The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

May 18, 2013

HERTZEL COLUMN: Flying WV logo draws attention outside country


MORGANTOWN — o o o o o o

This basketball season past I did a column on how Matt Wells, who runs WVU’s marketing, spends so much effort on creating a fun atmosphere at the Coliseum, win or lose, and how that is very dependent upon whom he selects to sing the national anthem and to perform at halftime.

The column centered upon the favorite act of almost everyone, that being the Red Panda Acrobat, who delights young and old by flipping dishes on to her head with her feet while astride an 8-foot-tall unicycle.

Turns out her following stretches far beyond the Coliseum.

Will Leitch of the wonderful website named her the top halftime act in the NBA and spoke to her about what goes into it, and you can see the interview on a podcast on that site.

This is what he wrote, though:

“If you don’t know, the Red Panda is the greatest halftime act on Earth. It is difficult to overstate how terrific the Red Panda’s act is. To describe the act simply as what it is can’t do it justice, but I shall try regardless.

“Basically, the Red Panda is an acrobat who rides around on a unicycle, balancing plates on her feet and then flipping the plates onto her head. See? Told you I couldn’t do it justice. That’s amazing, right? It shouldn’t be physically possible to do that. I’m pretty certain it’s magic.”

It isn’t magic, but it’s often better than the game being played by the teams who are supposed to be the main attractions, especially in the NBA.

o o o o o o

Nobody asked me, but this may be the year the Pirates finally break through and contend after two decades of despair.

They have a star in Andrew McCutchen but, as important, another budding star in Starling Marte.

Add in some solid starting pitching that may be very good if Francisco Liriano is back to full strength and a shutdown bullpen and they may have to go some to screw this one up.

Email Bob Hertzel at Follow on Twitter @bhertzel.

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