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Neighbor Q&A

30 minutes with… Daniel Jacob. By Thomas Buck   Feb. 2016
Marketing Executive. Massage Therapist. AirBNB-er. Mavs ManiAAC.
A Neighbor as Unique as Lochwood.
Q: What is your name?
A: Daniel Jacob
Q: What is your quest?
A: (chuckles) I want to get across the bridge.
Q: What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?
A: African or European?
    Q: Huh, I don’t know that….Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
    A: Ok, now that we got that out of the way… 
Q: Yes. Alright, how long have you lived in Lochwood?
A: I bought my house in 1999. Memorial Day of ’99.
Q: Where were you living before and what made you decide to move to Lochwood?
A: I was at SMU. I graduated college and decided I didn’t want to pay anybody any rent. My sister just graduated graduate school was moving down here for work, so we bought the house together. She has since moved on to Atlanta and started a family, but I’ve been here since ’99.
Q: How did you discover Lochwood? Did a realtor turn you onto the neighborhood?
A: Yes, a realtor at that time. There were, at that time, a lot of affordable homes straight out of college. It was near the lake, so I liked that. I leaned on my realtor then and lucked out in finding a great neighborhood. 
Q: What do you do for work?
A: Multiple things, but during the day, I work for Rokkit Marketing. We build websites for  small businesses, and then help market those sites and their services via digital email marketing, social media. All the different channels. And then, I’ve been a massage therapist since 2004. I moonlight out of Lake Highlands Acupuncture @ NW Hwy/Ferndale. I rent out a room in my house through AirBNB. And, of course, I dance at Dallas Mavericks games since 2002, as a founding member of the Mavs ManiACCS.
Q: Fantastic! So wait, AirBNB? How do you like that?
A: It’s been great. I’ve always had roommates. About a year and half ago, I decided I didn’t want somebody longterm, I but still enjoyed the cash flow from it. I was in NYC and stayed at an AirBNB in Harlem, and it was a great experience. So, I made a mental note, and about a year ago, I tried it out and it took a while to get reviews. But once I had a few people stay and give me positive feedback, it’s been rolling ever since.
Q: And massage therapy? How’d you get into that?
A: Well, I always enjoyed massage therapy. In 2004, I went through school, got certified, and I’ve been either full-time to part-time ever since. But, mainly part-time for theist 5-6 years. It’s a passion. I’ve always enjoyed it.
Q: What made you decide to become a Mavs ManiACC?
A: So, I graduated from SMU with a degree in cinema, and my first career in and out of school was acting. The main commercials I did involved being a boisterous fan, a big fan of whatever sporting event, whether it be for an insurance company or for American Airlines. The Dallas Mavericks had an ad in the paper that said “We’re looking for clydesdales, not chippendales”, which is the best tagline ever. I wasn’t comfortable in my dancing ability, but I was comfortable being a “big fan”. Basically making an “a$$” of myself, I was alright with that. And, they were offering free playoff tickets. So, they had auditions, had you send in a full length photo, b/c they didn’t want professional dancers. They wanted Mavs fans first, entertainers second. I was chosen as one of the 80. Then from the auditions, they choose 13 of us. We rehearsed for 2 weeks, and there was supposed to be one performance during a playoff game in 2002. it was supposed to be just one game, and now it’s 14 years later. We do every home game. 41 home games, they every home playoff game, as well as watch parties, weddings, corporate events (over 100 events outside of the AAC) per year. And, we were just blessed to be asked to our third Allstar game. We want to Denver in 2005, at AT&T Stadium in 2010, and now in Toronto this year.
Q: Congratulations! How’d you get picked to do that?
A: So, the NBA is a big fan link. Every year they do “best in show”. They’ll go around to the different organizations and if something works well, they’ll send out a YouTube video link and say “here’s the best from all the teams”. Mavs CEO Floyd Jahner was contacted by the NBA to see if the ManiACCs would be interested in performing. We were like, “Absolutely- were in!”
Q: How often do you practice?
A: At least once a week. Leading up to performances, we pack in an extra 2-4 hours of rehearsal just to get it right.
Q: And there’s 13-14 on the roster.
A: 16 this year. 3 original. There’s Kendall (Crazy K), who’s our main choreographer, Big Rob, who has been the “face” of the ManiACCs, and myself. Then everybody else - it ranges from their first season to being here 10 years.
Q: With there being so many different personalities on the roster, it seems like you all are having an absolute blast. Are you?
A: We are! All the work we put into it is to add atmosphere to the game. Recently, we were asked to open for Mark Cuban at a TXU corporate event, and he noted the ManiAACS as being one of the best ideas he’s had from an innovation standpoint. Mark was the one who came up with the concept of the ManiAACs, after seeing a “large” fan captured on the big screen dancing in Seattle. Since then, I believe 17 of the 30 (NBA) teams are doing something like what we do. It’s the old saying that imitation is the best form of flattery. So, often imitated, but never duplicated.
Q: Absolutely agree. so, I saw your tongue-n-cheek post on the first edition of “ManiAACs History” recently. More history to come?
A: Yes, we did that last Fall. There is more to come. There’s always something in the works.
Q: Who came up with your (ManiAACs) name, BoyAin’tRight?
A: A police officer at the game. He had been on the force for many years. In fact, he retired maybe 5-6 years ago, so that tells you have seasoned he was. During one of the games, I guess I was being extra boisterous, and he (the police officer) goes: “I’ve been on the force a long time, and that boy ain’t right! 
Q: Do you ever get nervous performing in front of 16,000 people?
A: Yes. I would say around year 7 or 8, there came a more of a calmness. Now it’s more about knowing we put in the time and having that confidence. You don’t want to be a deer in headlights or look scared. You got to look like you’re having fun however you’re performing. The nerves have calmed some, but there’s always a little bit of excitement going on, on the court. And the crowd’s reaction adds fuel to the fire.
Q: Are you always wanting to one-up your last routine and add something to the mix?
A: Absolutely. We always want to keep it fresh. We just added a dubstep (robotic dance move) this year. We’ll take older routines and add to them. We did a lot a (Justin) Timberlake moves in 2003 that were a lot of fun, and it has evolved from there. But, we’ve realized that we have a simple formula. There’s busting out, wearing our belly shirts, and then some kind of pushing the envelope move, like building a human bicycle out of guys. That’s what they (the fans) like. 
Q: Who brings the ideas to the table? Can anyone?
A: All of us are collaborative. Kendall is our director and Rob puts together our edits. But, they ask for feedback. They are very open. But, you have to have chiefs. They are the captains of our team.
Q: Have you ever completely bit it, or messed up (a move) really badly?
A: Yes, I think all of us have. I don’t think you are dancing hard enough if you haven’t messed up in some way. 
Q: Do you see each other socially when you are not being ManiAACs?
A: We do. Last night we had some birthday party drinks and socializing after rehearsing. It’s a balance. We’ll get together a lot more during the offseason. During the season, it’s not unusual for us to be together 5 nights a week. I’m amazed how much time we spend together practicing and not talk about life and things because we are focussed on the routine and being “on stage” at games.
Q: How do you come up with your costumes?
A: So, every year we get together and “boy-dazzle”, which is putting the crystals on our shirts. We have a big meeting where we are sitting there all together with glue and crystals for our shirts, and make them ourselves. We’ve got a designer with the Mavericks who comes up with a new design each year, and then our warm-ups. And then all the “acrutramon”. That’s where everyone brings their personality. We want them to be individual, but also work within the framework of the team. 
Q: How long do you plan on being a ManiAAC?
A: This is my 14th year and I’m still enjoying it. It’s like the Malcom Gladwell 10,000 hours thing. All of this time has been building up and we’ve got guys that are walking into this preformed thing, where before, it was just a lump of clay when we started. Our ManiAAC baby is now a teenager, so we are starting to see the dividends in that investment. All I can say is that I’m still enjoying it, and I’m not going to try to hold on if I’m not.
Q: you are a VIP, one of the few that patrols at night. How has that experience been?
A: It’s been great. I look forward to it. Mike Mason and I have been patrolling together for 3 years. We can always use more people on the patrols. To just spend 2 hours a month, it’s a pretty easy commitment. We’ve gotten to meet our neighbors, and stay more connected with the neighborhood. There has been a lot more fences installed and a lot more lights turned on at night I’ve noticed in the last 2 months, which is great. It’s amazing how deep the shadows are when it’s dark at night. I know we have a neighbor, Kathy (Hatcher) who has been promoting turning on our lights at night, and we’ve both commented on how many lights have been on lately.
Q: What would you like to see improve in Lochwood?
A: I like the direction it’s going in. I like how connected we are through Facebook and Nextdoor. Maybe reminding people to come outside and meet your neighbors and say “hello” from time to time with street gatherings or events. Exchanging contact information and just watch out for each other. I think reinforcing that, and then just getting people to go through the VIP training is key. Even if they are not able to patrol right away, it’s good to have the training. I like what’s going on with Lochwood Park, and also the clean-ups around the creek beds and green spaces.
Q: What do you think about the idea of bringing back the block captain to connect the street and hopefully help connect it with the Neighborhood Association?
A: I think it makes sense? It’s kind of like a welcome wagon (for new owners). I’m all for that.
Well Daniel, I thank you for your time. You’re quite the renaissance man. You make Lochwood that much more interesting. Thanks for all your service - not only what you do but how you do it.
Thanks Thomas. You too.