The Esbjornson Gymnasium had a plethora of people filed out the door on Thursday, Nov. 4, as Rowan After Hours (RAH) and Rowan Athletics geared up to host their inaugural Midnight Madness event. Lines started to form as early as 9:45 p.m. outside the gym for a chance to see the Rowan men’s and women’s basketball teams compete in fun activities and giveaways.
Anyone who attended Thursday night knows how electric the atmosphere was — buzzing. The gym was jam-packed as almost every seat was filled, reaching close to max capacity.
“Honestly I am so shocked, there is a line out the door right now. We’ve seen a ton of community members and also a ton of students come out. It’s been a great night so far,” said Sydney Hartman, Graduate Coordinator for RAH.
Considering Rowan’s close proximity to Philadelphia, it was shocking to witness the large turnout while the Phillies were playing a World Series game and the Philadelphia Eagles went 8-0 during Thursday Night Football.
“Actually, we were debating if we were going to do some sort of live stream or kind of how we can incorporate that into the event,” said Hartman. “But seeing this many students come out, who want to support the event and also know that the Phillies are in the World Series and everything like that is really cool to see,” Hartman said.
Planning events such as Midnight Madness are no easy task considering there are months of meetings and planning that go into it.
“So for this event, we worked closely with Rowan Athletics so there was a lot of planning. Our first meeting happened in June and we started to get the ball rolling with what we wanted at the event and how we were going to market it to students,” said Hartman.
RAH had activities for the fans such as an oversized inflatable slide and a 360-degree photo booth as well as plenty of snacks. While this was taking place, the real show was coming to fruition.
The night started out with a half-court competition, where the contestants had to make the basketball into the net from half-court. Students were selected from the stands by their ticket number, which every participant received when they checked in for the event. The prize for making the long-range shot was 500 Rowan Bucks, but unfortunately, no one ended up winning the prize.
“It was fun and it was a lot of pressure because there was 500 rowan bucks, I would be set for the rest of the year. I told myself don’t miss and I was just right there, I almost hit it,” said Donato Bazemore, a freshman at Rowan University and contestant in the half-court competition.
Rowan’s men’s and women’s basketball teams took over from this point on with a three-point challenge. Each team was timed to see how many three-pointers they could make. They played three rounds, resulting in the men’s team winning three out of the four games.
Other events included a dance routine, a cheerleading performance, a men’s five-on-five scrimmage and a woman’s five-on-five scrimmage.
The night concluded with a dunk contest with members of the men’s basketball team. Judges were chosen to rate dunks on a scale from one to ten.
Talent was shown as players showed off their swagger and skill in the competition. Contestants were windmilling, going in between the legs and jumping over people to gain style points.
Midnight Madness was a huge success in many people’s eyes, especially Mandy Jiang, the Assistant Athletic Director for Compliance and Academic Support for Rowan Athletics.
“I did not expect so many students and fans to come out. Obviously, we are really excited for the basketball season,” Jiang said. “I look forward to putting on events like this for all the other sports as well.”
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