Georgetown Die-Hard an Integral Part of Fan Base
Published: Friday, March 19, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 00:01
When the camp starts, Boone is all business, encouraging the kids to work hard and strive to improve as players. He says he enjoys teaching the dribbling station to the guards, the position his son played.
"[Boone] is a very good camp counselor. He's enthusiastic and he works," Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III says. "As much as he loves cheering for us and supporting us, he loves teaching and showing little kids the fundamentals of the game."
For Boone, coaching is about more than basketball. He tries to be a role model and mentor like he was for Chavis.
"I probably jammed so much into his head that most kids didn't get," Boone says of his son. "A lot of his friends, I was their father. A lot of the kids that I coached still call me Dad today."
Chavis carried a piece of paper in his wallet that listed the priorities Boone wanted him to keep in life: God first, family second, friends and basketball next. Once, when Chavis brought home a poor report card, his father benched him. He told his son he cared about him as a student more than a basketball player and said that Chavis learned the lesson.
Even in basketball, Boone keeps different priorities than most. He does not emphasize winning and follows a saying he learned from Morgan Wootten: play hard, play smart and have fun. More often than not, Boone says, winning naturally follows those priorities.
"My purpose is to teach life through basketball," he says. "Win some and lose some. When you win, you're happy, but when you lose, how do you act? [You've] got to bounce back."
With Chavis battling cancer, neither father nor son listed basketball as their proudest moment. Chavis' graduation trumped any three-pointer or trophy won, proving that he learned the priorities his father taught. One reason Boone likes Georgetown basketball is the high graduation rate of its players, and he continues to teach the right priorities to campers.
"The wins and losses on the court are just one small aspect of what it can be," Thompson says. "[Boone] is able to have an effect and touch many lives, just with his energy, his enthusiasm and his caring, and that's something special."
On game day at Verizon Center, one needs only a passing glance to see that Boone is a huge Georgetown fan. He wears a custom-made Hoyas shirt under a Georgetown sweatshirt, and has the team logo on his shoes, socks and even his watch.
What most people don't notice is a tribute to his son. He had "Let's Goooooo Hoyas" stitched into the side of his hat, six O's for the six letters in the name Chavis.
A fan since the Patrick Ewing days, Boone says he wears at least some kind of Georgetown gear every day, which is never a problem because over half of his wardrobe is blue and gray. He even earned the nickname "Mr. Georgetown" from sophomore Jason Clark's mother because he is always watching games or hanging around McDonough for the Kenner League in the summer.
"There are some big fans around," Boone says from his seat several rows behind the Georgetown bench at Verizon Center, "but I think I might be the biggest one."
He made the trip up to New York City last Saturday night to watch the Hoyas play in the final of the Big East tournament, another step in what Boone has dubbed the "Hoya Redemption Season." After the Hoyas' 2008-2009 campaign ended in a late season swoon, Boone started a blog called "Glide Hoyas" to chronicle the bounce back year.
Boone believes in "faith through adversity," a quote he got from former Coach John Thompson Jr. and a motto that exemplifies his own life. His blog posts are always positive because, as he says, "These could be your kids. When people start talking negative about the team, you always have to have something positive to say about the team."
Boone has had his own ups and downs, but through Georgetown basketball and coaching, he is able to keep the memory of his beloved son Chavis alive.
"Other than my family and my mom, nobody else did anything for my son - but every time I turn around, it's Georgetown right there," Boone says. "My whole life is dedicated to this blue and gray. Cut me right now, I'll probably let out some blue and gray."