Michael Galyean crossed a big item off his bucket list when he took fans by surprise at a college football game and joined the University of Tennessee dance team when the Volunteers faced off against the Kentucky Wildcats at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The whole thing, which was caught on camera in a now-viral video, shows Galyean seemingly working as a security guard at the event until he ends up causing a commotion by blocking the dance team’s routine.
After one of the dancers appeared to get frustrated and walked away, Galyean broke out in full routine and started dancing with the rest of the team to the cheering crowd.
While speaking to TODAY, Galyean explained how that viral moment came together after he was contacted by the dance team’s coach, and his longtime friend within the local dance community, Kelley Tafazzoli.
“She reached out to me about 10 days before. I remember it was a Wednesday and she texted me, ‘Hey, the marketing team has this idea we want to do this little bit during the football game. We’re still working out details, but would you be interested in doing some improv, some acting and then dancing with the dance team on the field?'” he recalled. “And I said, ‘I’m already in uniform. Where do I sign up? Let’s go.'”
In order to bring the performance to life, Galyean switched shirts with one of the security guards at halftime and had to pretend to be working the whole third quarter. The dance team took the floor with only four minutes left in the game and it was his time to shine.
Although he was “super anxious” about what was to come, Galyean said that he was “super ready” at the same time.
“In my head, I was going, ‘What am I doing? Are my knees going to break? Am I too old for this? They’re going to hate me,'” the 40-year-old said.
But when it came time to do the bit, Galyean said he “blacked out” and nailed it.
“When that first count hit and I broke into the routine, holy moly. And as a former cheerleader, I thought the crowd was cheering because the team was back on the field and we scored a touchdown. I didn’t realize I was on both Jumbotrons and the whole stadium could see it,” he said.
The video, which was shared on the dance team’s Instagram and TikTok account, @vol_danceteam, has been viewed more than 16 million times.
Galyean said that he never thought that it would become so popular and got excited when the video hit 2,000 views.
“It is everywhere (now),” he said. “It’s super exciting. I don’t know much about TikTok, but that’s the trend. That’s what the kids are doing.”
Galyean even changed his Instagram profile to read, “Yes, I’m the Blue Shirt Guy, blocking a dance team near you!”
The sweetest part of the story is that Galyean got to see one of his childhood dreams come true. As a high school cheerleader, he wanted to continue cheering in college at the University of Tennessee, his alma mater. But instead, he felt too self-conscious and ignored that passion.
It wasn’t until he lost his job last year after 25 years of working in retail that he decided to take a full swing at the things he’s always wanted to do since he was 18.
“When you’re 18, and this is what I’m trying to teach people is that 18 doesn’t mean that you stop being a kid,” he said. “You can still play dress up, still dance and still move.”