The Saint Mary’s Spirit Team explores how to bring spirit to an un-spirited basketball season.
By Peyton Prebil
With Saint Mary’s basketball season in full swing, the University Credit Union Pavilion is packed with excited fans. The student section, the band, and the spirit team collectively join forces to build a powerful sporting environment. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the influential role that the spirit team holds to create a fun, game-day atmosphere has been forced to take a back seat.
“This basketball season will look different,” third-year spirit team member Alex Crivello said, “It will not hold the same electric energy as past seasons because we are unable to cheer for a big crowd.” During a “normal” sporting season, the spirit team cheers in at least two men and women’s basketball games a week.
Crivello described their typical schedule, “We typically have two game days a week starting in November up until the WCC tournament in Las Vegas in March.”
Third-year spirit team member Kate Young explained how exciting it is to be part of the game-day action in the University Credit Union Pavilion. “There is nothing like cheering in front of Gael fans,” said Young, “They are always so fun to perform for.”
As of right now, there are no plans for the spirit team to be involved in the upcoming basketball season. However, coach Cassandra Ngyuen explained that there is hope for the future. “Things do change daily and we are hopeful to be part of it in some ways.”
Until the spirit team is granted the green light to safely host events on campus to bring the Saint Mary’s community closer, they will continue to meet over Zoom. Crivello said, “We’ve been meeting over Zoom to practice cheers and to learn new dances in case we get to perform.”
In an attempt to deliver spirit to the Saint Mary’s community, Young explains the team's utilization of social media platforms. “Instagram has been our main way of spreading spirit in a COVID-friendly way”, Young said, “We have made ‘Meet the Team’ posts so our followers can get to know a little more about us.”
To expand, Young explained, “We are also hoping to start a Tik Tok to create exciting content for Gael fans.” The team wants to post cheers, dance routines, and their own spins of popular Tik Tok trends.
“It has definitely been challenging to brainstorm the different ways we can virtually pump-up SMC fans for basketball season,” Coach Ngyuen said, “We are doing the best we can and will continue to explore our options.”
The spirit team plans to uphold their active social media status in order to distribute virtual spirit during this unusual basketball season.
Victoria Vidales '21,