Ever heard of Upland, Ind.?
Yep, that’s what I thought.
For the longest time, I hadn’t either. I mean, why would I? A town with a population of just under 4,000 (four times smaller than BU’s undergraduate student body), and a land filled with more cornfields than all of Massachusetts, this small, midwestern town is the polar opposite of Boston.
However, there is something very unique about this secluded town that makes big cities like Boston pale in comparison.
Upland is home to Taylor University, one of the premier Christian colleges in the country.
On most Friday nights, Taylor is a quite and peaceful place.
But once a year, there is a calm before the storm. And once the storm hits, this small town becomes an agent of chaos.
Every Friday before final’s week, the entire Taylor student body and Upland community packs itself into Odle Arena, the home of the Trojans men’s basketball team, to partake in what has become a nationally known tradition, called “Silent Night.”
This tradition first gained acclaim in 2011 when a raw video of students going crazy at the men’s basketball game managed to make its way onto SportsCenter.
Now does this place sound a little bit more familiar?
For those of you still lost, “Silent Night” is a tradition that began in the late 1980s at Taylor. The tradition states that all Taylor students dress up in costumes and remain silent until the Trojans score 10 points. Once the 10th point is allotted, fans explode onto the court and for the duration of the game go crazy while screaming their lungs out. To top it off, at the end of the game the entire student body sings the famous Christmas carol “Silent Night” in perfect unison. A bit too cliché? Not in the least.
Since the tradition first became a YouTube sensation, it has continually gained national coverage and has been listed as one of the top traditions in college athletics.
Traditions like Taylor’s are some of the many reasons why students choose to attend their respected college. Whether it’s Ohio State University’s Mirror Lake jump, the University Wisconsin’s “Jump Around” craziness at football games or Texas A&M University’s “12th Man,” these nationally known sports traditions unite the study body and make for great memories.
If you’ve seen pictures on Facebook of your friends jumping in a frozen pond, chomping their hands like an alligator or maybe even getting arrested, chances are they have probably been an active part in some of the many great college sports traditions.
Sports traditions are truly fascinating, especially at a place like Taylor. A place so small in size, but so big in heart, it’s traditions like “Silent Night” that make college sports such an amazing spectacle. The traditions are arguably as essential to the sport as the sport itself, and the sanctity of these traditions keeps the purism of college sports alive and thriving.
At this point, you’re probably trying to divulge this information and figure out where BU falls in this category. If you’re still thinking of a college tradition, well, we don’t really have one. You can make the argument that “Marathon Monday” is a great tradition (which it is), but it’s not a sacred college sports tradition that BU can call its own.
As big of a school and as large of an athletic program as BU possess, there is something missing at this pristine institution. I love this place, but I hate that we don’t have a “Silent Night” to call our own, or a special sports tradition that the entire student body can come together and embrace.
When I was a senior in high school, two of my close friends decided to take their talents to a small Christian college I had never heard of before. They used to tell me about this crazy basketball tradition that would trump any tradition BU had. I honestly laughed at the thought that this small school in the middle of nowhere would have more SportsCenter airtime than a major Division I program like BU.
Clearly my two friends at Taylor have had the last laugh, because I can’t remember the last time I was a part of BU sports tradition, or a BU tradition at all for that matter.
When I look back on my college experience, I will have many great memories to enjoy. But more than anything, I’ll be looking back on my college career and asking myself why I wasn’t a part of a “Silent Night.”
I want to be a part of a college sports tradition like that. Don’t you?