In the years since the Final Four, VCU basketball has become more and more intense. For me, Ginger Rage, walking into the almost empty Siegel Center two hours before the game, is like the calm before the storm. Ginger Rage is a persona that I and the Peppas have developed and it can take some time to get into it. In life outside of VCU sports, I’m generally quiet and keep to myself. The empty Stu is the perfect place to throw on some headphones and listen to a mix of angry rock and brass band charts to help get me into character before a game.
Hopping into the Rage has become second nature and has helped me to become more outgoing all around. After setting up while listening to my music, it’s never long until show time. There are a few things to finish before we perform – face tattoos are applied, jerseys are pulled on, instruments are out and at the ready, and then the doors open.
As the crowd starts to file into their seats some people will stop by and say hello. We try to warn newcomers and close fans that we may get a little rowdy and to beware. And then – it’s show time! From the moment we play the first note to the time we walk out of the stands, its high energy, playing, dancing, yelling, badgering, cheering, and having fun. Our main goal is to support our team and play great music while creating a hectic environment for the opponents. The Ginger Rage persona was born at a women’s basketball game as a joke two years ago, and now it has completely taken over my mindset every time I pick up a trumpet. Nothing could have prepared me for the experiences I’ve had with the Peppas and as Ginger Rage, but they will always be part of who I am.