Although the THON 2021 Pep Rally looked a little different this year the smiles, energy and purpose remained the same. Kicking off at 7 pm, the virtual format allowed for prerecorded videos to be submitted from anywhere in the world. THON families were still able to introduce Penn State sports teams and the format also allowed for VIP Zoom rooms full of alumni and special guest appearances from Penn State Football alum Trace McSorely, Grant Haley and Mike Gesicki.
Being right here in State College at the Bryce Jordan Center, Blue Sapphire Gillian Brooks was able to give a lovely performance on stage before a lighthearted Q&A alongside Drum Major Keith Griffith. After about an hour full of lively performances and shoutouts, the THON 2021 Pep Rally ended with the final special guest, Sue Paterno, who answered questions from THON Pep Rally coordinators Rachel Hansen and Patrick Bradley and closed with words of wisdom inspiration.
Performances and Shoutouts
The prerecorded performances and shoutouts gave a behind-the-scenes look at Penn State’s athletic facilities and athletes in their elements. Performances included: Men and Women’s Swim and Dive, Men and Women’s Gymnastics, Women’s Ice Hockey, Field Hockey and Men’s Volleyball who all gave an entertaining show. From moonwalking on ice and jumping into pools to gymnastics equipment, sports teams were able to show off and utilize where they train.
- Women’s Ice Hockey proved just how smooth they are by incorporating an amusing penguin slide and moonwalking with skates on ice
- Men’s Swim and Dive sported lifeguard props and ended with a splash as they jumped into a pool
- Women’s Gymnastics impressed with smooth videography and transitions while performing on various gymnastics equipment
- Men’s Gymnastics, of course, consisted of many flips, twists and turns
- Women’s Swim and Dive sported a globe costume as they danced to “Worldwide” by Big Time Rush and “Run the World (Girls)” by Beyoncé
Throughout the Pep Rally, many other Penn State sports teams and athletes expressed their excitement and support with enthusiasm: Penn State Football, Men’s s\Soccer, Ice Hockey, Baseball, Fencing and Women’s Tennis, Lacrosse, Volleyball, Golf, Fencing and Track and Field.
- Guest appearances from Trace McSorely, Grant Haley and Mike Gesicki
- Landon Knepp, the young boy who Gesicki surprised last year, asked his idol fun questions and learned they share a love for the color blue and Gesicki’s favorite holiday is Christmas
- Sophomore Swim and Dive Nikolette Nolte’s empowering story of her own battle with cancer
- The Blue Band’s upbeat and catchy rendition of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” but Whitney Houston
- The lovely Sue Paterno’s heartfelt advice and encouragement
Overall, was the THON 2021 Pep Rally different from last year? Yes. Was it still a success? ABSOLUTELY. Even with the virtual format the Penn State athletes, THON families and guests were all able to keep the energy going and keep spirits high with their refreshing performances, smiles and passion for THON.