THON 101: The Glossary

As the latest issue in our THON 101 posts, this presents the glossary, like the one in the back of your textbook that defines all the terms printed in bold. You can’t get this one at the Student Bookstore, or any bookstore downtown, and best of all, it’s free. Here is the breakdown on useful terms you will probably come across during a THON weekend:

LINE DANCE – once about each hour (not exactly on the hour), certain music is cued, and everyone knows its time to do a choreographed dance to a song that is taught at the beginning of THON. The lyrics are usually composed of major events, songs, and media aspects from the past year.

BRIGHTEN EVERY JOURNEY – This year’s theme for THON.

COMMITTEES – There are fourteen committees, and one overall committee. Each has a different purpose and a different color, as well as different captains in charge.

OPPerations – They are in charge of setting up for THON, cleaning the floor, and tearing it down. Their color is blue.

MORALERS– These are the people who keep the dancers going, motivated  and hype them up when they need that extra push. Each dancer has moralers who give him or her activities, piggy back rides, massages and etc. They never leave their dancer’s side. Their committee color is yellow.

DANCER MAIL – Friends, families and even randoms (anonymous people) write letters to cheer on and encourage the dancers.

MAIL CALL – “Here’s the mail, it never fails, it makes me wanna wag my tail, when it comes I want to wail mail!” Oops, that’s the mail song from Blue’s Clues. Mail Call happens once during the weekend, and all of the dancers receive their dancer mail [see above]. Sadly, there is no talking mailbox to hand it out.

DANCER STORAGE – Unfortunately, not everything the dancer needs for 46 hours can fit in their little fanny packs. Each dancer has cubbies backstage so they can store spare clothing, sneakers, games, ridiculous props, etc. to keep him or her occupied.

CANNING – Onward State’s own Eric Weiss thought that people sold cans of perishable items and pickled foods for money to give towards THON,  but alas, it is not so. Canning happens for four weekends leading up to the big event. Students from all sorts of organizations go out and stand on intersections and outside stores with cans and signs to raise money. Like the homeless, canners brave chasing that 5-dollar bill down a major intersection in the rain (that was me), as well as the bitter wind, cold, snow and all other winter weather advisory warnings. You’ve probably seen them dodging cars and/or police in a town near you.

WATER SOCIALS– At sporadic moments throughout the 46 hours, the DJ announces that it is indeed time for a social. Instead of chugging beers, since this is family friendly event, everyone raises his or her water bottles. No, they aren’t for throwing at Justin Bieber, but for hydration.

SLIDES OF STRENGTH – This is the one time the dancers get to get off their feet. They slide down wrestling mats covered in baby powder, and get the spa treatment of a 10 second massage from committee members. This is considered OPP’s claim to fame.

HUMAN TUNNEL– Right before the dancers run out, the Moralers line up and form a tunnel.

ICE BATH – Nothing better to wake you up than to have freezing cold water poured on you. When the dancers feet hurt, they get the chilling sensation of putting their feet in ice-cold water.

COLOR WARS– Starting last Wednesday, each morale team was split into three colors (Green, Red and Blue), each dancer and moraler compete in various activities throughout THON Weekend. This year the theme is Four Diamonds Favorites.

FTK – If you don’t know what this acronym means, you should probably ask someone before you step into the BJC on Friday. It means FOR THE KIDS! It is the reason for THON, where all the money, time, and effort go, to see the smiling children, to save them, and to try and cure pediatric cancer.

DJ LARRY MOORE – Everyone’s favorite disc jockey blows the speakers up (better than Ke$ha), during the weekend.

BARRY BRAM – He is the THON adviser.

FLOOR PASS – This is the only way to get onto the floor to see your friends or children dancing unless you are on a committee. You put yourself on a pass list and then are awarded a pass to the floor for a specific duration of time.

PEP RALLY – Just like your average high school pep ralley (except about a million times better) with cheerleaders and football players for the big game, on Saturday night people will be on stage trying to pump up the BJC.

FOUR DIAMONDS FUND – This is where all the money raised for THON goes. Charles and Irma Millard established it after they lost their son Christopher to cancer . The fund covers treatments costs insurance doesn’t cover, and provides for expenses that affect children with cancer, as well as for pediatric cancer research. This charity cares for patients at Penn State Hershey Medical Center Children’s Hospital.
NOTE: When throwing your diamond up in the air like you just don’t care, make sure you use your thumbs and index fingers to form the geometric shape, otherwise, full hands form something else that is NOT FTK.

LAST FOUR HOURS – Probably the most intense four hours of your life. This is where the tears will start spilling (so bring those Kleenex), and the meaning of why we THON comes to life. Throughout the weekend there are several events like Talent Shows, Variety Shows, Fashion Shows, Bands performing and mindless dancing, but the last four hours is where it all comes down to the family.

FAMILY HOUR – Part of the last four hours, where families come and tell their children’s stories of battling cancer whether or not they have survived. There is a video called the CELEBRATION OF LIFE VIDEO that honors children that have inspired us with COURAGE, WISDOM, HONESTY and STRENGTH. This celebrates the lives of children who have fought against cancer, and reminds us why we must fight for the cure. You will be crying your eyes out.

Better get ready cramming, but don’t drink any caffeine or you will crash just in time for THON.

For updates during THON weekend, follow @THON, @THONwardState and @KhloeKardashian, who helped to make THON a trending topic on twitter the past two years.

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