“One of the first days I came to Taylor, I asked, ‘What is there to do around here?’” Lucas Magaldi said in a 2019 Indiana Pacers feature on Silent Night. “And they’re like, ‘Well, we have Silent Night.’”
The annual basketball game, a spectacle unique to this tiny community in central Indiana, has become a part of the fabric of Taylor University.
While some people will point to Taylor’s “intentional community” or faith-based background, many will know Taylor from Silent Night alone. It’s been featured on ESPN’s SportsCenter, CBS, NBC Nightly News and can typically be found on numerous social media accounts the night-of or the morning after the game takes place.
Except in 2020, it wasn’t. And for the first time in over 20 years, this game that had become such a unique and integral look inside the university, was abruptly halted when it was announced mere weeks before the game that it would be canceled due to COVID-19.
“It was a major loss,” Josh Andrews, men’s basketball head coach said, “And I hated that the seniors didn't get one more. It’s such a tradition within our program and within our community.”
That said, after a year hiatus, the excitement for Silent Night is at an all-time high.
With online tickets being made available weeks ago, and the promotion of the event in full force — it’s clear that this Silent Night, taking place Friday, is set to be one of the most anticipated Taylor events in recent history.
Juniors and seniors will return to the bleachers and sidelines in Odle Arena for the first time since 2019 when Ryan Robinson scored the famous tenth point and helped lead the Trojans to a dominant 89-50 victory over Ohio-Chillicothe.
For freshmen and sophomores, they’ll have a chance to experience the entire event for the first time — from waiting outside for indefinite hours, to swarming into the arena with a variety of costumes and then eventually going ballistic after the tenth point is scored. The game has all been stories or videos for them.
“It might have a greater sense of joy and appreciation surrounding it — having unplugged for a year,” Andrews said.
Now, anticipation builds as Lincoln Christian University is set to come to Odle Arena for the 24th annual game.
“I know last year’s cancelation was difficult for a lot of people, and it’ll be exciting to put on a show for everyone in attendance,” senior basketball player Jason Hubbard said.
Silent Night chapel service will be Friday, Dec. 10 at 10 a.m. Odle Arena doors will open at 4:30 p.m. and tip-off is slated for 6 p.m.