On Thursday GW launched its replacement for Midnight Madness, called Colonial Invasion. Midnight Madness traditionally introduced the beginning of the basketball season at the hour that practices were allowed to begin. The event drew criticism in recent years for focusing less on basketball and school spirit and more on superfluous side-acts. Going from one extreme to the other, Colonial Invasion was a reaction to these complaints and focused almost solely on basketball. But it eliminated nearly all the excitement that previously drew students, parents and alumni to Midnight Madness by changing its timing from the moment practices can start to a random Thursday night.
While administrators claimed that 1,100 people attended the event, the stands were nearly empty for most of the evening. Attendance was much lower than the 5,000 that consistently attended Midnight Madness. GW should never have moved its spirit event from Colonials Weekend, when alumni and parents are in town.
Midnight Madness was a fun tradition that can be positive for school spirit if planned well and focused on basketball. All that GW really needs for a spirit event is a good host, some creative lighting, dramatic music and the basketball teams. The event also has to be better promoted to students. We envision a Midnight Madness that actually has a countdown to midnight, unlike last year, and a dramatic introduction of the men’s and women’s team members under lights and lasers. Maybe one or two other acts can be included earlier, but cutting down on sideshows should help GW avoid the disaster that occurred last year, which made basketball seem like an afterthought.