In news that’s taken the JMU community by storm, Toyota Stadium, the site for the FCS national championship between JMU football and North Dakota State, announced streamers will be prohibited inside the stadium on game day. While some JMU fans have voiced their frustrations with the ban, the NCAA recently explained its rationale.
“With the amount the Dukes score, we needed to act swiftly to ensure the health of JMU fans,” Joy Thwarter, the NCAA’s celebration specialist, said. “You can only throw so many streamers before damaging the structural integrity of your shoulder or elbow. We’re prohibiting streamers for health reasons.”
Under head coach Mike Houston, the Dukes have scored 1,203 points in two seasons. The Dukes have accumulated 140 touchdowns in that span to go along with 35 field goals. According to Thwarter, after adding in key plays and defensive stands, JMU season ticket holders have likely tossed over 200 streamers in the last two seasons.
“I was stunned when JMU’s director of athletics Jeff Bourne signed Houston to a 10-year contract extension,” Thwarter said. “By running an offense which has scored over 1,200 points, Houston has shown a blatant disregard for the arm health of JMU fans. I mean, the Dukes haven’t scored fewer than 20 points once under Houston. At least give the fans one week of shoulder recovery for goodness sake.”
Among her talking points when explaining the decision, was the importance of keeping kids safe. Thwarter cited Little League pitch count rules in her argument.
“In a youth baseball game, kids are taken out after throwing a certain number of pitches,” Thwarter said. “Unfortunately, JMU doesn’t require fans to stop throwing streamers after a certain point.”
While she’s disappointed in JMU’s overall stance against streamers, she’s been pleasantly surprised at students supporting her case.
“I’m truly humbled when students leave at halftime to rest their arms,” Thwarter said. “I’ve asked a few leaving the stadium why they’re departing and many say, ‘To go drink,’ which is exactly the right way to recover from a long day of throwing streamers. Hydration is crucial after exercising.”
Thwarter stressed that she isn’t trying to limit fun, but rather ensure the long-term health of JMU faithful. She recommends that instead of throwing streamers when the Dukes score, fans utilize a stretch known to help reduce shoulder inflammation.
“Through our research, we’ve found that sitting on your hands actually helps relieve pain in the shoulder joint,” Thwarter said.
When asked by fans if they could yell when the Dukes score a touchdown as a healthy alternative to throwing streamers, Thwarter recommended alternating between screaming and silently sucking on a lozenge on the other scores.
“It’s important to enjoy the biggest game of the season, but nobody wants a sore throat,” Thwarter said. “As they say in Texas, “Moderation is key.’”