Bleeding Flyer blue
When I look back on my freshman year of college, I have many memories: Sitting in the top row in my COM 100 class in Chudd Hall. Carrying my “portable” Mac SE to the Marycrest basement to do laundry and homework.
But I have no memories of Flyer basketball games.
That’s because I never went.
In high school, I was full of Spartan spirit. I was a manager for the women’s basketball team and played every home football and boys basketball game as a member of the marching and pep bands. (I played piccolo but decided it wasn’t loud enough, so I switched to cymbals.)
I have no explanation and no excuse. But I do have regrets, especially now, as a season ticket holder for both basketball teams, when I see the Red Scare students link arms and sway to “Swag Surfin’” as basketball halftime expires.
Katie Acra was also a fan in high school. A cheerleader who played her share of sports and grew up rooting for the Indianapolis Colts, she was attracted to Red Scare her first year after seeing the student fan organization post a job for a graphic designer. Her involvement grew and led her to Red Scare leadership. This year, you could see the senior graphic design major in the front row in UD Arena, most often wearing an electric blue flight attendant uniform.
Acra inherited her costume, as did the rest of Red Scare leadership, from the leaders before them. But they also like to mix it up, swapping outfits as they make their way through cheering on and showing appreciation for student-athletes in all sports.
After last academic year, when the pandemic meant only 10 student fans got tickets to each men’s basketball game, the Red Scare section is once again full — and loud. Acra can claim victory for attracting the students, as she organizes the giveaways: light sticks, bucket hats and the perennially popular T-shirts.
But most of all, students love the energy and excitement.
“I’ve been hearing students say they are really seeking the atmosphere after a year of having to stay at home,” she said.
Red Scare has given Acra many memories. There’s that time she handed out fliers with Ryan Mikesell ’19, not realizing until the Red Scare event was over that the nice guy was a forward on the men’s basketball team. And the time when Jordy Tshimanga ’21, the 6-11 basketball center, sent Acra a happy birthday Snapchat.
And then there’s her last women’s basketball game. On Feb. 26, fans packed the UD Arena lower bowl as the Flyers played Rhode Island for the regular-season A-10 championship. Acra spent an hour putting on blue body paint to join the trio of red-wigged Red Scare fans. She called it one of the most amazing atmospheres she’s witnessed in women’s
Flyers won 60-46 on senior day.
“What a great way to send off the seniors,” Acra said.
And a great way to send off the Red Scare seniors. As Acra raised her arms to dance the “YMCA” one last time, with a large Red Scare section dancing behind her, she knew she had raised Flyer spirit during her time at UD.
She has the memories — and body paint — to prove it.