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UMBC side shows always make things fun

UMBC pep band

There is not much to say other than it was a terrible night for the UMBC men’s basketball team as Vermont ran away early on their way to a 99-54 victory. There was not much defense being played by UMBC as the Catamounts made nearly 70-percent of their shots. And UMBC’s offense was limited as they were dealing with the absence of Rodney Elliott for a second-straight game.

But UMBC never fails to create an exciting atmosphere for a basketball game.

It was alumni day for the Retrievers. The band that is always great anyway, was even greater with graduates returning to play along with the current group. The dance team and cheerleaders brought back some girls who used to be in their place not too long ago too.

So while the game may have been one to forget, UMBC showed once again the value of creating a great atmosphere for an athletic event, especially at a college game.

Many programs miss the mark on this. Often times during time outs or stoppages there is just the rumble of the crowd. No band playing because it is not their scheduled time to play and the director does not make an adjustment. No dancing or cheering. Just a lot of waiting for the game to pick back up.

But at UMBC, even when you are watching Vermont score almost at will, it’s hard not to have a smile on your face because the people in the band are rowdy and very funny.

The alumni group was headed up again by Matt Basch, who returned to Baltimore for the game from Honolulu, Hawaii. He accepted a job out there had to leave being the director of the Down and Dirty Dawg Band that he held following a long-tenure by Jari Villanueva, but he carried on the great tradition. When it was announced over the PA system that he was leading the band, he got a standing ovation from the crowd and even the basketball team had to clap to show their support.

Paul Wetzstein had done and incredible job too as Basch’s replacement, keeping the play list fun and modern, but at the same time classic for UMBC. Bruce Channel’s ‘Hey Baby’ was a hit in 1962, but has been a fixture at UMBC basketball games since 10 years ago when Stasi Kowaleski was dazzling the audience with her ability to twirl a baton better than anybody in the world (seriously, she has World Championships to prove it). The song just stuck and remains a hit at UMBC basketball games.

And what can you say about the drum line that isn’t incredible?

But even more than just the pep band, the entire experience is great. The half-court shot contest is always intense. It never gets old watching two little kids put on XXXL basketball shorts and trying to run in size 16 shoes to make a basket. The chicken toss seems like it would be a hokey event, but it is a great side show and it all creates a fun night out, no matter what the final score might have been.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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