Monday Morning Musings

December 26, 2005

Now that it's too late, I wish I had gone west this week. Fifty-six years ago (before I was born), athletes from the Hilltop arrived in El Paso for a Sun Bowl contest that many hoped would restore some of the luster to Georgetown's athletic fortunes. The sport was football, not basketball. The Hoyas went on to lose that January 2, 1950 bowl game to UTEP (then known as Texas Western College). One year later, the Hoyas lost their intercollegiate football program in a cost-cutting move by the University. The Hoyas however still remain in the Sun Bowl football record books with the dubious distinction, together with its opponent UTEP, of the most combined penalties ever in a Sun Bowl game (18).



Head men's B-ball coach John Thompson III

Basketball is another story however. The Hoyas will play for the first time ever in the 45th annual Sun Bowl Basketball tourney - now known as the State Farm Insurance Sun Bowl Basketball tournament. UTEP has won the four-team competition (held in its own facility) 26 times. The Miners sport a 68-20 record in Sun Bowl games over the previous 44 years.

Nonetheless, if both teams reach the finals (and they should), it ought to be a very competitive game. Hoya mentor JTIII was an assistant under then-first year coach Bill Carmody when Princeton defeated UTEP to win the Sun Bowl hoop tourney in 1996. Pre-game reports can be found at GUHoyas and HoyaSaxa.




In the early 1970's, I spent a few months in El Paso while stationed with the military at Ft. Bliss. My Army buds and I would venture across the Rio Grande on occasion to Juarez, Mexico where you could find just about any kind of trouble, whether you were looking for it or not. One day, we (rule one: travel in a group) decided to hit the Juarez dog track, which by comparison to other facilities in the region, was quite a substantial operation. As I walked underneath the grandstands, I saw small animals in cages and could hear the sound of monkey chatter and shrieking. Sure enough, when the greyhounds broke from the starting gate, there were monkeys strapped as jockeys to the backs of the dogs. I suppose the local chapter of PETA had not yet set up shop in the area.


Running with the dogs in Juarez

According its website, the Sun Bowl was first played on January 1, 1935, as a fund-raising event for a local service club, to benefit underprivileged children and to finance improvement to the El Paso High School Stadium. It has become El Paso's number one national attraction.

Last year was the first year of the Vitalis Sun Bowl, marking the seventh name change in the 72-year history of the game: Sun Bowl (1935-85), John Hancock Sun Bowl (1986-89), John Hancock Bowl (1990-93), Sun Bowl (1994-95), Norwest Sun Bowl (1996-98), Wells Fargo Sun Bowl (1999-03), and Vitalis Sun Bowl (2004-present). Is there a message here? Maybe when the banks run out of money, we can always turn to the people that really care. Hair care, that is.




My favorite gift this time of year: the days are now officially getting longer!



My picks for most interesting contests this coming holiday week:

> Men's Basketball: The Hoyas (6-2) head to El Paso to play in the Sun Bowl Basketball Tournament. In the first pairing, Georgetown faces Colgate (5-6) on Tuesday at 11:00 pm EST. A victory against the Red Raiders will earn the Blue & Gray a likely matchup against host school UTEP (5-2) in Wednesday's final.

> Women's Basketball: The Hoyas (5-4) host ACC foe Clemson (6-6) next Friday evening at 8:00 pm at McDonough Memorial Gymnasium.

Last week, only the Hoya basketball teams were in action. They posted an overall win-loss record of 2-1.




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