Although there's always a certain amount of energy surging through the Dow Diamond when the players take the field, it is when the Great Lakes Loons score a run, and the song "Sandstorm" by Darude begins, that it is at its greatest.
That's because it's Funky Feather time.
The recently named Funky Feather is a dance -- no, more of a cheer, well, maybe a cross between a dance and a cheer -- in which sometimes 5,000 fans pump their fists alternately in the air to the "Sandstorm" beat in support of the Loons. If you missed a few games this summer, it sneaked up on you, although at least one man's version has been ongoing for more than a year.
"I don't know how it got started in the games," said Loons intern Steve Addington, who is given much of the credit for the Funky Feather version of the cheer, and for getting fans involved in what has become a phenomenon, resulting in videos, T-shirt sales and graphics on the jumbotron.
General Manager Paul Barbeau knows how it grew, however. When a group of the marketing interns, which included Addington, would be waiting at the tunnel entrances to go out into the field for some of the games or shows, they would begin to do the cheer when the Loons scored. Then, just before the All-Star break, a few fans around the group began doing it, and then a few more.
"They took advantage of an opportunity," Barbeau said. "A new tradition was started at the ballpark."
An amazed Addington said it was kind of an inside joke among the interns.
"When the Loons would score a run, we'd do it, but I don't know how it got to be 5,000 people were doing it," he said. "It spread like wildfire. It really caught on, the arms going up and down."
It's like the people were waiting for permission to party. Prior to the marketing students leading the charge, visitors to the diamond could see people squirming in their seats when the Loons would score, the "Sandstorm" music would start, and Tim Lamparski of Midland, a really energetic fan, would get up from his chair and pump his arms up and down while swaying to the fast-paced beat. It was a dance he practiced at home, he said, and one that earned him a spot on the big screen quite often at the games.
"I always liked being on TV," he said.
He welcomes the Funky Feather fans.
"It's good," he said.
Addington said the two things that count are: the Funky Feather "raises the spirit of the crowd. You can feel the energy flowing through it." And, it took teamwork -- from fellow interns Jake Boven, Stephen Lovasz, Kevin Schunk and Jane Rose to videographer Chris Lones to the people who thought of the T-shirts, and other Loons staff, to make it work.
He said being a part of the Loons, what he called a "winning team," was "a really good feeling. There is no other feeling like it."
Particularly when you are doing the Funky Feather.
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And here's a YouTube clip. Looks like fun.