Texas and Midnight Sadness...

...the last few weeks, clips from various Midnight Madness sessions at schools from around the country have been popping up on YouTube.  Storied programs such as North Carolina, GeorgetownKentucky, and Indiana had rocking events.  Not to be left out, even schools such as YaleKansas State, Tarleton State, and NDSU held similar events.

Watching these clips provided a double punch to the stomach.  First, they serve as a reminder than Texas doesn't put on a similar event.  Second, they reminded me of the disastrous "Roundball Roundup" event from last year, which put the final nail in the coffin over never getting to see a "Midnight Madness" style event during my eventual seven years at Texas.

Much more after the jump...

***Please note that Roundball Roundup was LAST YEAR.  Texas didn't have a basketball kick-off event for this season, at least, not that I could tell****

Through receiving an e-mail as a "student leader", I heard about the RoundBall RoundUp event three weeks beforehand.  I knew the event was on life-support after I attended the event's "Information Session" and was one of five students in attendance. In case you missed it--which pretty much everyone did--here was the event description:

You are invited to the first annual Texas Basketball RoundBall RoundUp on Friday, October 26 at 7 pm at Gregory Gym!!! This event is the Texas version of Midnight Madness. The Texas Basketball RoundBall RoundUp will tip-off the Longhorns Men’s and Women’s Basketball seasons for 2007-2008. Both the men’s and women’s teams as well as the coaches will participate in this student-geared event. There will be many opportunities for students to win great prizes. There will also be contests between players and students. Details on Stampede and Ozone tickets will be explained during the event to make sure you know how gain access to Texas Basketball games this season with the purchase of your Longhorn All Sports Package (LASP). Texas-EX DJ Kurupt will keep the beat going on throughout the night. So come out and support your Texas Basketball teams as we begin this new tradition.

My first thought in reading this description was that there was *no actual basketball* involved.  I wanted to reserve judgment until after the event, but I was concerned about low turnout, especially after the Information Session.  Regardless of any concerns, I went with my sister and a few friends to the event--it was an unmitigated disaster.  The low turnout, silly contests, and excessively long explanation of ticket system provided for a very boring evening.  The contests involved a student attempting to drive against DJ Augustin (EPIC FAIL), and Rick Barnes and Gail Goestenkors looking at baby pictures of the players.

While the Spring Football game drew a litany of comments, only two BON readers commented on the event.  They weren't very positive:

Goingforthecorner wrote:

What a joke. I got there late but there weren't many people there at all. My friend played drum-set for the band, and he was telling me how stupid it was. Didn't help that they decided to do this on a Friday, where everyone's out partying.

The show itself was kinda corny too. There was one game where Gail and Barnes had to look at baby pictures of players and guess who they were. And I swear to God, if I hear that "Crank That Soulja Boy" song one more time, I'm going to kill a kitten.

This was just the first one though. Hopefully it'll get better and better each year. It was worth it though. They were handing out some big posters and the mens' poster was nice. Included the schedule too.

BigTexBD added his thoughts:

A joke, I agree

Barnes, Coach G, and the teams must have been pretty discouraged at the attendance.  The whole thing dragged incredibly.  I had to leave early (at 8), and am pretty sure I didn't miss a damn thing.  But it was cool to see the athletes up close, and to see how they were hangin out.

I'm already a Coach G fan for life.  She's full of energy and the girls love her.  You can tell its the start of something special.  Before the event began, the DJ was playing some remixed swing music, and she grabbed Barnes and made him dance with her.  Pretty entertaining.

I'd like to add a few thoughts to their comments, which provide the foundation behind this post.

1) While I also enjoyed watching Coach G grabbing Rick Barnes for a dance to liven up the crowd, there was one person who wasn't amused--Rick Barnes himself.  As soon as they broke away from their brief twirling routine, I told my sister that we were attending the first and last edition of the Roundball Roundup.  Rick Barnes has too much pride in himself and his program to dance around in front of 300+ fans in an attempt to sell more tickets.  When I went up to Barnes after the event, he looked embarassed for his team.  As he signed my poster, I imagine he was already planning the evisceration of whoever made him attend the event.

2) Unfortunately for goingforthecorner, there wasn't a chance for the event "to get better and better every year."  After shelving the Midnight Madness concept for several years, UT Athletics tried to bring it back in the different format of Roundball Roundup.  I was happy for the attempt, but its failure appears to resulted in a more permanent exodus for an official basketball kick-off event.  The margin-for-error with UT Basketball was far too small, and the three weeks of promotion were woefully inadequate to build up a base of support. 

3) The unanimous consensus for the event was "Man, that sucked, but I'm glad I got the autograph of the entire team on this sweet poster."  To date, my sister and I still have these posters proudly displayed in our rooms.  Many of my friends were happy to have skipped the event, but they have all said they wish they could have gotten the poster.  Regardless of getting autographs, not being able to meet the players this year was really disappointing...

In summary, it was really painful to watch all the Youtube clips of the various Midnight Madness sessions.  While even Tarleton State can get their fans fired up for their team, the Texas fanbase--and their top 10 team--is limping into the season opener on Friday.  It's just depressing...

 

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