Toilet paper flies in school’s largest sporting tradition

The Toilet Paper Game tradition lived on at John Brown University on Thursday night as spectators streamed into the Bill George Arena with their tissue rolls to eagerly await the season’s first Eagles’ basket.

After only 36 seconds elapsed, senior Abel Galliguez shot a three-pointer, causing fluttering streams of toilet paper to fill the air and the court.

Lauded as the “best technical foul in all of sports,” by USA Today, this tradition has continued for over 30 years. Several news and media sources covered the game again tonight. In addition were the many videos and pictures attendees began to post on social media sites mere seconds after the first shot flew through the hoop.

As Goldie and Regale made toilet paper “angels” on the court, cheerleaders, mascots, painted J. Alvin men, facilities services employees, small children and University students scooped up and swept away the endless yards of white mess. Then the game continued.

Initially the Eagles struggled to keep the Saints from Hillsdale Freewill Baptist (Okla.) from scoring, ending the first half with Hillsdale up 26-30.

Before halftime, the Saints made 52 percent of their shots. However, the Eagles pulled their act together, making 51.7 percent in the second half and cutting the Saints average in half.

The Eagles won, with a final score of 65-48.

Three Eagles scored in the double digits: junior Tucker Trumbo with 15, sophomore Max Hopfgartner with 12, and freshman D’Shon Taylor with 11.

The Student Government Association greeted ticketholders at the door and handed out over 900 rolls of toilet paper, said senior Kelsey Daugherty, president.

The toilet paper supply disappeared quickly as attendance rose to an estimated 2,200, according to Robyn Daugherty, athletic director. Since the stands only hold 1,800 seated spectators, the floor was crowded with about 400 extra fans, at least until the TP flew.

The toilet paper will be recycled after the game, said Steve Brankle, director of facilities services. “It used to be the married students would all come and get it,” he added, chuckling.

The game inspired displays of school spirit from many. The student section was a sea of blue, but most memorable were the shirtless men painted blue and yellow who cheered, hollered and sang from their front row position throughout the game.

Three painted freshmen, Ryan McCall, David Merkley and Zach Koym, enjoyed the experience and plan on coming back next year painted up again.

McCall said going to a game painted like that was something he “always wanted to do, but we could never do that at my high school.”

Visitors came of all ages, and many were there for their first time. Haylee and Levi Fox, ages 5 and 8, had never been to the TP Game before. Haylee was concerned her roll would not go far enough to reach the court when the time came to throw it. Levi wondered what it would look like, and thought maybe it would be “weird.”

Jonathan Marks, a junior, had never attended the game. But this time he got a front row view of the action from his wheelchair on the court. “This is pretty much a legendary JBU tradition,” he said. “How could I not be excited?”

This game was the first of the season for the Eagles, who play their next home game on Nov. 6 at 8 p.m.