Featured (List) Features

The Era’s Tour (Monmouth’s Version)

Are you ready for it? Shortly after the Kansas City Chiefs won and advanced to the Super Bowl, @muhawks Instagram announced that the women’s basketball game on Super Bowl Sunday would be Taylor Swift-themed.

With all the hype surrounding Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour, her relationship with Travis Kelce, and her new albums, her fans and haters have watched her every move. Within the last few months and with her many appearances at Chiefs games, everyone, including the NFL, has used her presence as a marketing opportunity. Anticipation of what a Taylor Swift-themed game entailed grew after the activities list was released. A friendship bracelet-making station, Swift-themed prizes and T-shirts, Usher-inspired halftime, and Taylor Swift discography throughout the game completed the day.

It’s 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 11, as Hawks fans filled into the Ocean First Bank Center, ready for an exciting Taylor Swift-themed game. As they enter the arena, they are greeted by the friendship bracelet-making station. Here, fans of all ages gathered around the tables to make their bracelets. Little girls wearing their Swift-inspired T-shirts and sweatshirts allowed for new friendships to be made sitting at the tables. All eagerly assembled their bracelets and put them on, waiting to make another and listening to some of Swift’s most popular songs.

With the clock ticking down to game time, bracelet-making kept going strong and continued throughout halftime. Ryan Schwager, Assistant Director of Athletic Communications, shared, “It’s always great to see all the Swifties coming together. This was a fun game to be a part of and help create.”

Once the pregame clock expired the national anthem was performed followed by player intros. The Swifties filled the stands with “…Ready For It?” playing before tip-off. Then the game began.

The Hawks took on the visiting University of Delaware Blue Hens. Monmouth started strong in the first quarter, scoring early and leading 19-15. At the end of the quarter, the game seemed to be in the Hawks’s favor. The energy was high throughout the arena as fans knew they were about to experience a close game. Monmouth student Margaret McNeil shared, “I knew it was going to be a good game based on the intensity both teams were bringing, it was a game that kept me on the edge of my seat.”

The score leading into halftime was 38-31 with the Hawks still ahead. At halftime, the activities continued with a performance by the Monmouth Dance Team and an Usher halftime dance competition. The winner of the competition took home a Taylor Swift Eras Tour blanket. During the competition, it was revealed that the two girls competing against each other were sisters and shared a heartwarming moment.

In the third quarter, students competed against each other to win a Polaroid camera for the student of the game competition. The two students dressed in “their best eras tour outfit,” which included a pink tutu and sunglasses, had to make a layup before running back to the other baseline with a giant inflated football. This competition was a combination of both Taylor Swift and Super Bowl Sunday, making it perfect for the occasion. The third quarter ended 50-47 with the Hawks still leading.

Even with a loss, the game still proved exciting and a great turnout for the Hawks. Gary Kowal, Executive Associate Athletic Director for Communications and Digital Media, said, “It was a successful day, an awesome day. There was a good crowd out to support the women’s team and they deserve it.”
When asked about what he thought of the Taylor Swift theme, he explained, “Incorporating current events right before the Super Bowl was important. It was good entertainment and it was nice to see young children here to support.”

Sports and entertainment are both centered around a strong sense of community and belonging. Within those areas, role models often blossom, allowing young fans to have someone to look up to.
Beyonce Carranza, a Monmouth student and Assistant Athletics Marketing member knows the importance of having role models. She shared, “The athletes and the coaching staff here at Monmouth have such an influence that reaches further than our direct community, and of course, Taylor Swift has influence worldwide. Seeing all the young fans out today makes me excited, hoping that today they were able to see the powerful women on the court while listening to one of the most celebrated artists of our time.”

Whether you’re a Swift fan or not, it’s hard to deny that she is one of the most followed artists of the generation. Monmouth Athletics hosting a Taylor Swift day allowed fans of her music to mix with Hawks fans, creating a special day for all.