Spring is slowly making its way north to Georgetown, which means the reemergence of a classic stress-reliever: lawn sports. As lacrosse stumbles down the stretch and the basketball team disintegrates, Hoyas of all ages gather on the lawn to enjoy the, ahem, clement spring weather. In the event that the weather does turn around and we actually get springtime temperatures before the end of the year, I offer you a short guide to what you might encounter on the lawn between White Gravenor and the concrete fortress that passes for a library.
For the past two years, my March Madness brackets have been handicapped by my need to predict Georgetown to win it all. Call it faith in the team or a twisted sense of duty, but I’ve never been able to bet against the Hoyas. This spring, I won’t have to—every cloud has a silver lining. However, in the interest of helping us who feel a need to gamble on sports at all levels, I’m compiling a short bracketology for the NIT. Read closely: this is probably one of the only NIT previews available.
Much has been made of Citigroup’s plans to retain naming rights to the New York Mets’ new stadium despite the company’s recent financial woes. The current deal, which was inked in 2006, calls for Citi to pay the Mets $20 million a year for the next 20 years. More than a few members of Congress have expressed displeasure at the prospect of continuing to fund the deal with part of the $45 billion of taxpayer money allotted to Citi as part of stimulus packages. Two New York City councilmen even went so far as to suggest that the new park should be called Taxpayer Field, in honor of those who are actually footing the bill.
Sports pundits have called Sunday night’s battle on the gridiron “the greatest Super Bowl of all time.” While I’m not quite ready to forget Super Bowl XXXVIII, in which the Patriots defeated the Panthers 32-29, I will allow that this was perhaps the strangest championship game of the modern football era.
It’s the spring semester at Georgetown, and Yates is full. And by full, I mean packed. And by packed, I mean two to a treadmill, muscle-bound bruisers sharing dumbbells, and ballers playing ten-on-ten basketball. Half court. Go up for a rebound, and you might come down on stretching yogini.
Believe the hype. The Big East, which sent a record-setting six teams to the 2006 NCAA tournament and tied that record last season, could send seven or even eight teams into the thick of March Madness this year. If the AP preseason rankings hold true, seven Big East teams will be ranked in the top twenty-five. The conference could, in the words of Louisville Coach Rick Pitino, go down as “the strongest league in the history of college basketball.”
Senior guard Jessie Sapp arrived at Georgetown near the end of what might charitably be called a rebuilding period. His January 2005 commitment came partway through John Thompson III’s first year as head coach, a season that began without rank or expectation and ended in the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament. Craig Esherick’s thirteen wins the year before were the fewest since 1974, and the squad that Sapp and fellow recruits Tay Spann, Marc Egerson, and Josh Thornton were set to join lacked the sense of pride and tradition that had characterized Georgetown during its dominant years in the 1980s. Only the strong freshman class of future Hoya stars Roy Hibbert, Jeff Green ,and Jon Wallace hinted at what was to come. When Sapp and the 2005-2006 Georgetown squad stepped onto the court for the first time, it was a sign that Hoya basketball was back; after a decade of appearing in the National Invitational Tournament, the team would go to three NCAA tournaments over the next three years.
Across campus this week, Georgetown students were struck, often literally, by the falling leaves and frigid gusts of air that told us fall has arrived in full force. Gone are the carefree games of corn hole and volleyball on the lawn; here to stay are basketball and the dreaded hall sports. But even as students in layered clothing speedwalked between classes this week, anticipation of one sporting event kept everyone warm: Halloween.
Adam Jones, we hardly knew ye. Just six weeks into his second chance with the Dallas Cowboys, the artist formerly known as Pacman has been suspended for at least four games after drunkenly brawling with a bodyguard inside a Dallas hotel on October 8. With twelve incidents of arrest or police questioning since being drafted 2005, it seems unlikely that Jones will be given a third chance. Team owners are, after all, businessmen, and no matter how good Jones is—although his performance this year has been mediocre at best in one of the league’s worst secondaries—his antics off the field are beginning to overshadow his actions on it.
We buy okra, rice, crayfish, and plantains that I use to make my Saturday night jambalaya. The black civic leaders are very proud of their neighborhood and it’s safe to walk there in the daytime. At night sometimes there’s live music in Thayer Park, but we never go because between us and Thayer Park are the South Street Housing Projects where that kid was shot a year ago.