BYU students are enjoying a new pre-game tradition that comes in liquid form.
The George Randal, also known as the official drink of the ROC, is a tradition that was introduced to BYU sports last year. Students claim it’s made of 50 percent BYU basketball, 50 percent love and 100 percent delicious. Jim Hamblin, a BYU athletic academic adviser and co-creator of the George Randal, said the drink has changed aspects of his life.
“George Randal is more than a drink,” Hamblin said. “It’s the feeling of camaraderie, no respecter of persons. It’s somewhere you can feel accepted and refreshed all in the spirit of George Randal.”
In the line for sporting events, students mix the non-alcoholic drink to help build up hype. Junior Nikkita Ulloa said they’ve handed it out at about 10 football and basketball games during the 2013-2014 sports season.
“I think the most we’ve ever handed out was at the Utah game,” she said. “We handed out about 400.”
The official mix itself includes a secret diet soda base, liberal amounts of cubed ice and half a fresh lime. Students, however, have invented several variations, including the Fully-Loaded Randal, which is a non-diet drink, the Virgin Randal, a non-carbonated version, and even a mix with vanilla called the Dirty Randy.
“The Fully-Loaded Randal is always the classic for me,” said junior ROC member Michael Von Forell. “But we mostly make the ‘Dirty Randy’ before games.”
The origin of the drink remains a mystery for most students, but that doesn’t stop them from making up grand stories. Junior Jackson Walker said whenever anyone asks where the drink came from, someone has to make up a new story on the spot.
“Usually when anyone asks where the Randal came from we just make up a fake story,” he said. “Bill Walton still believes it was astrophysicists at BYU that made it up.”
The real story began when a man named George Randal Barker first slipped lime into his diet soda. After one sip he was hooked.
“Randy, in an attempt to quit drinking so much sugar soda, went to diet soda,” Hamblin said. “To offset the aspartame taste, he squeezed in a fresh lime, thus creating the first drink of the George Randal.”
Randal Club president Ryan Lunt said the drink didn’t take off until he introduced it to his co-counselors at Especially for Youth. They began tailgating with it at BYU games, and the student section embraced the drink with open arms.
“A young man that I brought onto the team made ‘Randaling’ a huge part of his existence,” Lunt said. “From there we just told everyone about it.”
Currently it’s a tradition to give the drink to any commentator who works at a BYU home event. Celebrity commentator drinkers to date include Greg Wrubell, Mark Durrant, Dave McCan, Blaine Fowler and Spencer Linton as well as ESPN commentators Bill Walton, Dave Flemming, Miles Simon, Beth Mowins and Kara Lawson.
“I drank the whole thing; it was very good,” Walton said during his game broadcast of BYU vs. Mercer in the second round of the NIT last year.
Lunt said though many have been influential in spreading Randals, the drink is so tasty it could spread by itself.
“This is a beverage everyone needs to try once; if you don’t like it after once, you’ll be the first person that disliked it,” he said.