College Basketball’s best tradition incorporates a little bit of waiting to build drama, some Halloween-like costuming, a favorite Christmas song, a fund-raiser for the needy, and an energetic fan base with some nervous energy as they head into finals’ week.
It all happens at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, and it’s called “Silent Night.”
Every Friday before finals in December the “Silent Night” game is hosted at Taylor. Students, packed into the gym at a standing room only capacity, remain quiet until the 10th point is scored by the home team. When the Trojans score the 10th point, the audience erupts with cheering and noise making. Creative costuming rules the day as students come dressed in a wide variety of outfits. For several years, Coach Paul Patterson coached without shoes to raise money and awareness for Samaritan’s Feet.
At the end of the game, students link arms and sing “Silent Night.” A campus-wide party called “Habecker’s Hollapalooza” concludes the night with festivities including Christmas cookies and gingerbread house making and the University President reading the Christmas story. The tradition started in the late 80s at the suggestion of one of Patterson’s assistant coaches.
The quiet before the eruption, along with the loud noise that follows, can be a bit intimidating for opposing teams. Many opposing coaches have called timeouts after the 10th point to quiet down the home audience. But, it hasn’t worked. Taylor has won every Silent Night game.
Perhaps more importantly, the “Silent Night” tradition speaks loudly to the fact that the spirit of the season is alive and well at Taylor University.
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