The University of Central Arkansas Sugar Bears had been routed by Lamar University during a trip of Beaumont on Thursday night.
Looking for motivation, they accidentally created their version of the “Harlem Shake,” the dance craze that is sweeping the nation.
This one was in standstill traffic on a high bridge.
“Harlem Shakes, Cajun Parking Lot style.”
Saturday morning, after some of the players had to dry their uniforms with hair dyers after a logistical hiccup on what was becoming a nightmarish long road trip, the team bused across the Sabine River to Lake Charles, La., to play McNeese State’s Cowgirls on their Senior Day. It’s normally about a 40-minute drive.
However, there was an eight-car pileup on the a high bridge over the Calcasieu River leading into Lake Charles. The bus carrying the Sugar Bears had just passed the high hump in the bridge when it came to a standstill in traffic.
And unless you’re part of a James Bond movie, when you’re stuck on one of the tallest structures in Louisiana you’re stuck.
The Sugar were delayed about an hour and a half, delaying the start of the game for about two hours.
So, what does a team do when it is stuck on a skyscaper of a bridge with game time approaching?
Fine tune the game plan?
“We had been wanting to do a video doing the ‘Harlem Shake,’” said Megan Herbert, the team’s star and leader. “We figured what better time. It was a crazy day. There wasn’t anything else to do.”
So the Sugar Bears collected gear and equipment and got down and dancing, furnishing entertainment for several stranded motorists.
“There was really nothing else to do,” Herbert said. “When we got to the game, we were loose and relaxed and we won.”
For the third straight season the game against the Cowgirls, the biggest rival the Sugar Bears have in the Southland Conference, went into overtime. Each time, the UCA women prevailed.
This one was a high moment on an up and down season, pretty much symbolized by the up-and-down trip over the bridge and through the bayou.
Anthony Walker, UCA’s assistant men’s coach, said at Monday’s Bearbacker luncheon how the Bears have been notorious for slow starts all season. He said the coaches have gone through their bag of tricks and nothing has seemed to get the team in gear very quickly.
Have you tried the ‘Harlem Shake?’”
“No, but we’ll try anything,” he said. “It worked for the women. We’re open to suggestions.”
(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at email@example.com or 505-1235)