Midnight Madness, known for slam dunks and down court dribbles, kicked off Nov. 9 at California Baptist University in the Van Dyne Gymnasium. As one of the most anticipated events of the school year, Midnight Madness drew crowds as students packed the gym for a night of music, 3-point and slam dunk competitions and energy, featuring CBU’s men’s and women’s basketball teams.
For the pre-party, students crowded in front of Van Dyne to watch Dream Junkies, a hip-hop trio made up of artists Beleaf, Ruslan and John Givez.
As green spotlights battled with blue glow sticks, Dream Junkies fed off the students’ energy as they encouraged the crowd to approach the stage and sing along with them.
Students with the exclusive tickets to enter the actual event flooded the gym, greeted by high-fives and fist bumps from the teams. The area around the stage turned into a swarm of bodies and glow sticks as the anticipation grew.
Each athlete was introduced as they crossed the stage, engaging with the crowd. The women’s team performed a dance and the freshmen on the men’s team sang a song.
The cheer team performed and the Crazies taught the students cheers.
“The student body appreciates doing that kind of stuff and we definitely appreciate everyone that puts that together,” said Jordan Heading, junior kinesiology major and guard for the men’s basketball team. “It’s an event people look forward to so that’s important.”
The night had an atmosphere of community as students interacted with each other and the athletes.
Michael Smith, senior business administration major and team captain and guard for the men’s basketball team, said the interaction with students is one of his favorite aspects.
“Sometimes we don’t get to see every student here because everyone’s doing their own thing, but to have one night for the basketball team to interact with the students is really cool,” Smith said.
This year’s event was historic as it was the last time the event would be held in the Van Dyne Gym.
Emily Thomas, senior behavioral science major, said she has attended every year since she was a freshman.
“I love basketball and this is an awesome event that I always come to,” Thomas said, “It’s great to just come, be a community, listen to good music and enjoy our athletics program.”
For some of the players, the night was one of lasts.
Cassidy Mihalko, senior business administration major and guard for the women’s basketball team, was participating in her last Midnight Madness.
“It’s kind of bittersweet,” she said. “I’m sad that I won’t be able to see what CBU does in the new arena, but we’re going to go out with a bang here at Van Dyne.”