Freshman year I made a pact with one of my roommates. We agreed to go to every single NCAA tournament game in which Georgetown played. Even if it was in Minnesota, or Seattle, or Alaska. If we had a crucial midterm? Didn’t matter. If the plane tickets cost $1,000?

It has turned out to be an inexpensive pact.

But we are true fans, not the fair-weather variety. Every year we went to the Big East tournament to watch Georgetown crumble. When the team made it to the NIT finals we drove up to New York City during the week (I may have missed a crucial midterm) to watch the team lose to St. John’s.

One time I was playing basketball at the court next to Tony Bethel. Coming back to my Village C room that night I got in the elevator with Tony Bethel.

“Saw you playing in Yates,” he said.

“Yep,” I replied.

I was so excited I think I called my mom. That’s how good a fan I am.

So of course on Friday I headed over to Midnight Madness. This season is my last chance.

I entered McDonough for the first time in a year. The student-faculty basketball game was in progress. Except this year they apparently forgot to ask the faculty to play in the game.

I don’t understand how good traditions like this get ruined. At the last minute somebody must have realized that no faculty were playing, and asked some of the Yates staff if they wanted to play.

Meanwhile somebody else must have decided to make this part of Blue vs. Grey week. (Or maybe `vs. Gray’ – different spellings on the FRIENDS Web site and the official t-shirts leave no indication which spelling the organizers prefer.)

Nobody told the DJ what was going on, so he called the Yates staff and the juniors on the Blue team “faculty” all night.

Luckily Groove Theory was up next, reminding us that there are talented, organized students on the Hilltop. Every sensible person would agree that the Madness did not begin until Groove Theory took the floor. Snoop Dogg blares across the arena:

When the pimp’s in the crib ma

Drop it like it’s hot

When the pigs try to get at ya

Park it like it’s hot

I don’t even know what that means. I think it’s about sex and police officers. But when Groove Theory is breathing, stretching, shaking and letting it go, the crowd gets excited.

Excited enough to forget that regrettable game of musical chairs.

I suspect that very few of the 2,000 or so people crowded into cDonough wanted to watch a game of musical chairs. I’ll probably be proven wrong when the world series of musical chairs starts showing up on ESPN and replaces Texas Hold’em as the game du jour of sober college students.

After the musical chairs and some bizarre game where teams cheat at stacking pizza boxes, (honestly, who plans this?) it was time for the main event – Georgetown basketball.

The crowd gets quiet, the gym gets dark, the music gets even louder. One by one, the players enter to thunderous applause. It feels like the glory days of Georgetown basketball have returned.

I remember the new players my freshman year – Tony Bethel, Drew Hall, D.J. Owens and Harvey Thomas. And the stars – Kevin Braswell, Mike Sweetney, Wesley Wilson.

Bethel got fed up and transferred to N.C. State. Hall left for Gonzaga. Thomas ended up at Baylor where he allegedly pulled a gun on some people who accused him of stealing money. Braswell graduated to play basketball in Belgium. Mike Sweetney left after his junior year for the NBA draft. Wilson left the team for mysterious personal reasons mid-season. Only Owens remains.

I heard a story once that John Thompson was showing a pre-frosh Patrick Ewing around campus. They walked into New South cafeteria and for possibly the only time in the history of New South cafeteria, you could have heard a pin drop. The entire cafeteria was stunned to behold the future of Georgetown basketball.

Maybe years from now Friday’s Midnight Madness will have the same mystique. A new coach with a proven record makes his first public appearance. The crowd roars “We are Georgetown.” Freshmen Tyler Crawford, Jeff Green and Roy “7-foot-2” Hibbert exhibited unmistakable potential.

Maybe, just maybe, that NCAA pact will finally cost me money.

Josh Zumbrun is a senior in the School of Foreign Service and chair of The Hoya’s board of directors. He can be reached at Days on the Hilltop appears every Tuesday.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.