Pilots in the Spotlight: The teletubbies

By The Beacon | January 31, 2012 9:00pm

Jacob Midtlyng (Ian Hilger | The Beacon)

By Bruce Garlinghouse, Staff Writer -- garlingh13@up.edu

Junior Jake Midtlyng and his friend found themselves in a costume store on Halloween rushing to find a costume for the night's party.

As they searched, they continued to eye a couple of Teletubby costumes they had deemed too expensive prior, but they couldn't fight off the allure.

"Mike suggested how funny they would be but we just figured they were too expensive," Midtlyng said. "Next thing you know we were trying them on and finally said what the hell."

Not wanting to waste the $80 on just one night, two of the members decided to wear the costumes to a men's basketball game. The rest is history.

For the past two seasons, the "Teletubbies," which consist of Midtlyng, sophomore Chris Bates, junior Jonathan Squires and junior Ben Ullman, have been terrorizing opponents in the Chiles Center at the free throw line. Or at least trying to.

According to midmajority.com, a website that covers smaller Division I basketball teams, their efforts have not translated into lower free throw percentages for visitors. In fact, the opposing team's free throw percentage was above the season average when playing in the Chiles Center according to the report.

Midtlyng denied any correlation.

Whether or not they have any effect on actual game play, the human wheelbarrow, leap-frog sessions and "Bernie dances" have provided Pilot fans with tons of entertainment.

"All of the attention is pretty fun," Midtyling said. "We get kids coming up to us all the time, its cool."

During a game against Concordia, a representative for Nike approached them after he noticed Bates and Midtlyng were donning Nike Air Force 1's, one pair bright green and the other gold, to match their costumes.

When the Pilots faced Kentucky in the Rose Garden two years ago, they were surprised to see four seats roped off with a sign that read "Reserved for the Teletubbies."

"It started out as just something fun, but turned into kind of a big deal," Bates said.

They are no longer allowed to be on the walkway during free throws because they were blocking spectator's views of the court.

But Midtlyng said they understand and plan on continuing in the student section.

"We were in the student section during the Gonzaga game, not even wearing our suits, and had a great time," he said. "We definitely plan on heading down there for the next game."

As the season comes to a close, Midtlyng said they have already started thinking of some ideas to bring to the student section next year such as theme nights.

Midtlyng and Bates said it has been fun to be a part of a possible tradition and hope it continues.

Bates, being the only sophomore in a group of juniors, said he realizes the pressures that come with keeping the tradition alive.

"I have some serious shoes to fill," Bates said. "I am thinking we'll hold open tryouts to field out the talent."