Time To Give Way

March 26, 2007

Much ado is being made this week as journalists search the Hoya past for new story lines. I've already had would-be interviewers call me asking for contact information for Paul Tagliabue and Sleepy Floyd. Too bad they missed the centennial gala celebration of Georgetown basketball in February. That night, hundreds of story lines were all assembled in a single room.

Of course, it is remarkable that this amazing year of on-the-court success has occurred during the same year that we have commemorated all the previous seasons -- dating to the first in 1907. While this year's team members are well aware of their predecessors and their accomplishments, let me say -- before some writer overreaches for a story -- that there is no connection between the hoop centennial and our Final Four achievement. A nice coincidence? Yes. A causal nexus? Give me a break.

Ed Baran '58, Paul Goodrich '65 and former athletic director Frank Rienzo at pre-game festivities

Tom Siebert '68 (right) and son Tom `09 are ready to roll

Cheerleader Eric Cusimano (H) and the Lonardo family - Scott (O), Brian (Y), Pat (A), and Joe (S) form the name we know so well

As sometimes archivist and a student of GU sports history and one of the planners of the hoop hundred-year anniversary, it may be heresy for me to utter this on the eve of one of our greatest sports accomplishments: Forget the past, it's time to give way to the present.

I want to take a break from the usual desire for instant contextualization and enjoy what these young 18-22 olds are still achieving. They are writing their own history right now. It is their time. As they perform and shine, we can appreciate their feats on their own merits.

The Hoya crew of Mike Vespoli '68, Fred Pennekamp '70 and David Don '91 on hand to pull for the Hoyas

The Machir family of Hoyas gets serious as game time approaches

Sean Flanagan '95 (left) and Jarrett Morrell '95 flank their classmate Trey Whipple as the Hoyas mount a comeback

A young Hoya fan takes a break from the action

John Wooters flashes his Final Four button from 1982 - payback time

Joe Riggs '55 (right) and alumni director Bill Reynolds `79 amid a sea of Hoya revelers

Hoya fan George Olvany '80 dances in the aisles as victory becomes apparent

As I made the four-hour trip home last night from the Meadowlands, I couldn't help but think about the three North Carolina fans who, wearing their sky-blue regalia, invaded the die-hard Georgetown fan section just behind the Hoya bench during the first half. They seated themselves in the vacant seats adjacent to me. Naturally, I told them if they did not have tickets for those locations, they would have to leave. The usher ultimately had to intervene and eject them from the section, but not before one of them had some unpleasant words for me. In the middle of the second half with the Hoyas down by 10 points, I sat in my aisle seat and was jolted by an extra-large cup of water being poured onto my chest and lap. I had an inkling who the culprit was. I leapt up and chased him to the top of the stairs where I grabbed him and turned him over to security. Now with my own adrenaline flowing, I got a second jolt when they asked me to go to the basement of the arena to fill out a report on the incident. Eager to get back to the game, I declined to press charges and the perpetrator was ejected from the facility. As I headed back to my seat, I related the saga to assistant AD Brian McGuire on my cell phone. I learned after missing five minutes of action, the Hoyas were still behind with three and a half minutes to play. I said to Brian: "We are going to win this one."

By the time I finally sat down again, the Hoyas were off to the races.

Roy Hibbert signals triumph after clipping the twine

The Hoyas are bound for Atlanta

After snipping the last of the net, Coach Thompson leads the crowd in a cheer: We Are! Georgetown!

The symbol and words from the Gadsden flag used in colonial America

The Hoya bus arrives back on campus on Monday

Symbol and words from the currency used in Georgia in 1778: : "Nemo me impune lacesset."

Still driving I continued to think about the eastern regional final I just attended, the astonishing post-season, and the special character of this year's team. I recalled the early symbol of American colonial resistance to British rule: the rattlesnake. Ben Franklin even suggested this serpent instead of the American eagle as the national symbol: upon engagement, it never surrenders; it is an emblem of magnanimity and true courage; it never wounds until it has given notice, even to the enemy, and with a caution against the danger of treading on me.

As with this formidable creature, Georgetown's next two opponents would do well approach with care. To quote another motto used on the seal of a 1778 twenty dollar bill from Georgia: "Nemo me impune lacesset." No one will provoke me with impunity.

A warning then, for those converging upon Atlanta: tread on the Hoyas at your own risk.




For game-night celebration photos in Georgetown by veteran journalist and news producer Carol Joynt, click here.


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Students gathered in front of McDonough Gym to await the triumphant return of the team

First off the bus: Patrick Ewing carrying the regional championship trophy and net

Jeff Green emerged with a smile and a wave

DC Mayor Adrian Fenty was on hand to offer congratulations to coach Thompson and the team

Roy Hibbert was pleased to see friends and fans upon arrival

University staff members were on hand to welcome Jeff Green and Patrick Ewing and their teammates

Student fans were already lining up for Final Four tickets to go on sale the following morning

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