Something magical happened at Milan Puskar Stadium on Saturday afternoon. No, I’m not talking about West Virginia’s outstanding comeback victory over Texas Tech. I’m talking about the other magical thing that happened.
After Ka’Raun White’s first touchdown catch and the two-point conversion that followed, West Virginia football producer Sean Merinar played Notorious BIG’s ‘Hypnotize’ over the PA system for the GEICO Dance Cam. What happened next was pure electricity.
Meet Charles Hayes, the West Virginia fan that ignited the crowd at Milan Puskar Stadium with his dancing, becoming an instant WVU social media sensation. The West Virginia camera crew found Hayes during the Dance Cam, and knew they had something special to work with. Hayes was featured on the video board again in the fourth quarter, after David Sills scored his third touchdown of the day, this time dancing to DMX’s ‘Party Up’. The crowd roared with excitement when they saw their guy on the big screen.
So now you’re probably wondering why some random guy dancing in the stands is worthy of an article. The answer is simple:
Milan Puskar Stadium has been severely lacking in the game environment department, and some of that blame can be placed on the poor timing of ads on the video board and special on-field introductions. There was a perfect example of this early in the game on Saturday.
Wrote in a column last week how #WVU needs to do a better job with game environment. Perfect example right now.— Cam Huffman (@CamHuffmanWV) October 14, 2017
Crowd was in it before timeout. Ad on the scoreboard, crowd is now dead. #WVU— Cam Huffman (@CamHuffmanWV) October 14, 2017
(Here is the article Cam is referring to in that first tweet.)
The goal during timeouts and before cruical plays should be to keep the fans into the game. A rockin’ stadium really does have an effect on the action on the field, and in order to keep it loud you have to give the fans something to do to keep the energy up.
The second part of this equation, after proper timing, is the choice of music and videos. Clearly, Sean Merinar captured lightning in a bottle with ‘Hypnotize’ and ‘Party Up’, as the crowd responded and the energy level stayed up during the stoppage in play. This part is something that’s a bit of a crapshoot. I’ve seen the place go crazy for Cotton Eyed Joe, but I’ve also seen it kill the energy in the stadium. One of the things I hate the most is our reliance on Seven Nation Army to keep the fans in the game. It’s old hat at this point, and has become to college football what Darude’s ‘Sandstorm’ is to college basketball. It’s cliche and has become something I dread hearing on Saturdays now. Its time to find something unique for West Virginia fans.
If you want a great example of fans keeping the stadium atmosphere at a high level, check out Michigan fans singing ‘Mr. Brightside’ a couple weeks ago.
This is the perfect example of the right song coming together with perfect timing to create a moment. On Saturday, we got a glimpse of that moment in our own stadium.
I think the production crew finished things off Saturday on a high note, and hope they’re able to continue it again in two weeks when Oklahoma State comes to town. Hopefully our newfound dancing king is back in Section 128 on the 28th to help bring the energy.