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Sports Sermon: First Annual D.C. Cup
As a freshman in Harbin Hall who couldn’t see anything but the football field outside of my dorm room window, I would probably have been considered a shoe-in to attend the 2006/2007 season opener against Holy Cross. I didn’t—I slept in. For me, a football fan with familial claims to powerhouse programs like West Virginia and Tennessee, Holy Cross was just another name in our outdated fight song and Georgetown football barely even existed at all.
Although there is no cure-all for the Hilltop’s football apathy, Athletic Director Bernard Muir and the Athletic Department made strides last spring to ensure that the next four season openers will give naïve freshmen and cynical upperclassmen alike something to look forward to: the D.C. Cup.
This year’s Cup, which will take place at Howard on September 6, is the first of a four-year series between the Hoyas and the Bison of Howard University. This common sense match-up between the only two Division 1 football programs in the District is, unbelievably, the first time the two teams have ever faced one another.
“I have seen both of these schools play over the years,” Howard Athletic Director Dwight Datcher said in a press release last April. “As a Washingtonian, I always wondered why we were not playing each other.”
Datcher, who was an associate Athletic Director at Georgetown before moving across town, played a pivotal part in helping Muir sow the seeds for the new District rivalry.
“It just makes sense for both of us,” Howard head coach Carey Bailey said during an interview at Greene Stadium yesterday. “Being able to create an intradistrict rivalry and being able to keep the interest and the dollars right here at home, it really just makes perfect sense.”
Georgetown players I’ve talked to said if they had to pick a rival on their current schedule, it would be Patriot League opponent Fordham. But if you have to ask, it’s not a real rivalry. A true rivalry consumes players, students and the community at large, and it’s one of the best ways to jumpstart a stagnant program. While a rivalry can spring up from a few close games or questionable calls, the most storied, time-tested rivalries are born of simple proximity, and that is what the D.C. Cup is all about.
“It’s basically the D.C. crown,” junior offensive linemen George Mosle said. “Whoever wins this game has bragging rights in D.C. for the rest of the year.”
Datcher, Muir, Bailey and Georgetown head coach Kevin Kelly all know how important it is for the D.C. Cup to become a regular fixture in the District’s collegiate athletic calendar, and although the opening kick off is still over a week away, there are signs that it could be here to stay.
“It’s already generated a lot of interest from students, alumni and members of the community,” Kelly said. “It’s basically doing exactly what we had hoped it would do so far. There’s going to be a lot of dialogue in the years to come and hopefully this thing will continue beyond these first four years.”
One schedule change can’t make Georgetown football the hot ticket on campus, but the most comforting thing for any program on the rocks is knowing that the people in charge are making good decisions. I, for one, plan on making the trip to Howard next weekend to see the first D.C. Cup, and for a kid who didn’t even bother to get out of bed and open the window two seasons ago, that’s a pretty good start.