There was a recent time when the events surrounding the Indianapolis 500 also were augmented by the Indiana Pacers still in the thick of NBA playoffs come Memorial Day weekend. In those days, the crowd would get loud at the 500 Festival Parade, on the Saturday of the long weekend, when the Pacemates dance squad would pass by. Enthusiasm for the team and the ability of the Pacemates to pump up the volume added to the excitement along the parade route.
But these days, the Pacers are in NBA limbo land: not good enough to make the playoffs and winning enough to have a no real shot at the draft lottery’s top prize. This limbo can last a long time. Season after season. I have lived through it before.
So during one of the final games of the year in April, I wondered what the busy Pacemates would do with the extra time afforded by a lack of playoff games.
Fans entering Conseco Fieldhouse were greeted by Meredith and Brittany who handed out programs. Appropriately, the program cover featured the best performers in the organization, the Pacemates!
In the upper concourse, Jessica R and Jarin were signing the same photo (in souvenir card form) that graced the cover of program. I asked Jessica what she would do with the extra time that no playoffs would provide. Jessica laughed and responded, “It will be from one extreme to the other. It will be short though, because we have auditions in July. We’ll be right back into it before too long. Just a little break, but I’ll take advantage of it. I am going to sleep, I know that.”
Down near the club area “Legends” which is sponsored by Brighthouse, also the sponsor of the Pacemates, Tamara and Elizabeth met with fans. Tamara shared with us all that this was Elizabeth’s birthday, and Elizabeth seemed thrilled about the sharing of this information.
Tamara is about as fun and joyous as you can get. If there is a little kid in sight range, Tamara will be making that child smile and giggle soon enough. I asked Tamara what she would do with the off season time, and she replied, “Some of the girls on the squad and I have some exciting trips planned. We have a break, but the time is going to pass faster than you know it! It’s definitely a break that we need, but once we get it, we are going to be ready to start right back up.”
On the main concourse, Ashley and Jessica L also were signing the souvenir cards. It didn’t sound like the extra time would make much difference in their busy schedules. “We will work and go to school,” they said, with an inflection that indicated busy days remained ahead as semesters wind down.
Pulling double and triple duty with cheering, work and school is one thing, but on this game night, Shea would be pulling double duty as both a Pacemate and the on-court emcee during game breaks. Shea not only performs these tasks, but also drives all the way from Ohio to be one of the Pacemates! For those of you not from ’round here, that is over an hour drive (through some of the most exciting scenery, corn, you’ll ever see, too). And this part of Indiana also gets its share of ice on the roads during the winter months, so a big THANK YOU to Shea for all the work and effort she puts into being on the squad and making the game breaks entertaining!
All of the Pacemates did their typical wonderful job, both greeting fans as gates opened to performing on the court, but the my Center Court Standout of the Game (drum roll please) is the amazing Tamara! This Purdue grad is known as “Teyonce” to the rest of the squad because, according to Captain Melanie Tamara “can dance and sing just like the diva Beyonce!! Tamara is one of our best hip hop dancers on the team. She is known to serenade us at the games in the locker room and at practice as well. Teyonce can light up a room once she enters it!!”
No doubt, Tamara is a joy to behold as a fan also! Tamara also is head coach of the dance team at local Marian College. So Tamara, and other Pacemates, enjoy this time off, recharge, and be back for try-outs in July!! We need one star-laden team to see during basketball season!!