For the first time on any college campus in the United States, a faculty and staff dance team has been created. Ball State and their athletics department have worked together to create “The Ballers”.
After seeing the grandparents on the granny dance teams at professional sporting events having a good time Marketing and Fan Engagement Assistant, Derrick Endres, got the idea for the staff- and faculty-based dance team
“I thought it would be kind of funny to see if we could do it with faculty and staff members,” Endres said. “It came to me one night and I texted [Shawn Sullivan, Associate Athletics Director of Marketing and Fan Engagement] at 4:30 a.m. and he wanted to talk about it more.”
Olivia McGarvey, head coach for both Code Red Dance Team and The Ballers, said that it was an easy decision to coach The Ballers.
“I mean why not, they’re The Ballers. They’re the best team,” McGarvey said. “This is a fun way to meet people and share my passion which is dance so it’s the best of both worlds.”
In their first year, The Ballers have performed at :
- A gymnastics meet
- A men’s basketball game
- Dance Marathon
Next season, Endres said the team hopes to expand to games including football or volleyball.
When it came to naming the team, athletics decided to play off the name of the university. After much brainstorming, they decided on The Ballers.
While Endres said they weren’t expecting too many people to respond, he was surprised by the amount of faculty and staff who have expressed interest.
“We’ve already had a few people reach out to us who want to be a part of the team for next year, so I’m excited to see where this goes,” Endres said.
Among those who responded was Mike Gillilan, Director of Students Rights and Community Standards, Gillilan said he was inspired by his friend who does something similar down in New Orleans.
“My friend is a part of the 610 Stompers and it’s an all-men’s group that usually performs at Saints games and the Macy’s Day Parade,” Gillilan said. “I know that he has a great time with it, and I thought it’d be kind of fun to be part of a group that got something like this started.
Candace Olszak, Worthen Arena Equipment Manager, was among those interested. Olsak said she saw this as an opportunity to meet other people across campus and to have fun.
“I always like to dance, and at the games I see myself bouncing to the music and stuff like that,” Olszak said. “I thought it would be something fun to do.”
After the teams debut performance during halftime of the men’s basketball game on Feb. 9, the sometime members said they felt like local celebrities on campus.
“I posted a video on my Facebook page and in my 12 years of being on the site, it was the most viewed and liked thing I’ve ever posted,” Gillilan said. “I had lots of people at the university email me or call me and congratulate me for going out there and telling me how much they’ve enjoyed [watching] it.”
While the team is done performing for the year, the team hopes to continue balling for many years ahead.
“The best part of being on this team has been getting to know people in other parts of the university that I would normally never meet otherwise, and also pushing myself a little bit,” Gillilan said.
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