THON Behind the Scenes: What’s Below the BJC?
The floor, stands and concourse are the sites of all the public action during THON weekend. Line dances, funny outfits and organization chants abound, and the BJC is as alive as can be. However, what the public doesn’t get to see is what I refer to as “the catacombs,” the BJC’s underside. Dancers are off the floor far more than you would think, and behind the scenes are an awful lot of little amenities. Did you know that there’s a station they can get their hair washed? Gotta look good for those Snapchats and Instagrams. Plus, not feeling grimy when you’ve been awake that long is probably a relief. When you’re spending 46 hours on your feet, every little bit helps. Here, we’ve taken a deep dive into the hallways and side rooms of the Bryce Jordan Center (well, the ones we were allowed in, anyway) to show you the full picture of what being on the floor entails.
The mysterious world of dancer storage is generally off-limits, in order to give dancers and Four Diamonds Families their privacy and downtime during the hectic weekend, but we were given the chance to snap a few pictures. Families get to eat in peace, dancers can change outfits, and those who need it can take a break and relax for a bit. Hanging out here gave us the chance to talk to the unsung heroes of THON weekend: Hospitality Committees. Their neon pink shirts are instantly recognizable, and as you’ll see below, their duties in the underbelly of the BJC are vast and varied.
We all hear when dancers are getting their regular meals served. However, nobody could do 46 hours on their feet without a healthy dose of things to pick on in between. Here, dancers are greeted with a smile and a snack of their choosing. From cereal to chips to fruit cups, and pretty much anything in between. Gotta get that CarboLoad and protein power in whenever you can. Scattered throughout the catacombs are refrigerators with water, Gatorade, and other assorted drinks. Hydration is key with this level of physical exertion.
There are some serious aches and pains when you’re standing for that long, and State College’s own Integrative Bodywork is on the job. Sore muscles and stiff joints will feel some wonderful relief as dancers, still standing, receive back, leg, and foot massages. They deserve a chance to relax, and you can bet that the locations offering massages around town will see their business spike post-THON.
The College of Nursing and medical professionals are pitching in for THON the best way they know how: medicine. Dancers who need their daily medication, or maybe just an extra burst of Tylenol, can come by and get their proverbial fix. It’s much more inviting than your elementary school nurse’s office was, too.
Post Office/Lost and Found
Lose your dancer mail? Maybe your fanny pack? Have no fear, these comm committee members will keep your lost possessions handy. It’s easy to misplace something when you spend the better part of three days not sleeping, so nobody will judge you if you frantically ask them if they’ve seen your water gun.
Something that should be available at the BJC at all times, these happy Hos-ers are armed with peanut butter, strawberry and grape jam, and, perhaps most importantly, nutella. The creamy hazelnut spread is incredibly popular with the dancers, as you can see from the oversize containers that would probably cost you a new mortgage at Wegmans.
Family Feature Hallway
Not that dancers need to be reminded who they’re dedicating these 46 hours to, but if you want to learn about some of the incredible Four Diamonds Families, these artful displays will tell you all about all the awesome kids this cause benefits and their fight against cancer. The whole wall is worth a read.
Device Charging Locker
Sure, AT&T’s wifi in the BJC may be terrible. And sure, they’re generally not the most friendly company to deal with (try canceling your contract with them). But even they are in the THON spirit, providing passcode-protected lockers for dancers to charge their phones and tablets. I, for one, wouldn’t last more than an hour without checking Twitter, so having the comfort of a fully juiced phone for 46 is probably great for the dancers.
Line Dance Mural
Not that any dancer could ever forget the words and moves to the Line Dance. But, if you’re looking to practice even more, the whole thing is on display as a large mural. Here, a dancer and their DRCM practice their moves, ready to outshine the competition and get back on the floor for more.
So, if you’ve wondered what’s going on behind the scenes in the BJC during THON weekend, now you’ve had a glimpse. Lots of support for the dancers that you don’t always get to see is stored back there, and they definitely need all the help they can get.