“The Harlem Shake” has taken over the Internet for the last two weeks. It has been everywhere: “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” “The Colbert Report” and even the swimsuit models of Sports Illustrated joined in. Several Fordham students did their own “Fordham Shake” in the snow in front of Keating Hall. I even got in on the new craze with the cast and crew of “Overtime”, Fordham’s sports talk TV show. My favorite one so far? “The Harlem Shake” performed by the women’s basketball team.
The best teams in sports are the ones that can have the most fun. The fans love getting to see that the players love what they do. Everyone who watches sports wishes they could be doing what those athletes do. Teams need moments that remind sports fans that, yes, the players are talented athletes, but they are people who laugh and have a good time just the way the fans do.
The women’s basketball team’s “Harlem Shake” is excellent. They start in a practice setting, the players clearly hard at work. That is the first part of what makes it so great: the team took time out of their practice schedule to film a “Harlem Shake” video. They could have just done it in practice uniforms, players on the court, a few basketballs around, but they did not. They incorporated the prize wheel, an old water jug; there is even an orange traffic cone in there. This team has already achieved more than any other team in school history. This moment only further proves that they are having fun and are capable of even more success.
This week, Minnesota basketball head coach Tubby Smith gave the Internet even more reason to laugh. He led his players in a huge dancing celebration in the locker room after the Golden Gophers upset Wisconsin. The players picked him up on their shoulders full of joy. Wisconsin even had their own celebration earlier in the year, dancing to Ke$ha’s “Die Young” after they upset Michigan. The best scene of the NFL’s season was Colts head coach Chuck Pagano returning from a battle with leukemia, coaching again and dancing with his team in the locker room after a victory over the Texans.
These scenes and many others give fans a peek into what goes on behind the scenes with great sports teams. They remind us that these players are people too. Having fun is definitely the most important part of team sports. The teams that have fun together create a bond that will keep them together long after their playing days.
The best part of the women’s “Harlem Shake” is head coach Stephanie Gaitley. Coach Gaitley doesn’t just let the team make their video on their own, she participates in it. She gets out her own prop and dances just as crazily as everyone else. Gaitley gets out the big prize wheel, dancing and having almost as much fun as her players.
The women’s team is a real joy to watch. There is a clear sense when watching the women’s basketball team that the players truly enjoy playing with each other. Everyone on the bench cheers for the whole game. Everyone high-fives each other after a successful three-pointer. Their ability to have fun is a big part of what makes them a great team.
This basketball team is having it best season in Fordham history. Gaitley has done a terrific job with this program and has her players playing at a truly high level. This video shows that this team has already come a long way and that they have the ability to go even farther.