Basketball season began with a slam dunk on Wednesday with Sonoma State University’s annual Midnite Madness celebration. Midnite Madness is the team’s first official day of practice, commemorating the start of the college basketball season. A large pep rally is traditionally held the night before the first game of the season, with events lasting until midnight.
This year the event started at 10:30 p.m. but the madness didn’t actually last until midnight as the celebration came to a close at 11:30 p.m.
Even with the early ending, the Wolves’ Den was packed to maximum capacity with cheering Sonoma State students, faculty and Lobo himself decked out in Seawolf gear. Only half of the gym was used so seating was limited with the huge turnout. The first 200 people to arrive received a free Noma Nation t-shirt courtesy of Sonoma State Associated Students Productions. There was also a chance for a student to win their spring tuition by shooting a basket from half-court but unfortunately the basket was missed.
There was a DJ playing top music hits as well as some classic throwbacks that kept the spirited vibe up throughout the night. There were two student MC’s who kept the crowd energized and introduced all of the events and sports teams.
The night kicked off with activities like a gum chewing contest, where students had to find a piece of gum from an audience member and race back to the court to chew it and blow a bubble. Midnite Madness isn’t just about basketball either, the event celebrates all of Sonoma State’s sports teams.
Each team walked out to upbeat music and tossed Seawolf swag, like Sonoma State license plate frames, into the cheering crowd.
“It’s great that Midnite Madness includes all sports teams, not just basketball,” said Junior Laleh Tchaparian. “It looked like everyone was having a fun time.”
After the sports teams were introduced the Sonoma State Sapphires performed their dance routine to a medley of hit songs.
There was a free-throw competition that involved audience members being blindfolded and attempting to make a basket, as well as a contest to see who could make a basket from the half court line.
“It was really fun to see everyone getting involved and showing school spirit,” said Sonoma State sophomore Kayley Dannelley.
The men’s and women’s basketball teams were introduced separately from the other sports teams. One member from both the men’s and the women’s team were introduced at the same time by the MC’s.
They entered from both sides of the gym to bumping music and the roar of the crowd as their pictures were projected onto a screen at each entrance. They handed out Sonoma State schwag to members in the crowd before returning to their seats with their teammates on the other side of the gym.
The last few activities of the night included a huge dance-off. Students were selected from the crowd and had to attempt the same dance moves as the MC, Garret Gooch, showed off his moves to a roaring response from the crowd.
One by one participants were tapped out until the winner was chosen. Even Lobo got in on the dance party and busted a move or two.
There was an organized group dance featuring members from each of the sports teams as well as the Sapphires.
Sonoma State Sophomore Mariah Velasquez said that this was her favorite part. “It’s great to see how much spirit our school has,” she said. This year’s Midnite Madness ended with a special performance from the Showtime Dunk Team.
Mats and trampolines were set up for the team to perform their complicated trick shots that had the crowd roaring. After the festivities concluded students had a chance to take a picture with Lobo before leaving.