Colonials invasion

Pom poms and cheerleaders supporting GW’s athletes will not be the only sights to behold at this year’s Colonials Invasion. The event, which will start at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at the Charles E. Smith Center, will feature much more than it usually does, including a special musical appearance from President Knapp.

The official kick off to the basketball season, Colonials Invasion will include a presentation from the Colonial Army honoring famed former GW basketball and NBA coach Red Auerbach, and a special performance from Colonial Brass, said Ariz Matute, director of the GW Spirit Office. Topping it all off will be a special effects-filled introduction to GW’s basketball teams, replete with shooting lasers and fog curtains.

“This year’s event will definitely be unlike other Colonials Invasions in the past. The special performances are going to be very exciting, and you might actually see the men’s and women’s basketball teams show a little more of their ‘fun side’ throughout the night,” Matute said.

The men’s basketball team will even be participating in a musical performance. For basketball player Travis King, a redshirt junior, this event has the potential for a creative flair unseen before.

“I’m playing drums with President Knapp. People will get to see a different side of me, definitely a surprising thing to watch,” King said, adding that he and Knapp would be playing Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” with Knapp on the bongos.

It’s not just the sports teams that will be offering live entertainment. The GW Cheer Team and First Ladies Dance Team are also in the lineup, as is Capital Funk, a GW hip-hop dance team.

Allison Guttenplan, a junior and member of Capital Funk, said the team is preparing in advance to be able to live up to the high expectations that students and their parents bring to an event like Colonials Invasion.

“We plan to step up our performance to make it bigger and better in order to match the magnitude of the event. We have been working hard at practice to come up with new choreography and execute it well,” Guttenplan said.

Aside from the new bells and whistles, this year’s Colonials Invasion is also notable since it will take place during Colonials Weekend. While this is not unheard of, Matute said 2009 is the first time in recent years that the two events have coincided.

The tradition – which was formerly known as Midnight Madness until the name was changed in 2003 to emphasize school pride – has continued to draw students as they flock to cheer on their fellow Colonials.

For King, who will be appearing at his fourth Colonials Invasion this weekend, the event is key to jumpstarting the upcoming season.

“It brings the fans together in a fun, exciting atmosphere,” King said.

In addition to the music and entertainment, Matute said there will be several giveaways. And the focus will not be solely on basketball, either – all of GW’s athletic teams are in the spotlight at Colonials Invasion.

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