George’s Army pauses operations as basketball games lose fan section

Media Credit: File Photo by Arielle Bader | Assistant Photo Editor

In lieu of attending in person, George's Army has focused instead on promoting the athletics department's online programming, including a virtual fan engagement package called The Suite Life.

GW’s fan section will cheer on the basketball team from their couches this year.

During a typical season, George’s Army would work with the athletic department’s marketing office to host spirit events, pump up students for basketball games and don buff and blue to get ready for each game. But this year, George’s Army President and senior George Glass said the group is taking a backseat and watching games individually on ESPN+.

“Not being able to go to games is an absolute killer to us and everyone is really gutted about it, but we’re still ecstatic that there’s even going to be a season and we’ll all be cheering loudly from home,” Glass said.

Glass said the organization has needed to hash out new ways to be active this basketball season. The group has used social media to promote the athletic department’s game-day package, The Suite Life, which offers perks like GW “swag” and opportunities to chat with the coaches virtually before games.

Glass said the organization will work with the marketing and athletics department of GW Athletics to pass along information about game schedules, virtual events and promotions to students and the GW community. The men’s basketball season officially kicks off Wednesday with a game against Navy.

Glass said the teams will miss out on the more than 50 students who chant GW’s fight song and hype up the squads from the bleachers. He said he typically wears a costume of a hotdog or shark, which was “a real crowd pleaser.”

“We make it difficult for the opposing teams to play in the Smith and without us we wouldn’t have the home court advantage that we have,” Glass said. “When we play at the Smith it’s important that it feels like our own and we play a big role in doing that.”

Macy McClintock, a sophomore and the co-president of George’s Army, said she’s going to miss the community element of cheering on the teams alongside dozens of students.

“I met some of my best friends in the student section last basketball season and am so sad I haven’t had that same experience this year,” she said. “As much as I love the GW basketball team, it’s meeting new people, hanging with friends and just getting overly hype that I’ll miss most.”

McClintock said she enjoyed participating in the game chants, especially ones that egg on the opposing team.

“My favorite chant is any chant that gets under the opposing team’s skin a little bit,” she said. “Probably the two basic go-tos that are the most fun are ‘You can’t do that’ whenever the opposing team fouls one of our players or singing ‘Na Na Na Na, Hey, Hey, Hey, Goodbye’ whenever an opposing team’s player fouls out and has to leave the game.”

She said it’s hard keeping members engaged during the offseason, especially this year when the organization can’t look forward to a typical basketball season. She added that the organization has not mapped out plans to hold watch parties or other virtual events, but she hopes to stay connected with the basketball teams and peers on social media.

“George’s Army is such a fun, energetic environment that is hard to recreate virtually,” she said.

While she may not feel the same energy this season, McClintock said she was drawn to George’s Army because it was an escape from the stress of school while she was one campus.

“I knew George’s Army was the org for me when I showed up to my first basketball game and saw George Glass screaming at the top of his lungs in the front row, dressed in a hot dog costume and a shark head,” she said. “A few games later, Dean Cissy Petty was in the front row next to him in a matching shark outfit. Whether you like sports or not, George’s Army provides an opportunity to step away from school and life stress and just have fun for a couple hours.”

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