No concert for basketball kickoff

Colonials Invasion, the kickoff event for GW’s basketball season, will return next week but will not feature a musical guest like it has in past years.

The October 23 event will instead feature a “special effects-filled” introduction of the men’s and women’s basketball teams and coaching staffs, GW spirit director Nicole Macchione-Early said in an e-mail last week. In addition, the event will include giveaways and performances from GW’s pep band, cheer and dance teams, and other GW student dance groups, she said.

“We are simply taking a different approach this year.” Macchione-Early said. “We wanted to use Colonials Invasion as an opportunity to showcase more GW students, more student-athletes and more performance groups. In the end, we often feel that some of our best performances have come from our very own students.”

Rapper Fabolous performed at last year’s kickoff. In 2005, the Harlem Globetrotters gave a short performance. The last year Colonials Invasion featured no outside performer was in 2004, as the event was cancelled in 2006 due to budget constraints. Macchione-Early said she anticipates this year will be less expensive.

Last year, the men’s basketball team finished with a 9-17 record and failed to make any postseason tournament.

“The true test of school spirit is having fans who rally around their teams regardless of a win-loss record,” she said. “Colonials Invasion is about generating excitement for this season – it’s not a reflection of seasons past. You don’t even have to be a die-hard basketball fan to enjoy this event. You just have to be proud to be a Colonial.”

The most recent Colonials Invasions in 2005 and 2007 drew 3,500 and “more than 2,000” attendees respectively, according to past reports. Both of those events were conducted in years directly after the men’s basketball team made it to the NCAA Tournament.

This year, the Spirit Office hopes to draw enough attendees to “fill the student section,” Macchione-Early said, referring to about 1,500 seats in the Smith Center. Like last year, the season kickoff will be part of “Spirit Week.” The weeklong slate of programming is comprised of many different events and will include programs like the Mr. and Mrs. GW Competition and Colonial Idol. The winner of the latter competition will sing the national anthem at Colonials Invasion, Macchione-Early said.

Spirit Week will also feature a new video contest where students can submit a one-minute “pump-up” video, with the winning video being shown at Colonials Invasion. The Spirit Office will also be promoting various GW athletic competitions throughout the week, according to the department’s Web site.

Colonials Invasion will also be many returning fans’ first opportunity to see GW’s new mascot. Little George, who had been the Colonials’ mascot for 20 years, was replaced by a more modern and intimidating “George” this summer.

“There will be a special “Commissioning Ceremony” for our new George mascot, in addition to appearances by Big George and Hippo,” Macchione-Early said.

Smith Center doors will open at 7:30 p.m. The kickoff will begin at 8 p.m.

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