Dancer Update, Hour 34: Over the Hump
I was able to catch up with our dancers John Tecce (Nittany Nation) and Ally Greer (Penn State Marketing Assocation) during what was–for most people–the middle of the night. But for our two representatives, nothing that was happening outside the Bryce Jordan Center mattered. Both claimed to have no idea on the time, but they probably knew that THON had crossed the threshold into Sunday.
Ally and John seemed to be in different worlds when I spoke to them. The first words out of Ally’s mouth after a much overdue hug were, “I’m hurting,” while John seemed unfazed by everything’s that happened over the past 34 hours.
Ally said that she had experienced a bust of energy after overcoming emotional hurdles in the middle of THON, but the newfound energy forced her to crash, and she remarked that she was feeling extremely sleepy. Wearing flip-flops, she said it was hard to keep her legs from shaking–but with constant leg exercises, she was clearly trying.
For Ally, the biggest thing that has kept her going has been emotional support. She said, “I look up at you guys up on media row every five minutes, it gives me strength.”
She also mentioned that a particular newly formed friendship helped her fight through the struggle that comes from dancing in THON. Ally first got to really know Onward State THON editor Ryan Kristobak on Friday, but she said that they clicked immediately and his support has been unbelievable. “Ryan is my hero, he’s my rock,” Ally said. Although Ryan isn’t dancing–he’s on a Rules and Regs committee–he also hasn’t slept since Friday morning and visits Ally frequently on the floor during his shifts, to offer some encouragement.
John Tecce seemed to be doing better than most dancers, and, in a hoarse raspy voice, described his condition as “good.” He said that there were a couple hours that were especially difficult, but after changing clothes and eating, he felt great. John also had more dancer mail than I’ve ever seen one person receive, with two large bags to sort through.
Both dancers said that the music helped get them through tough times in the middle, most Ally and John had a special affinity for Total Whiteout. John said that he had heard them play at the Darkhorse before, and Ally said that their performance of “A Beautiful Life” gave her much-needed energy.
Although Ally and John have different states of minds with less than twelve hours left to go, I know both will fight through and make it until the end. I speak for everyone at Onward State when I say we couldn’t be more proud of either of them.