Fans witness the birth of a tradition, SAGU Snowstorm
Waxahachie, TX – November 16, 2011 – During Southwestern Assemblies of God University’s (SAGU) Men’s Basketball game against Sterling College (KS), Saturday, November 12, fans launched more than 2,000 pingpong balls onto the court to celebrate after senior Ronald Horne converted a shot inside the lane. Horne’s shot marked the first home basket in the first home game of the season and began a new SAGU tradition – the SAGU Snowstorm.
Head Men’s Basketball Coach Donnie Bostwick organized the event and explained his view that traditions are some of the most enjoyable moments of college athletics. Regarding the origination of the SAGU Snowstorm, he shares, "My wife had mentioned to my kids that it rarely snows in Texas. That triggered the idea of throwing pingpong balls. It is harmless, but still has a pretty cool effect. Plus, it’s a great marketing tool to get fans out to see our first game."
Cheerleaders, players and other volunteers successfully cleared the pingpong balls from the court in less than five minutes. The referees enforced an administrative technical foul against the Lions. "We believed the risk of suffering a technical foul was worth the reward of pulling more fans to the game," says Bostwick.
College sports are known for peculiar traditions. In football, Auburn University (AL) has the Tiger Walk where thousands of fans gather along Donahue Drive two hours before the game to cheer for the players as they walk to the stadium. Ole’ Miss fans tailgate on game days in formal attire at The Grove, a 10-acre patch of grass in Oxford, Mississippi. In basketball, John Brown University (AR) fans throw toilet paper rolls in the air after the first basket of the first home game. The Friday before fall semester finals, Taylor University (IN) fans participate in "Silent Night.” Dressed in pajamas, fans remain silent until the Trojans make their 10th point and then cheer for five full minutes.
When asked about the timing of SAGU’s newly forged tradition, Bostwick explains, "It needed to happen after the first point or at the final buzzer if we won. But, holding on to that many pingpong balls until the end of the game did not seem wise, and throwing them at the end did not seem sportsmanlike.” He continued, "The opposing coach thought it was a great idea and, of course, welcomed the points from the technical.”
Overall, players and fans had a positive reaction to the event. “We are so appreciative of the fan support. Playing in front of great fans is a huge advantage, and we are lucky to have them at SAGU,” shared Bostwick.
SAGU Vice President of Business and Finance Jay Trewern said, “The anticipation in the stands was a lot of fun. People were laughing and looking forward to that first basket. It also put extra pressure on the team to score at the start of the game.” Trewern’s sentiment was illustrated by the crowd’s audible sighs after each of the first three SAGU shots missed.
SAGU won the game 76-72. They remain undefeated (4-0) with wins against The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, St. Gregory’s University and Dallas Christian College. Their next game will be against Oklahoma Christian University, Saturday, November 19, at 7 p.m. in the Sheaffer Full Life Center Gymnasium.
Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) is a private, Christian university located 30 minutes south of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Waxahachie, Texas. The University was established in 1927, and now offers more than 60 associate, bachelor’s or master’s degrees on campus or online. More information is available at www.sagu.edu or by calling 1-888-YES-SAGU.