Have you ever been to a basketball game or a volleyball game and been underwhelmed by either the environment or the lack of people there? Have no fear; UNCG has a pep band that does nothing but get you hyped up for the game. Whether hyped for men or women’s basketball or volleyball, the band will be there to bring student support.
Of the pep band, UNCG men’s basketball team member and senior Sociology major, Jordy Kuiper, said “I remember playing my first game in Fleming and getting incredibly hyped when I heard them for the first time while running out!” From his first time playing for UNCG until now, Kuiper said that he has relied on the pep band for energy, “They provide us with very important energy that gets us ready for the games and they get the crowd involved as well.”
A big aspect of sports is the crowd involvement; without involvement from the crowd, a game would lack energy and excitement. According to UNCG sophomore, UNCG volleyball player and Business Administration major, Grace Howell, the excited crowd energy at UNCG becomes apparent when playing at away games, “[I] realized that we have the best game atmosphere compared to the other teams. When we play at some places, the gym is dead. There are hardly any people there and it is way too quiet.”
Though there may not be a lot of people at home games, the pep band is always at volleyball games providing the athletes with support. Of the pep band, Howell continued, “I think the band helps me personally, because they always cheer me on; even when I do bad.” No matter if a player messes up or doesn’t do well, the pep band will continue to cheer them on anyway. The pep band allows students who enjoy playing music to show their support for the UNCG sports teams in a unique way. “My favorite thing about the band is when they heckle the other team,” Howell said.
What is unique about the UNCG pep band is that they have collective chants that are done during the games. Of these chants, Trina Patterson, Head Coach of the Women’s b\Basketball team, said, the pep “band has a lot of class” and that they “[don’t] say anything inappropriate” to the other teams. By doing this, Patterson said that the pep band is “respectful of the players.”
Those who frequent UNCG sporting events may hear the common pep band chants which include the words: “Fundamentals!,” “You can’t do that!” and “You walked, you traveled!,” which are often led by Jesse Gonzalez-Parks. These chants are used to get the crowd involved. Sometimes students watching the game chant along with the band, which can make the game experience more exciting. Patterson described the band as always being in “champion mode,” which is a great way of describing the presence that the band provides. Kuiper said that when the team plays at an away game and the band isn’t there, that “The spark that [the band brings] is definitely missed during warm-ups and the actual games.”
Howell described feeling a similar “spark,” “It is important the pep band is there, because they bring so much energy to our games. They make the games fun, not only for the fans, but for the players as well.” The pep band is a constant presence of student support at the games.
The leader of the pep band’s most well-known chants, Jesse Gonzalez-Parks, loses his voice almost every game in which he is cheering. The pep band has grown to the largest that it has been in a long time, and this allows for even more student energy to be pumped into games. Besides the chanting and cheering, the music the band plays also allows quieter band members to express their support for UNCG’s athletics’ teams.
This doesn’t go unnoticed by athletes and their coaches, “Before every game, I make sure to give Dr. Worley a high-five or a fist bump,” Patterson said. At the end of every game, the band plays UNCG’s alma mater, and after every home volleyball game, the volleyball team lines up in front of the band and does a kick line. Sometimes, either after or before a men’s basketball game, student athletes will wave or high-five the band members. Athletes do their best to acknowledge the band, Kuiper said, “…they are part of the Spartan family just as much as anyone else.”