On Saturday, Oct. 15 in the Bren Events Center, the UC Irvine athletics department will celebrate the first official day that the NCAA allows its basketball teams to practice.
Midnight Magic hosted by the Completely Insane Anteaters, going on its eighth year, sets UCI apart from many other Southern California schools that have celebrated the date in the past but have been unable to keep the tradition going as long. The event, which lasts from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m., celebrates not only the Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams, but also more importantly, the UCI community and its growing spirit.
‘I look at it as part opening day of baseball, since we have so much excitement with the team coming out,’ said Robby Ray, assistant director of sports marketing and promotions in the athletics department. ‘But it’s also a little bit of Mardi Gras. It’s more of a festive, party atmosphere.’
The event will feature a disc jockey, free food and entertainment, as well as the first chance for UCI students to sign up for the Completely Insane Anteaters, the on-campus student spirit group which supports and promotes all school athletics teams.
Among other events, there will be a battle of the sexes, three-point shoot-out and a joint performance between the Modern Completely Insane Anteaters and the UCI Cheer Squad.
Ray also pointed out that there will be giveaways all night, with prizes such as gift certificates to In- N-Out or Jack in the Box, and maybe even some MP3 players. Near the end of the night, there will be a countdown to the introduction of the Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams.
‘It’s something that other students don’t get to experience at other universities, and it’s something that our students should come out to experience,’ Ray said. ‘Plus, it’s completely free.’
The theme of this year’s Midnight Magic will be ‘Midnight Magic in the OC.’ everything will be Orange County-themed, with destination spots within the Bren Events Center such as South Coast Plaza and Laguna Beach.
To make sure that more students are able to come to Midnight Magic this year, Associated Students of UCI is providing shuttles to and from the Bren Events Center. The shuttles, which will provide service to Arroya Vista, Vista Del Campo and Middle Earth, will run between8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. for pickup, and take students home from 12 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Blake Sasaki, assistant athletic director of sports marketing and promotions, explained the importance of traditions such as Midnight Magic for the UCI community.
‘I think a big part of the growing pride of UCI students is the Completely Insane Anteaters,’ Sasaki said. ‘[CIA allows you] to go to a game and have a good time, not necessarily because you’re a sports fan, but because you want to participate. It’s easy to come out and have a good time and cheer for your team. It’s part of the growing experience that UCI students are having on campus.’
Another fun and significant event that happens at Midnight Magic each year is the teaching of the ‘Rip ‘Em Eaters’ hand sign and the school fight song, two traditions that both Sasaki and Ray agree are important to UCI students and their identities as Anteaters.
‘Even though we may be worlds apart, there’s that common bond that we’re both Anteaters and that’s taught through traditions [like Midnight Magic]. Here in the marketing department for athletics we have such a high passion and love for UCI,’ Sasaki said. ‘We want everyone to feel that way on campus. We want people to make UCI a priority in their lives and I think by creating these traditions, that’s what we’re attempting to accomplish.’