By Branson Hardcastle | Reporter
The Bear Pit Leadership Team, a student organization that helps hype up the crowd at men’s and women’s basketball games, is getting ready for basketball season to begin.
The Bear Pit has supported the Bears since 2005. When they first started, there was a fee to join. Now, there is no fee because the entire student section is the Bear Pit, according to Plano sophomore Parakh Jaggi, a member of the game day committee.
“The Bear Pit is the students at Baylor University. We all are the Bear Pit,” Jaggi said. “The Bear Pit isn’t just the leadership team. Everyone has a ticket to every men’s and women’s basketball game. If you are a student at Baylor University, you are a part of the Bear Pit.”
The Bear Pit Leadership Team is composed of 14 members that hold positions in different categories such as events, marketing, game day and social media. The events committee coordinates events, including watch parties and away game trips. The marketing committee provides T-shirts and flyers to raise awareness for the upcoming games. The game day committee is in the stands with other students, coordinating chants and keeping the traditions of the Bear Pit alive every game.
Last year, the Bear Pit started what they hope will be a new tradition: sit in the pit. Sit in the pit is when they bring in a local “celebrity” to sit in the student section and go crazy with the students. Last year, sit in the pit featured Chip Gaines, baseball head coach Steve Rodriguez and former Baylor forward Jonathan Motley’s mother. This year, they are hoping to bring in more “celebrities” and maybe even some previous men’s basketball stars.
Another tradition the Bear Pit wants to keep alive is the newspaper. When students arrive at their seats, they find a newspaper on their chair. The students are supposed to keep the newspaper for when the opposing team’s starters are announced. As the opposing team is being announced, the students act like they are reading the paper and yell “Who’s that?” at every player announced. Then the lights go out and the hype video for Baylor comes on. As the video is playing, the students tear up the newspaper into small strips and get ready to throw it in the air. As soon as the lights come on, everyone throws the torn-up paper into the air and watches as the paper slowly floats down and covers the student section.
The Bear Pit also has chants just for the opposing players such as “boo game” where everyone boos the opposing team except for one player. When that one player gets the ball, the whole student section explodes with cheers to try to get inside the opposing team’s heads.
Port Orchard, Wash., senior and game day chair Hayden Johnson said he believes these small chants and traditions help throw off the opposing teams.
“I like seeing us getting into the other team’s head. It makes the other team start to make mistakes and our team feeds off of that energy,” Johnson said. “I like seeing our efforts translate to success on the court which is the Bear Pit’s main mission.”
The Bear Pit is still working to better the student section. They know there are things that they need to improve on to make the student section even rowdier to distract the opposing teams.
Vienna, Va., sophomore Camilla Bruce said that attendance for men’s and women’s games need to improve in order to help the Bear Pit accomplish this feat.
“We need to get butts in seats as Hayden always says. Raising the attendance will help make it louder. Also, we need to have more awareness of games,” Bruce said. “The attendance of women’s games is lower compared to the attendance at men’s games, so getting that attendance up as well will be great.”
Johnson said that the student section needs to be a more cohesive unit as well, adding that there are times when the chants will be a little off because there is a delay between the students at the front and the students at the back. They will be working to improve that by asking members of the Bear Pit Leadership Team to sit in those areas to improve the cohesiveness.
Both the men’s and women’s teams play at home today. The No. 24 Bears play at noon against Central Arkansas and the No. 3 Lady Bears play at 7 p.m. against Lamar.