A couple of Shocker sisters in their 80s have become unwitting Internet rock stars – all because they were caught sipping an energy drink called Rockstar on national television early Tuesday morning.
Betty Craig and her sister, Darlene Lowry – both devoted fans – were among the 10,506 fans who stayed up late-late Monday to watch Wichita State defeat Western Kentucky 66-49. The game was being broadcast on ESPN2 as part of ESPN’s annual “Tip-Off Marathon,” which airs college basketball games for 24 straight hours.
As part of a (very successful) promotion, fans entering the game were handed Rockstar energy drinks – highly caffeinated beverages that are the fuel of choice for college students cramming for tests, third-shifters trying to function, and – apparently – basketball fans trying to survive an 11:59 p.m. tipoff.
Early in the game, the ESPN2 cameras caught Betty, 84, taking a sip from the tall can then passing it to her sister, Darlene, 81. Darlene looks at the can, skeptical, and takes a sip. She quickly registers a look of puckered disgust, shakes her head, and passes the can back.
After halftime, the network re-aired the clip – this time with commentary from the broadcasters.
“Our two favorite Shockers fans are staying up very late tonight. Are they going to have to go to bed early?” one said.
“They’ll definitely stay up,” the other replied. “They had Rockstar earlier. Wichita women know how to party.”
By dawn the clip ESPN had posted on YouTube had gone viral.
It blew up on social media, and someone even created a Twitter account called “Rockstar Grannys.” ( twitter.com/RockstarGrannys.) The popular sports website Bleacher Report posted a clip of the video, with commentary. Other websites to feature the women included Deadspin.com, USA Today, NESN.com and Sportspickle.com. The Internet loved the WSU ladies.
The sisters caught wind of their accidental fame from family members. After searching in vain for the clip online, Darlene asked her granddaughter, WSU student Taylor Hudson, to send her a link.
Neither Betty nor Darlene answered their phones on Tuesday. Hudson said that her grandma thought the clip was kind of funny but was a bit embarrassed by the hoopla.
“She doesn’t really like that much attention,” Hudson said.
Her grandma is hip enough to know what an energy drink is, Hudson said, but she’s pretty sure it was her first up-close encounter with one.
“I thought it was pretty funny,” Hudson said with a laugh. “But I’m not even sure they knew that drink was going to taste like that.”