This was meet #2 of 6 at home, vs. the North Carolina State Wolfpack. I learned their cheer from watching Whose Wedding is it Anyway? on the Style Network: touch your two middle fingers to your thumb, and raise your pinkie and index finger like ears, then say "Go Wolfpack" opening and closing your hand like a puppet. I learned this watching a Wolfpack wedding planner who was quite aggravated to be planning a wedding for a pair of Carolina Tarheels; she was snarky enough about it that I thought the bride would be quite disappointed when she saw the show.
I've been watching a lot of Whose Wedding, trying to resolve the It Looks Like Fun to be a Wedding Planner/No That's Crazy Talk dichotomy in my head. Among other shows, Bridezillas is entirely too toxic, and My Big Redneck Wedding is too staged (it's real easy to see the strings in the production: "Now this where you tell your parents you went down to the Wal-Mart to buy outfits and your entire wedding party is going to be wearing camouflage!"). It's also narrated by Tom Arnold, popping up like the Cryptkeeper to point out how stupid these dumb rednecks are. Of the two episodes I've watched, one was actually quite sweet in parts; a very reserved cowboy groom and his best man went to a lingerie shop (picture the obligatory scene of these two salts-of-the-earth holding up a hanger full of strings and triangles saying What the–?) to buy a little something for his bride, but the peignoir they found had sleeves, which the groom knew the bride wouldn't like, so out in the parking lot he cut the sleeves off with his Now-that's-a-knife! sized pocket knife, a touching piece of consideration if you ask me. As her gift the bride had her picture made as she posed on the back of horse, wearing nothing but chaps. True Love (sigh).
What? Oh. Gymnastics meet:
The opposing team is introduced first. If the girls just stand there and wave when their names are called, you know they're outclassed from the start. The audience does applaud them politely, though. Once that's over, the lights go down and a short Go Us video that makes you sorry Leni Reifenstahl is dead plays on the Jumbotron, then there's a tremendous roar, fireworks fizz from the scoreboard and the cheerleaders come racing out of the tunnels carrying the Georgia flags with the gymnasts jogging behind them. Their names and faces go up on the Jumbotron when they're introduced; they all look like they've been hitting the self-tanner like Michael Kors on Project Runway.
Here's our Pink Gentlemen from the last meet:
The continuing nudge-nudge-wink-wink of the gymnastics team is that the coach is living with a member of the state Board of Regents. Apparently she calls him her fiance though he hasn't bothered to divorce his current wife.
A few years ago her fiance broke UGA rules by selling wine with the University's logo on the label through his liquor distribution company, after which the governor reappointed him to the Board of Regents for another seven-year term. He also got into a fight with a neighbor that ended with blood on the lawn. He was listed by ESPN as one of the most powerful sports boosters in the country. Last week it was announced that someone filed a demand for an ethics investigation against him–the filer is apparently one of those people who lives to sue the government, bless him, and I don't think the governor's up for reelection this year, so I'm not sure anything will shake loose (google regent yoculan if you want to see it all; I'm too 'shamed to post direct links, and besides, there's too many of them).
The Regent also owns the company who sponsors events in UGA's coliseum:
When you go into the stadium you have to open your bag so the nice people at the gate can make sure you're not carrying in your own, unsponsored, not-$3 bottle of water. And oh, yes, there are cheerleaders at our gymnastics meets.
The coach did lose a scholarship when she took a bunch of graduating seniors to New York for a shopping trip on the Regent's private plane in a particularly stupid violation of NCAA rules, but she's a good coach, and she's got eight national championships to prove it.
I liked the Wolfpack uniforms with the big paw print, though black velour is an unfortunate choice for any sport that relies so heavily on white chalk:
See the two photographers? See how the team's just standing around? Now here's Georgia:
The girls do arm movements and steps along with the gymnast on the floor, which is pretty cool. After the meet there's a recognition ceremony, where the two highest scorers from each event are recognized, and the audience decides whether to head out and try to beat traffic, or stay seated and let the traffic clear:
The gymnasts get flowers then hug each other before they sit back down. Only one member of the Wolfpack qualified for flowers, and the hug between her and the UGA team member was, um, formal. They may not have actually touched.
On the whole it was not the best meet ever; only two gymnasts scored higher than 9.9 during the entire meet, where usually at least one girl scores that high on each event. At the end of the recognition ceremony the final scores are announced, and if the Gym Dogs win the scoreboard spurts streamers and confetti (Pop! Now go home.). Since they haven't lost a home meet since 2005, and since the home schedule seems pretty weak this year, there's not a lot of suspense. The best meet should be UCLA at the end of March; it's sold out already.