by Isabel Marhoun
Midnight madness kicked off the basketball season on Sunday, Oct. 20. It took place at the Bob Martinez Athletics center and started the practice season for the Tampa women’s and men’s basketball teams.
Midnight Madness has been an on-going tradition since 2000. Larry Marfise has been the University of Tampa athletic director for 20 years now and when he came to UT, he started the tradition of Midnight Madness at UT.
“It started because most programs had an official start date of Oct. 15 for practice,” said Marfise. “It then would start a minute after midnight on Oct. 15 instead of a regular practice in the afternoon because it was a way to get fans out to see the teams so that hopefully once the season started attendance would be higher.”
At this year’s Midnight Madness beginning at 10:30 p.m., there was a pre-show event sponsored by Athletic Marketing and Student Productions. The actual show began at 11 p.m. and went until midnight. The show is put on as a way to attract people and start the season out on a high note of school spirit.
“[Midnight Madness] helps give a sense of school pride and unity at the university,” said Marfise. “We started to do it on a Sunday because in past years when it was hosted on a Friday or Saturday people would often leave way before it was over. But on a Sunday, not many students have late-night plans, so the turnout is usually a lot bigger.”
Many different organizations performed for the pre-game show. Food, games, and entertainment occupied students for the whole night. The Spanish Dance Team, Cheerleading, the Unified Dance Team and the Spartan Scarlets all performed in front of the packed crowd.
Katie Diesing, sophomore education major, shared her past experience with Midnight madness.
“My favorite part [of last year’s show] was the thrill and the excitement of being able to perform for the first time on a new team in front of UTampa students,” said Diesing. “The atmosphere was so exciting and there was positive energy radiating throughout the whole gym.”
All of the teams had a run-through of the show the Friday before it happened. They need to have the run-through so everyone will know where to go and for the show to run as efficiently as possible.
Mya Giusto, freshman point guard, described the walk-through and what she expected from her first year at Midnight madness.
“We walk through step by step the order of the games and events going on for the night. It is gonna be a fun and good time,” said Giusto. “I’ve heard it’s packed full and I am hoping for the same thing this year.”
The women’s team will have their first game on Friday, Nov. 8 at the Spartan Crossover Tournament, and the men’s team will play their first gave the following day: Saturday, Nov. 9 at the Crossover Classic Tournament.
Isabel Marhoun can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org