In college sports, there are heated rivalries, crazy mascots and iconic chants to make each game a special experience. However, there is nothing quite like the holiday tradition the Taylor University Trojans have every year.
Since 1997, the Christian liberal arts university in Upland, Indiana has been the home to one of the most unique moments in college basketball inside Odle Arena. It’s seriously one of the coolest traditions and the 22nd-Annual Ivanhoes Silent Night Game against Grace Christian was no different on Friday night.
With fans packing the NAIA gym, and almost every student wearing a costume, the annual game starts just as any hoops game would. The only catch is the Taylor crowd stays completely silent from the opening tip until the Trojans score their 10th point of the game.
Then, pandemonium ensues.
So as Taylor Trojans senior Jake Heggeland stepped to the free throw line with 15 minutes, 10 seconds remaining in the first half, the entire crowd was on edge. And when he sank the free throw, the entire crowd stormed the court as if they were celebrating a national championship.
It truly doesn’t get much better than that and it’s amazing the opposing team, and the referees, know and embrace what’s coming.
Even Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb had to check out what #TUSilentNight was all about.
As you can imagine, the students go all out with costumes, from the Mariachi band to doctors to Noah’s Ark to the Energizer Bunny to even Michigan Wolverines football coach Jim Harbaugh.
The race to get a front row seat is a wild scene, too.
The costumes, the atmosphere, and even the storming of the court is amazing. But the best part of all was the entire crowd swaying and singing “Silent Night” at the end of the basketball game at the NAIA school.
Unfortunately, the Taylor lost to Grace Christian, 73-71, to hand the Trojans their first-ever loss in the Silent Night Game. But it was a night the crowd will always remember.
Needless to say, this is college basketball’s greatest holiday and Christmas tradition, and it’s not even close.