On the Road Again

March 23, 2006

Following the Hoyas on the post-season trail is difficult. The obstacles include last-minute airfares, remote locations, and fear - as in, will I even know a soul there in Blue and Gray?

The fossils among us conquer the latter, but pricing is a bear. Do I pay $1100 to go to Dayton and back, or do I hope against hope and the Big Ten champion and save my $1100 to fly to Minneapolis? Or, should I just abandon the quest and donate the thought to Hoyas Unlimited?

Some of us pride ourselves on never missing an NCAA tournament game. So it was that Dick Williams C'65, Bruce Simmons, B'69 and Mark Siskin, F'71, president of the GU Alumni Association, decided a road trip was imperative. Given our thrifty natures, we drove from Atlanta.

We drove, as in eight and one-half hours. For liberal arts majors, that's 17 hours roundtrip.

Because all of us are admissions interviewers, we made two detours. As we passed through Cincinnati, we saw an exit for Xavier University. None of us had been there. The tires screeched as we exited; we were not impressed with what we saw. It is a modest campus dominated by a huge hoops arena.

We arrived in Dayton, met by folks in Blue and Gray. The athletic department staff went bowling on Saturday night. Team building, we were told. The men and women of a certain age went to a steakhouse where the meat was as red as the wine. Our waiter was a former outside linebacker for Ohio State. We told him that Bruce Simmons, a former Hoya quarterback, had been used as bait.

Road warriors Bruce Simmons, left, Mark Siskin, standing, and Art Murphy, right, prepare for the Ohio State victory

After a Hoya Sunday brunch, the Atlanta Hoyas decided that the JV game (UNC-George Mason) could be joined in progress. We took an hour and toured the University of Dayton. We expected to be unimpressed. To the contrary, we found a campus of modest but inviting architecture surrounded by a reclaimed slum. UD learned from Georgetown. It bought the neighborhood. Scores of modest two-story frame houses now belong to student rentals. This former HOYA reporter asked the questions and put it together. UD, according to its marketing statements, is "erasing the line between living and learning." The frame houses even include an "arts campus." It all works.


Amid the sea of OSU red, long-time Hoya fan Pat Lonardo and her grandson, Cody, class of 2026 (son of Scott '99 and Clara Kang '99 Lonardo)

Imagine if all of Georgetown were Georgetown. We couldn't.

When the JV game began, all three Atlanta Hoyas were momentarily paralyzed. The Carolina fight song is interrupted repeatedly by the music of "it's been so long since we met," The effect is jarring. The Tar Heels beat us in '82, for crying out loud. Stop.

But then the Patriots of George Mason made them stop. Lie down forever, lie down.

The punchline is that the Hoyas kicked Ohio State's butt. The front-running Buckeye fans evacuated the arena with about 3:30 left.

Hoya cheerleaders defy the partisan Ohio crowd

The Hoyas' celebration was heart-felt. The Atlanta Hoyas, road-tripping, slipped out quietly to begin the long drive back to Georgia.

We stopped for dinner in Lexington, Ky, to drive a 21-year old stake through a 'Nova heart.

And then we made our travel plans for Indianapolis. Non-refundable.

- Dick Williams


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4:00 PM
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Shaw Field
August 11
7:00 PM
Maryland
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5:00 PM
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2:00 PM
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August 27
1:00 PM
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August 28
1:00 PM
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September 1
4:00 PM
Cal Poly
Shaw Field
September 1
8:00 PM
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Palo Alto, Calif.
September 1
2:00 PM
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Cooper Field
September 3
4:00 PM
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1:00 PM
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September 4
12:00 PM
UCLA
Shaw Field
September 8
4:00 PM
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Shaw Field
September 8
7:00 PM
UMass-Lowell
Lowell, Mass.
September 9
TBA
Campbell
Buies Creek, N.C.
September 9
7:00 PM
UConn
Storrs, Conn.
September 10
1:00 PM
Rutgers
Shaw Field
September 10
12:00 PM
Holy Cross
Worcester, Mass.
September 15
2:00 PM
Quinnipiac
Cooper Field
September 16
TBA
Marist
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September 16
7:00 PM
Xavier
Cincinnati, Ohio
September 17
1:00 PM
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Baltimore, Md.
September 17
12:00 PM
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September 18
All Day
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Colonial Country Club - Memphis, Tenn.
September 19
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The Memphis Intercollegiate Memphis
Colonial Country Club - Memphis, Tenn.
September 20
4:00 PM
Stony Brook
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