Moving the chains: an inside look at the UC Chain Gang

Sophia DiBattista

sodibattista@ursinus.edu

 

This semester the Ursinus football team has dominated the scoreboard five games in a row, starting the season off strong. The players have been an active part of the college’s community and, of course, its sports community as well. There are many influences that impact their performance on the field. Alongside pure determination and hard work, they have a major support system from fans, coaches, alumni and a group often overlooked, the Chain Gang.

The Chain Gang is a group of students who are responsible for a few things that take place on game day. As the name indicates, they work the chains, meaning they hold the first down and line of scrimmage markers on the sidelines, but they also hold the extra footballs for the referees that are not presently in use.

Junior David Drea is the home-side ball boy for the Chain Gang. According to Drea, he is responsible for “monitoring the balls in play, catching extra-point attempts and providing referees with a friendly face when coaches, players and fans get heated about certain calls.”

Drea is an enthusiastic member of the organization. He described the group as, “a collection of extraordinary gentlemen who perform the game day duties of our Ursinus football team.”

He explained further, “We work on “the chains,” which are the orange posts seen on the sidelines, being ball boys, and most importantly, ensuring the sidelines are fully equipped with functioning headsets, thirst-quenching Gatorade, and the high-quality H2O provided by our friends in the [Sports Medicine Clinic]. Every year, we have one goal and one goal only: to be undefeated. Our goal is to outperform all other chain gangs in the nation and do so by helping refs run the game more smoothly.”

Drea continued, “We start every morning with a hearty breakfast with our fearless leader Sean Lacy, followed by prepping the field. We conclude our setup by ceremoniously bringing out the balls and chains to the sidelines. Afterwards we congregate, join hands, and bow our heads as Aidan Rogers leads us in a long, convoluted, and poorly worded pregame speech which is largely plagiarized by every football movie ever.”

Junior Aidan Rogers, a proud member of the Chain Gang, corroborated the one goal: to be undefeated. The team carries force and raw energy, which keeps them hyped up for practice and games. Rogers admitted that there are always ups and downs with mistakes being made, but said that overall the season is kicking off well. He hopes to make it to the championship, possibly winning a national title. With how the Bears have been competing so far, victory is likely in their future.

When asked if the duties of the Chain Gang are difficult, Drea replied, “The Chain Gang is a demanding job that requires the focus of a samurai, the agility of a jungle cat and the tenacity of a grizzly bear. When the dust settles after a long day on the gridiron, the Chain Gang remains on the field, as the legendary Dale Doback once said, ‘putting in the man hours to study the science of chainsology.’”

`Being a part of the group takes effort, patience, and vigor. Even though this seems arduous, these gents prove that teamwork is key and grit provides outstanding outcomes.

Drea realizes how much entertainment his group brings to the field, but feels little pressure.

Drea joked, “We are well aware that we are a highly-anticipated source of entertainment at halftime and we do our best to showcase our skills. We have already received offers from the NFL to perform at halftime at the Super Bowl but we graciously declined due to scheduling conflicts. We will continue to entertain and perform at a high-level as long as there is an audience as large and as fun as the one in the Patterson stands every Saturday.

“As for pressure, we are the most elite Chain Gang in the country. Therefore, we apply the pressure, we don’t feel it. There are only two requirements to be in the Chain Gang: never feel pressure and always play to win. Mike Shelton approved. Our dedication to perfection, poise, focus, and handsomeness is why we are undefeated since 1869 and are continuously regarded as the top Chain Gang in all of college football. Our motto is ‘Often imitated, never duplicated,’” Drea continued.

The Chain Gang takes pride in their work and for good reason. They solidify the structure of the Ursinus College football team. Clever wit, skillful discipline and humorous performance characterize the organization. Ursinus College is an honored owner of such a tight team and robust community and everyone anticipates a successful season for the Bears and the Chain Gang alike.

Follow the Chain Gang on Instagram @ucbearsballsandchains.

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