With a name patterned after that of Tim Tebow’s signature bowing pose, a social media craze called “LiDarraling” has taken the campus by storm.
It all started when senior Cru quarterback and exercise sport science major LiDarral Bailey made a daring pass that attracted national attention. Coverage of the play was shown on ESPN, sending a pulse of pure purple pride pumping through Crusaders’ hearts.
“The fact that it made ESPN’s top ten plays was something to be grateful for, and I will never forget that moment,” Bailey said.
The catalyst that launched the “LiDarraling” phenomenon was a delirious night in a campus apartment. Computer graphic design major Lauren Theodore was present and looked over to see her friend balancing himself with a foot pointed backward and an arm extended upward, saying, “Look! I’m ‘LiDarraling’!” They went outside to take photos in the same position. The pair had no way of foreseeing the cyber blaze they were about to ignite.
“I posted the picture, not aware that within the next day it would blow up into a social trend,” Theodore said.
As soon as the first pictures were uploaded, the new pose became all the rage among students, staff and faculty alike.
Theodore said, “UMHB staff probably contributed half of the pictures. I love how it unified students and staff.”
She said President Dr. Randy O’Rear participated as well.
Assistant Director of Campus Activities Jeff Sutton made it his goal to “out-LiDarral” everyone who had joined the frenzy before him. He struck the pose holding his infant baby boy.
“When I saw the things that people were ‘LiDarraling’, I wanted to think of how I could one-up them,” he said. “I thought it would be really funny to “LiDarral’ my son. He didn’t mind too much, and we were really safe about it.”
The fad even enraptured local TV personalities and served as encouragement for the Cru athletes.
“The KWTX news anchors posted a picture on Twitter of them ‘LiDarraling’ on the set,” Theodore said. “Of course I took as many pictures of people ‘LiDarraling’ as I could to let the football team know we support them all the way.”
From the start, Theodore saw the trend as a way to help her classmates release anxiety and have some fun during a tense time for everyone on campus.
She said, “I took the first picture and saw that it was not only getting everyone hyped for the upcoming semi-final game, but also providing comic relief for the stress of finals week.”
Theodore enjoyed the rush of school spirit that swept the campus and took the country by surprise.
“I was definitely excited to be at the game and actually witness the play live, but even more so seeing it on Sports Center Top Ten in my own apartment and in Ohio in a restaurant the night before the
semifinal game,” she said. “I was proud to be a Crusader because our name was spread nationally on TV.”
Although Bailey is honored by the excitement and energy that fans are exhibiting for him and the team, he did not intend to draw such attention to himself or his abilities.
“At that moment in the game, I was just trying to make plays to help my team win,” he said. “And I think I got that part done … but had to remember at the same time, ‘stay humble.’ That was the key to it all.”
Along with Bailey’s humility comes undeniable success.
According to a Dec. 21 press release, Bailey was selected to play in the Dream Bowl, an all-star series of games meant to showcase the talents of distinguished collegiate players nationwide.
Assistant Coach of the Cru, Cody Fredenburg, is proud to see one of his players receive such recognition.
He said, “There are several ‘bowl’ games that look to honor those special players throughout the country. With the season he had, it was hard for the Dream Bowl to not notice what a terrific player he is. The better the players, the more prestigious the game is.”
The bowl game will be held at Salem Stadium in Roanoke, Va., during Martin Luther King weekend.
Bailey, who is now distinguished as the Cru’s all-time leading passer recognizes that the relationships he has cultivated have shaped his experience at UMHB.
“All credit goes to God, the whole coaching staff and my teammates,” he said. “I will never forget the friends that I made and that team that all of this happened with. We shared some great memories together, and I am thankful for them.”