THON 2009 Live Blog

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1:30… Switched to a new post.

1:26… The announcer just told the dancers, “It’s time for your meal.” That phrase has an unpleasant nursing home feel to it.

1:26… We don’t need to include am/pm on this do we?

1:25… Thought the live music was starting but maybe not.

1:21… ‘Stronger’ by Kanye West is on right now. I love this song. I have a weird urge to grow a mullet right now.

1:20… How would THON work without classic rock?

1:18… Thought this was a funny Tweet. Or not funny at all. You decide.


1:13… Sorry for the delay in updates. We have some good pictures from the floor– it’s so energizing to be down there.

12:02… Here it is. Green Man visited THON. Be sure to watch the slide show.

12:01… Transition period on the floor. Passes are expiring, but the dancers aren’t. (Come on, I get at least one pun per hour…)

11:40… Men’s Gymnastics and Men’s Ice Hockey are tied for first in the pep rally competition.

11:31… The new Nittany Lion is doing a good job.

11:24… Majorettes are dancing to a mix of the ‘Hard Knock Life’ from Annie and ‘Hard Knock Life’ by Jay-Z.

11:18… The video playing right now is ridiculous… I’m guessing they’re all wearing Speedos because they are on the swim team.

11:16… Someone has successfully begun a ‘We Are’ cheer.

11:11… The Nittany Lion King indeed.

11:10… The Nittany Lion is on stage. It’s gotta be Clint Gyory. First time I’ve seen the new mascot perform.

11:07… Did you say Mulan? Wasn’t that what Orientalism was about?

11:02… The Bushes are owning the stage. Katy and Cindy– remember the names. Related to 43? idk.

11:00… Could just be stretching though…

10:59… Should the dancers really be led through an exercise? Aren’t they getting enough of that already?

10:51… Bananas are dancing to ‘I Like To Move It (Move It).’ Think they are Women’s Lacrosse.

10:48… The Lionettes are alternating between ‘Under the Sea’and Chris Brown… too soon?

10:44… The Icers are dancing. They are dressed like penguins and I think they’re doing the heel-toe.

10:40… Women’s Gymnastics is doing a Hannah Montana song.

10:32… This is what it would sound like if JUSTICE produced a Pirates of the Caribbean musical.

10:22… TheĀ  Ice Hockey team just sang In the Jungle, from the movie The Lion King, not the Upton Sinclair novel.

10:21… What team just did the song from the Little Mermaid? Was it lacrosse?

10:19… James Sheep is on stage.

10:15… My mistake, this is my first time. I thought they meant the football cheers not the THON cheers.

10:14… Do we change the cheers every year?

10:03… Impostor Green Man!

10:02… ‘Baby Got Back’ is being sung by most of the BJC crowd.

9:57… “Finish your masks and capes by the end of the break.”

9:40… The Wave is all the rage.

9:31… “We’re All in This Together” slow version

9:01… This story contributed by Lisa Lotito.

Laura’s Locks

dsc_0091-copyLaura Karp had gorgeous, curly locks that cascaded down her back–until today at 4 p.m.

When Laura took the stage, she had no idea what time one of THON’s sponsoring salons cut off 12 inches of her hair. Laura’s thick ponytail will go to Wigs for Kids, an organization like Locks for Love that donates the hair specifically to kids with cancer: “It takes twenty ponytails to make one wig,” Laura said.

Laura has donated her hair three times, but she’s never donated to Wigs for Kids before: “I thought it’d be really special to donate my hair at THON because I’d get to see the kids I’m helping,” Laura said.

Her cute, short hair is soaked with sweat from 27 hours of dancing, but Laura has this infectious glow about her. “I’m doing so well! I just had a visit from some friends and family,” Laura said, all the while swaying to the music blaring from the stage and basking in the energy, vivacity, and hope of THON.

9:00… Backstreet Boys comes on. Sing along shakes the BJC.

8:55… I believe THON Dancer Mail is on stage in boxes at the moment.

8:49… Name that movie!

8:43… OS’s Green Man and Tim are currently being interviewed by the LION… again.

8:23… Kid comedian has left the stage… another song now.

8:22… “What do you call cheese that isn’t yours?” “Nacho cheese!”

8:21… “Why was the tomato red?” “Because it saw the salad dressing!”

8:20… “How do you make a tissue dance?” “Put a little boogie in it!”

8:18… “Every week’s the same, stuck in school, it’s so lame.” Sorry girls, get used to it.

8:16… Big group of girls singing ‘Break-Out.’

8:14… Sweet, it’s a karate routine set to a pretty good mix of random songs.

8:13… Alicia is preparing to show us her black belt skills.

8:11… The stands appear to be filling up again.

8:10… “Every Time We Touch” = Everyone goes crazy dancing

8:07… Is this a Taylor Swift song?

8:03… Father and son duet performing ‘Nod Your Head’ by Will Smith. It’s great. These kids are pretty rad, I could never have done this when I was their age. Or now.

7:59… THON family variety show starts.

7:56… I need to hear “Scatman“!

7:55… How have we been missing this!!! There’s a Rick Roll in the line-dance video!

7:43… Nicky Egan leaves the stage. No idea what number it is, but another line-dance is coming soon.

7:30… It’s Thriller!!!

7:26…Here’s our eighth slideshow. Dancers are dining, and we might too.

7:00… A funky band is playing. We’re pretty sure that it’s Nicky Egan, though we missed them announcing their name.


A View of the THON Press Box

Onward State isn’t officially a member of Press Row here at THON, but we’re here nonetheless. Don’t tell anyone plz. The real organizations on Press Row are the LION 90.7 fm, CommRadio, and The Daily Collegian.

The LION 90.7 fm: The LION’s coverage consists mainly of broadcasting the THON festivities over the airwaves. It isn’t clear if that gives the listener a clear picture of what THON is or what exactly is going on here. A majority of the experience seems to be visual: the colorful shirts, balloons, banners, etc. Regardless, the LION is holding it down in the top row of tables in Section 123.

CommRadio: CommRadio, Penn State’s other radio station, has a live blog that updates at odd intervals. CommRadio also has a live broadcast going on the other side of the LION.

The Daily Collegian: The Daily Collegian is an eight laptop strong bloc in the second highest row of Section 123. They are regularly updating a THON blog and also have a photo gallery and a few videos on their website. Editor-in-Chief Terry Casey wrote on his blog yesterday about the Collegian’s THON presence:

What does it take to cover the biggest Penn State event of the semester (perhaps the year)? We’ve got five laptops, cameras, video cameras, voice recorders, spare notebooks, extra reading material and a slew of staff members signed up for shifts until Sunday.

Well, they do certainly have a lot of people here. Good for them. It is the biggest event of the year.

6:41… Red Cross THON Drive Shoutout

6:32… Dancers are beginning to get called to eat dinner.

6:22… More cheerleaders…

6:18… Nittany All-Star Cheerleaders take the stage. Five year olds dressed in purple with the THON spirit.

6:13… PennHarmonics are on stage singing “Hey Jude”. I love a capella music!

6:04… Philly Pretzel Factory mascot runs rampant through the crowd.

5:59… When they do Med Call, they only say the dancers’ numbers once. What happens if they don’t hear it?

5:41… This is like TRL for Disney songs.

5:25… Whenever ‘We Got the Beat’ plays, I think of Kidz Bop.

5:09… This post from the official THON blog is interesting.


4:55… One of the Greek Sing performances is a Queen medley. Pretty great.


10 Questions with Two THON Dancers

For our first special edition 10 Questions, we talked to Jackie Anderson and Ben Sarcia. Here it is.


Are you dancing for an organization?
No, we’re independent.

How many tickets do you have in the lottery?
Four tickets. (ed. This means they raised about $4000.)

Is there anything you did to prepare for this weekend that you’re especially glad you did now?
Getting more sleep— we were averaging 9 hours a night.

What is the one essential item for you this weekend?
Our cellphones, but we made sure to tape over the time.

What has been your favorite part of THON so far?
The kids’ fashion show!

What part of THON are you most looking forward to?
Family hour and everything else in the last four hours of THON.

Has Larry played any of your requested songs yet?
(Jackie) He played ‘Call on Me’ by Eric Prdyz, which I requested, but I was in the bathroom when it happened!
(Ben) I requested Wonderwall by Oasis but he hasn’t played it yet.

Describe the Slides of Strength in one word:

What’s the ‘x’ factor for you this weekend? What’s getting you to Sunday evening?
We have a ton of friends in the stands, and they went all out for us!

4:41… Greek Sing Selections… Kappa Alpha Theta and Sigma Pi

4:30… Awesome THON child dance-off: Can’t Touch This

4:15… The ponytails come off… FTK!

3:53… RAM Squad off.

3:46… B-Boys and B-Girls…

3:40… Here’s our seventh slideshow.

3:38… I didn’t know JUSTICE was part of hip hop culture?

3:37… RAM Squad is here to school us on positive hip-hop.

3:19… If this is a cheerleading squad, this is like a mini-version of ‘Bring It On.’

3:14… O RLY??? Harry Potter hour??? A sorting hat and Bertie Botts beans? I hope Spanier does some real magic for us now.

3:13… Color wars standings: Blue, Green, Red, Orange

3:08… What would Graham Spanier’s groupies be like?

3:05… ‘Last call for Tony’s Big Easy Salad Bar.’ I wonder what logic goes into scheduling meals for the dancers. If you keep the meals on normal schedule, the dancers will be able to figure out what time it is.

3:00… The Deacons of Dixieland are showing us how to walk the dog… or just singing about showing us how to walk the dog.

2:56… Kids on the bongos… cute overload.

2:51… A song featuring President Spanier!

2:46… I think one of the band members just made a drug joke. ‘This is a serious announcement for the older people in the crowd. There’s a bad batch of antacid going around, so be careful.”

2:42… ‘Clap your hands if you think the President should give us a raise for this’ was followed by applause, while ‘Clap your hands if you think the President should raise tuition’ was followed by none.

2:40… While we were down there, we saw the a bunch of teams hanging out with the children. We got some great pics.

2:39… G-Span is down there jamming away on the washboard.

1:37… ‘Dancing in September’ is playing. Remember that time Earth, Wind & Fire played here this past September?

1:33… We’re still down with OPP.

1:31… I tried to resist but I couldn’t



1:30… Not much going on right now.

1:19… Homecoming presentation coming soon.

1:17… OPP is mopping the middle of the stadium floor.

1:16… FOX 43 just taped an intro next to us.

12:58… We spy Dean Brady of the Schreyer Honors College down there. Line-dance starting now.

12:55… Penn State faculty are taking the stage for the line-dance.

12:52… The Collegian has already published its video from the Kids’ Fashion Show. Nice turn around time.

12:43… Looks like OPP is setting up for another band.

12:04… THON Fashion Show is over.

11:58… Going out for another exploration.

11:56… someone from Lebanon, PA! That’s my hometown.

11:55… Looks like about half of the boxes are full here, and a bunch of them just have committee members in them. I wonder how the boxes are distributed for THON.

11:53… And here’s our sixth THON slideshow.

11:52… All of these kids definitely know the line-dance better than I do.

11:46… I love that so many kids have said that their favorite part of THON is ‘everything.’

11:45… Talk about cute overload. This must be so cool for those kids.

11:44… zomg, Shawn Johnson is here!

11:43… Kids Fashion Show is beginning. Fifty kids are participating.


11:33… Was that just a video commercial for Suzuki? Yes, it was. What’s going on?

11:25… OPPerations is setting up the stage for the fashion show. We’re going to try to be on the floor for it.

11:24… Sticker mania!

11:12… Current color wars standings: Blue, Green, Red, Orange

11:10… Just got back from a picture run. Being on the floor has such an energizing effect.

10:11… Tom Shakely at The LION 90.7fm sent me a link to The LION’s video of the 2009 line dance. Here it is.

10:09… Evan asked me a question this morning that I think is pretty poignant.

Are we human, or are we dancer?

10:08… Going down to the floor to get some pictures.It’s neat to see the scattered clusters of people dancing in the stands.

9:11… Jourdan from the Collegian reported THON Technology Overall Chair Ryan Dickson said there have been no technological glitches so far this year. What’s up with the webcast then?

1:35… The Collegian just posted its Friday night slideshow. Great job yall.

12:18… Here’s the fifth slideshow, and with that, OS is calling it a night. We’ll be back soon though.

12:11… Finishing the fifth slideshow.

12:10… Daft Punk’s Around the World is playing. Nice touch.

12:08… Around the world! And Carmen San Diego is here!??!? Zoinks!

12:07… Current color wars standings: Green, Red, Orange, Blue

11:59… For a while, I got confused when they kept stopping Sandstorm. Now I realize it’s the intro to the line-dance.

11:48… A pyramid? A U.S. Customs kiosk? And foreign music? What does this all mean?

11:47… Good music right now: ‘I Want to Dance with Somebody.’ No idea what the song is really called.

11:31… The Huffington Post tweeted about THON!


11:25… Just got back from the floor. Preparing our fifth and final slide-show for the night. The camera’s battery performance has been really impressive today though.

10:29… Here’s our fourth slide-show. We’re going down to the floor for a little bit. Leave a comment if you want us to cover anything specific!

10:25… Still on stage. She’s related to an OPP Committee member.

10:11… A 15 year old girl is playing acoustic guitar and singing to thousands of college students. I could never do that.

10:11… ‘CCSG Viva Las Vegas’

10:10… Color wars standings: 1, Green; 2, Orange; 3, Blue; 4, Red

10:08… Soft rock isn’t really the kind of music to help someone get through a 46-hour dance marathon.


9:48… Here is our third slide-show.

9:46… Kiss cam just tried to get a same-sex kiss going. Is Penn State ready for that?

9:35… The mopping is almost done. Things are pretty low-key right now. Three and a

9:23… The first mopping has begun. It reminds me of the cleaning scene in Beauty and the Beast but I’m not sure why.

9:14… “The ‘No Grown-Ups Allowed Room’ will be closing in ten minutes.”

9:06… Morale is jamming to the Spice Girls on stage.

8:52… One group tried to start a Zombie Nation chant. Didn’t work though.

8:47… So many Olympics questions!

8:45… London. Results: Green, Orange, Red, Blue

8:45… “Where will the 2012 Summer Olympics be held?”

8:45… Answer: China. Results: Red, Orange, Green, Blue

8:44… “Which country won the most medals in the 2008 Summer Olympics?”

8:43… First color wars event tonight is human spelling??? The theme is ‘Olympics.’

8:42… Color wars standings: 1st, Green; 2nd, Red; 3rd, Orange; 4th, Blue.

8:35… What’s for dinner? Spaghetti. Don’t know if they’ll ever get around to eating it; they’ve stopped for a quick line-dance.

8:26… Dancers 100 through 149 are going to get their dinner now. I hope none of them eat enough to go into a food coma.

8:16… Terry, the EIC of the Collegian, posted an entry about their set-up for covering THON 2009. I can attest that it is an impressive presence. And, he says that the Collegian is going to be updating its home page soon. I can’t wait. Srsly– let’s hope they go blogtastic.

8:15… OPPerations has set up tables on the dance floor. The tables are, of course, designed to be stood around rather than sat around.

8:12… A ROTC group just finished a neat performance– who knew you could combine carbines with Ready, Steady, Go?

8:10… We found a live video feed… does this make us redundant? I hope not.
Live Streaming by Ustream.TV

8:01… Someone from the Collegian has transcribed the lyrics from the line-dance. Here are some of our favorite excerpts.

Valley’s happy, no debate
JoePa says, “Come to State.”

Philly storms to victory
End the drought since ’83
Steelers in the Superbowl
PA teams are on a roll

Katy Perry, hot and cold
Isn’t Idol getting old?
Britney cleans up her act
Says Perez, that’s a fact

7:59… Just got back from the floor. We ran into Graham Spanier while we were down there. Pretty sure he didn’t know it was OS. The THON Express runners just did a funny ‘We Are the Men in Tights’ dance.

7:14… For additional coverage, check out the Collegian’s blog.

7:13… Looks like everyone has learned the line-dance. I guess we have some catching up to do.

7:11… Here’s our second slideshow.

7:02… Last year, iPhones got a shoutout in the line-dance. This year, it’s just ‘smartphones.’

6:55… Highlights in line-dance: Simmons and its healthy dining, Michael Phelps and his indulgences gold, Steelers and their Super Bowl.

6:38… Are you ready to learn the line-dance?

6:25… Sorry for the lack of updates, we’ve been on the floor getting photos. The next slideshow should be up soon.

6:00… It begins.

5:12… Dancers are spread throughout the floor, all wearing white shirts with a number on the back.

Here’s our first slideshow:

5:07… Floor is filling up with committee members. They are clustered by color/committee.

4:54… The dancers are done coming in, but none are on the floor. They are still putting their things away. The floor is full of committee members stretching.

4:40… We’re set up next to The Daily Collegian, preparing the first slideshow. The dancers are passing through the dancefloor right now. The dancers walked through the human tunnel from the IM building to the BJC. They are now putting their bags in lockers.

4:20… The doors opened twenty minutes later. There’s an intense push at first to get inside, but after a minute the pace returns to normal.

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About the Author


Creator of @OnwardState. Big fan of sweaters.

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