By Jacob Larocca
First of all, GO DUTCHMEN! On behalf of the Nott Noisemakers, I would like to thank all of the people who helped to make the trip to Tampa with the hockey team possible. It has been a long, painful journey to found the pep band, lobby support, and finally achieve club status. Needless to say, going to Tampa definitely made the whole process totally worth it.
The Nott Noisemakers achieved club status this year and we are happy to say that our numbers are growing.
Many people approached me when we returned after spring break, mentioning that it definitely wasn’t Union’s pep band playing for our team at the games in Bridgeport. It most certainly was not. After polling the members of the pep band before we left for break, there were too few of us who were able to go to justify paying for travel to Bridgeport.
When the Athletics department emailed me over break asking for copies of our fight song and Alma Mater to give to the band they had arranged to play at the games, I was offended. I remained offended as I jealously watched a different school’s pep band usurp our rightful place in the stands. The pep band and I felt that the athletic department was just tossing us aside for a more convenient band. When I returned from break, I expressed my frustration with the athletic department, and I was informed that it was standard NCAA procedure to have a different band play if the school’s actual band is indisposed. I was a little skeptical, but after a little research, I found that it was true.
Many schools will have other pep bands play if they are on break during a tournament. I was much less offended at this point, and I began to dedicate myself to somehow arranging for a number of the pep band members to travel to Tampa to root on the team in the Frozen Four.
At first, it seemed as if there was no hope. We had less than a week to decide if we could go, how we were going and who was going. The NCAA requires the names of the pep band members far in advance. As the days passed, the band and I began to realize and accept that it was highly unlikely that we would be able to go. Even if the bus I was trying to fill did travel to Tampa, it would have required us to miss three whole days of school, not an easy thing to make up in a 10-week term.
At around 1 p.m. the day before we had to submit the names of the people we were going to send, I received a phone call. I was told that if we could convince Student Forum to help send a few of the members down, a few other departments were willing to split the rest of the costs. Up until this point, I was beginning to think that no one really cared if it was the real Union Pep Band or not.
When I was told that multiple entities and administrators were in support of sending us to Tampa, I was elated. I asked Student Forum to have an emergency email vote to help fund the travel expenses. As soon as I was told it had been approved that night, I frantically began emailing and calling pep band members to see who would be able to go. At this point, I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. WE WERE GOING TO TAMPA! Seven of the band members were able to go, so some local band members in Tampa were asked to fill out the band.
IT WAS AWESOME. Being able to play the National Anthem for a National Championship tournament was a fantastic experience that none of us will ever forget.
We hope that we gave the team the spirit they had heard the entire season and more. I barely had any voice after the game, and a few of the band members suffered horrible sunburns while in Tampa. I found out from some of the local band members that the larger schools often pay their pep bands. My response to that was, “PSH. We don’t need to be paid to show our school spirit!” The fact that we don’t get paid and we still show up to as many games as we can just shows how much more awesome we are.
We made it to the Frozen Four, and the pep band I have worked to build for four years was able to be there, supporting our team.
Thanks again to everyone who helped make it possible and for all of your support to help make the pep band a success. We are the Nott Noisemakers and we aren’t going away any time soon!