the dance at the game for giving life to the flash mob and turning my vision into a reality," said Piluk.
A week after the game, YouTube views continue to climb and people everywhere are seeing what Terp fans are made of.
"You're the best student section in the country," said director of athletics Kevin Anderson. "I want to thank you for your attendance, I want to thank you for your enthusiasm, I want to thank you for everything you did this past week and the entire season. But we're not finished yet. ... Keep doing what you do. Thank you and go Terps!"