By C.M. Tomlin
Every fan base has its unique sources of inspiration. It’s odd, sometimes, where that can be found.
For the Marquette Golden Eagles, that inspiration can be found in the aptly if not creatively named “Jump Around Guy.” And if Jump Around Guy is a bit of a superhero here at Marquette’s Bradley Center, his unassuming alter ego is Rick Smith, a Milwaukee civil engineer and Marquette alum (class of ’73) who – like Spiderman himself – realized his powers quite by accident.
“My wife and I have been coming to games for about thirty years,” says Smith, “and about four years ago they started playing this song at games – maybe you’ve heard it before – called ‘Jump Around.’”
Smith, of course, is referring to the perennial House of Pain party song, which tends to get a crowd on its feet in most circles. Until four years ago, however, it had been only the student body traditionally erupting for the tune, with which Smith had some issues.
“I looked around and asked ‘why is it only the students jumping? Why can’t the adults and alumni jump?’ And that’s when someone asked me ‘What’s stopping you?’”
What happened next was the birth of a Marquette fan base legend. Smith rose to his feet and, in tune with the rowdy student section, began dancing along. An ESPN camera caught it all on film, and the engineer’s dance made that night’s SportsCenter.
During the next game, however, Smith didn’t have the choice. As the song played, the students all pointed to Smith, urging him up. So he did what any of us might have done. He jumped around again. And the crowd erupted.
Such was the origin story of Marquette’s Jump Around Guy. And four years later, it’s become Rick Smith’s duty. At each home game, the song plays. The camera goes to Jump Around Guy. And he does his thing. Now a staple, there’s even a Facebook page devoted to him – with over 1800 followers.
“I think it’s a lot of foolishness,” Rick says sheepishly, “but as long as it makes people happy, I’ll keep doing it.”
Indeed, with great power comes great responsibility.