It’s hard to find the silver lining in defeat. Especially when you really want to kick someone’s ass.

During the final minutes of the Big East Tournament finale, an exuberant 20-something wearing a Pittsburgh sweatshirt ambled up to the Georgetown student section. I could immediately see from the stains on his clothing that the $7 Bud Light he held in his hand was not the first such beverage he had enjoyed that evening.

“FUCK GEORGETOWN!” the fan exulted.

Considering the amount of frustration that we Hoyas at Madison Square Garden were experiencing at that moment- as well as the amount of alcohol that the ebullient Panther fan had obviously ingested – it’s easy to surmise that the situation could have escalated quickly. Yet seemingly out of nowhere, a Georgetown alum appeared to light our darkest hour.

A 20-something in his own right, with his long-sleeved Georgetown t-shirt and slicked-back hair, he stood out as just slightly older than the rest of the student crowd. Maybe it was the wisdom that he had accrued with advanced age (or perhaps it was his Bud Light, because this guy definitely wasn’t on his first, either), but whatever the case may be, our Georgetown hero walked right up to the Pittsburgh fan and got in his face.

“You played a good game. There’s no need for this.”

“FUCK YOU, MAN, GEORGETOWN SUCKS!”

“There’s no need for this. Just walk away.”

And much like Obi-Wan Kenobi exercising his old Jedi mind control trick, Joe Hoya diffused a potentially dangerous situation. Without a battle to fight, the Pittsburgh fan really did just disappear.

Despite what was occurring on the court, the onset of the upset stomach that coincides with any Hoya basketball loss was momentarily replaced by pride. I found myself truly impressed by the way that guy had just behaved, and I was proud to be affiliated with the same school as him.

It wasn’t the first time that weekend that I had feelings of Hoya Pride.

Throughout each of the three tournament games, I was reminded of the community I share with my fellow Hoyas of the student section. Because the tournament didn’t fall during spring break, it lacked its usual party atmosphere. What impressed me instead was the overwhelming “we’re all in this together” vibe that each Hoya projected. There were no small factions of friends or cliques, and students were willing to accommodate each other and to shuffle around to make sure that no one’s view of the court was obstructed. This was the fourth Big East Tournament that I’ve attended, and believe me, this sentiment of togetherness had not always been guaranteed with the price of admission.

Part of the praise for the positive atmosphere should be credited to Andy Rowdon and the rest of the athletic office’s marketing department, all of whom did a nearly flawless job of organizing the event. For the first time in my Georgetown career, there was order and logic involved with the ticket distribution process. They established a top-down system of order that carried throughout the weekend.

And where would we be without the Pep Band and those cheerleaders? Their collective love for their jobs is infectious, and the sheer joy that they possess as they urge on the basketball team really makes their fellow fans want to feel the same way. It takes courage and commitment to be out there representing Georgetown each and every game, and these two groups should be commended for it.

usic may have made these Hoyas join the Pep Band, but it was basketball that kept them there. Watch them for one minute during any game to see how they live and die with each change of possession. When they aren’t holding their instruments, they use their considerable numbers for good; they are often the first to start any unified chant.

As for the cheerleaders, when everyone else was mired in depression towards the conclusion of the game, they were essentially the only ones still trying to put a smile on other Georgetown faces. It wasn’t because of naïveté or failure to comprehend the situation, either; rather, each of them understood that as the face of Georgetown, there was a responsibility to try to keep the atmosphere positive. No one wants some eagle-eyed opposing fan snapping a picture of a Hoya cheerleader sulking amid defeat. That’s not the kind of pinup for which any cheerleader should be known.

And then, of course, there’s the team. But heaven knows if you’ve read almost anything I’ve written since September of 2004, you are familiar with how proud I am of this basketball team. Win or lose, they’ve already all given more to Georgetown than I have words to describe. In the coming weeks, I’m sure they plan to give us many more reasons to smile.

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a No. 2 seed, but it’s equally worthwhile to pause for a moment along the way and to take stock of what’s around you. Saturday night, during one of the team’s rare moments of disappointment, I lifted my eyes from the court, and my spirits were in turn lifted up by my fellow Hoyas.

And that’s where my elusive silver lining was hidden.

It was cloaked in Hoya Blue.

Chris Seneca is a senior in the School of Foreign Service. He can be reached at senecathehoya.com. Slow Motion appears every other Tuesday in Hoya Sports.

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