Falcons are fierce: Their screech is loud and ear-piercing and the Peregrine falcon is one of the fastest animals on the planet, with dives reaching over 200mph.
On the small campus of Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio (enrollment of 17,706), the student section known as the “Bleacher Creatures” show up proudly decked out in orange and brown, filling multiple sections of BGSU Ice Arena from the top row all the way to the glass to support their Falcons.
Are they ground-breaking in their traditions? Not entirely. Any fan of college sports has seen a student section “pretend” to read the campus newspaper while the public address announcer rattles off the opposing team’s lineup, looking up after each name to shout out “Who’s he?!” before going back to the cutting-edge reporting on the pages. Being so close to the glass, the Creatures are visually intimidating right from the start as they hold up the newspaper pages filled with orange and brown, surrounding a huge font reading “WHO’S HE? NOBODY!” – which makes for a great Twitter background – during introductions. They also have a t-shirt to go along with it.
One of the student leaders of the Bleacher Creatures, junior Jordan Dettrow sat down with BabesDigBalls.com during a recent game to talk about why the student section is so impressive, and why they should have been included on our Top 10 list.
“From 1978 until 1985 or 1986, a little bit into the 90’s, we were really solid,” Dettrow said. “The Bleacher Creatures started in ’78 and were here until ’82 when they graduated so it was hard to keep it going.” Having a student section older than the students making it is one of the things that make the Creatures so impressive.
“We won the national championship in 1984, but then the program started slowly declining, making the student section decline.”
Failing to ride the national championship to solid recruiting, the Falcons brought in Chris Bergeron, a former Miami University player and assistant coach, in 2010 and have seen an impressive resurgence since.
“My freshman year, I went to all the games and I would notice the team getting better but the crowd wasn’t getting better,” Dettrow said. “So last year, myself and a few friends decided to start something and did some digging.”
The students found an article from Sports Illustrated that highlighted the student section from the late 1970s.
“They were so popular at the time, and we knew we had to bring it back.”
“We’ve slowly been climbing back up, but that’s the difference between us and other student sections, they’ve been consistently good,” Dettrow said of the new breed of Creatures. “Other schools like Michigan and Ohio State – their program is pretty good, consistently. Ours is starting to come back now.”
A game at BGSU Ice Arena is atop the list on the freshman experience.
“In our conference, our teams have been very good. Our football team just won the (Mid-American) conference, went to a bowl game. Our baseball team won it last year, volleyball won a couple of years ago and went to the NCAA tournament,” Dettrow said of other Falcon teams. “Our sports program as a whole is pretty good, except for hockey which is slowly getting there. The experience you get when you go to a hockey game is unlike anything else on campus,” Dettrow said noting that football touches it since it is one of the first events students experience in the year.
However, hockey games are still one thing every BGSU student must experience, and the sooner, the better.
“Once you go to one, you’re hooked.”
Mascot siblings Freddie and Frieda Falcon steal the show during stoppages in play by pumping up fans especially after the Zamboni exits the ice. The sassiness of the two is intoxicating. Having two mascots is uncommon already, but having a female version that young girls can relate to, with her cheerleader-inspired look, is something rarely seen in hockey. Seeing nearly a dozen little girls in an orange and brown jersey with a hockey stick in their hands is a sight that warms the heart.
Heartwarming for fans but intimidating for opposing teams, the Bleacher Creatures have been known to rattle a few former college players, and they will be ready to admit it.
“Bowling Green’s student section actually pissed me off,” former Western Michigan University player Brett Beebe said. “When they effect players like that, they’re doing a good job.”
The guys on the ice are well aware of the Creatures as well.
“They’re awesome. They come dressed in different costumes each game and are always really loud,” junior forward Adam Berkle has said. “They bring a whole different aspect to the game and make it pretty hard for opposing teams to come into BG and play us.”
The position of the Creatures right next to the opposing team’s bench makes the visitors an easy target.
The Bleacher Creatures recently won a Twitter campaign to be featured as the header of the NCAA Ice Hockey Twitter account.
Without a doubt, the Bleacher Creatures of Bowling Green deserved a spot on the Top Ten Student Sections piece posted a a little while back. Since they were nice enough to make me an “Honorary Bleacher Creature” (check out my Instagram/Twitter accounts for proof), it is only fair they earn “Honorable Mention” in this year’s Top Ten. Next year, the Falcons are sure to be perched near the top of the list.