Big XII: Halftime Feature - Talking With OU's Dance Squad

By Jean Neuberger - March 08, 2007

At Hang Time, we try to give you unique angles of not only the game, but the atmosphere and the people that help create it, and as a sportswriter, we're always looking to talk to anyone and everyone that's part of the tournament experience. So, I'm sitting on press row before the first game started, and the OU dance squad was standing near press row, having just gone over last second touches to their routines before their basketball team took the floor. Two dancers were standing right in front of me, and were nice enough to give me a glimpse into their thoughts on the tournament.

Sara Ball, 20, and Taylor Treat, 19, are two of 16 dancers on the OU spirit squad. Six of the 16 (including Sara and Taylor) were on the sideline for the game, but all 16 perform during the haftime festivities.

How do they pick which six?

"Seniority," said Treat. "The seniors get the first choice of games, and the freshman...well they get stuck with whatever's left."

Although this is the first time both have cheered for the Sooners at the Ford Center, it's not the first time that both have cheered at the facility.

"We came here once before to cheer on the Yard Dawgz," said Ball, noting Oklahoma City's AFL franchise.

However, cheering for Oklahoma means a lot more to both dancers, especially when it's a tournament scenario, and the whole region is there to see them representing their institution.

"When you put on the uniform, you become a whole different person," said Treat. "You're representing your hometown, your school, and really the state. It means a whole lot to represent OU like that."

Hmmm...shouldn't a lot more college athletes think that way about their school?

"Little girls come up and tell us they want to be just like us," said Ball. "That means a whole lot."

The dancers cheer for football, men's basketball, and women's basketball games, and love performing at all three, while emphasizing how great the fan support is for each event.

"What's amazing is how great the fan support is for women's basketball," said Ball. "It's equal to the support of the men's teams, and seeing women be that empowering and that dominant on the court, I love that."

"The support is amazing," said Treat. "And wait until halftime...the crowd will be going crazy."

And they were. Dressed in cowgirl outfits, the girls danced to a series of songs featuring Oklahoma, the last being the theme from the musical that shares its name with our host state. As soon as the theme music begin, everyone in Sooner red, as well as OSU Orange, leaped to their feet, clapping, stomping their feet, and singing along, ending with a thunderous "Hey!" and a roar from the crowd.

As we wrapped up our conversation, I asked what was the one thing that they wanted the public to know.

"We dance all year," said Ball. "There are no dance majors on this staff, but we dance all year round. We're athletes on this campus. People don't realize just how hard we work at this.

"We're dancing all the time," added Treat. "And right now, we're having to do fundraisers and other events to raise money to keep doing what we love to do."

And their passion carried through to the members of the Sooner Nation today in victory.

Posted by Jean Neuberger at 04:26 PM on March 08, 2007

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