March 21, 1995 in Nation/World

Silly Sacks’ Secret Is Out Of The Bag

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The Ferris High School dance and drill team might have parlayed a performance in the decrepit “Boone Street Barn” into a halftime show at the Los Angeles Forum.

But Jay Leno or the National Basketball Association headquarters in New York might book them first.

The Spokane squad hit the big time with a full-page spread in some copies of Sports Illustrated’s March 20 edition.

Faculty adviser Nancy Butz is running around like her girls in those stretchy body sacks, just trying to keep up with the calls.

The school’s Silly Sacks halftime routine, revived for the magazine after a year-long nap, has captivated talent scouts from far-flung corners.

Late last week, Butz took calls from the “Tonight Show,” the Los Angeles Lakers, the NBA and officials and organizations she can’t even remember. People magazine called Sports Illustrated to get some photographs.

So much for Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame. Ferris might get a full hour before it’s over.

“This is just way beyond what I ever imagined,” said Butz, who hastily took down one telephone number on the first thing she could grab - a toilet paper square.

Butz’s girls debuted the Silly Sacks during the 1991 Rubber Chicken game with Lewis and Clark.

While 30 girls pulsated and gyrated inside red stretchy body bags, Spokane Coliseum fans didn’t know whether to clap, cry or run for cover.

“It’s really weird,” Butz concedes.

Most fans just sat there.

But at state tournament performances that year and last, Seattle spectators couldn’t stay in their seats. Media there rushed to cover the “Sacks.”

A Seattle free-lance writer recently sold Sports Illustrated on the story.

On Feb. 10, the drill team danced to the “Ghostbusters” theme and Huey Lewis’ “Heart of Rock ‘n’ Roll” during halftimes of girls’ and boys’ games with Lewis and Clark.

“This all may not pan out, but I say to the girls enjoy the 15 minutes of fame, soak it up,” Butz said. “This is not gang violence. It’s exciting and positive for kids.

“They’re walking on the ceiling.”

Butz, who was told by Sports Illustrated that the feature was printed in one-third of its March 20 issues, is mailing interested callers a videotape of the sacks routine.

“Tonight Show” spokesman Mark Zawacki on Monday downplayed his call, saying he solicits hundreds of audition tapes.

But Zawacki told Butz, “If you get any calls from Letterman, let me know,” she said.


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