The last time I cried after my team lost a sporting event was in early 1995. My dear Dolphins had been leading the San Diego Chargers for the vast majority of a Divisional Playoff game, but suddenly out of nowhere there was Stan Humphries throwing a touchdown pass to Mark Seay, and the Dolphins found themselves trailing by one with 35 seconds left to play.

y hero Dan Marino valiantly moved Miami into field goal range. I crossed my fingers as trusty Pete Stoyanovich lined up to attempt the game winning kick, certain that this story would have a happy ending. But it was not to be. Wide right. Season over.

I remember that when that kick failed to go through the uprights, I just sat down on the floor of my living room and started to cry. I cried because I was nine years old and only just beginning to understand sports. I have earlier memories of Dolphins’ playoff losses, but I was so young then that those games didn’t seem real to me yet. That 1994-95 season was the first in which I remember meticulously following the team. When Stoyanovich missed that kick, I hated that Miami wouldn’t be allowed to play football anymore. I cried because it was all over. I cried because I was too young to be seduced by next season.

And then I grew up. Hardened by my initial misery, each successive season’s ending allowed me to focus on the future instead of the failure. The frustrations didn’t go away, but from then on I handled my disappointment like an adult. I never again succumbed to my emotions and simply broke down.

I didn’t cry when Georgetown lost to Davidson a few weeks ago, but for the first time since San Diego, I really felt like I could have. This time I was old enough to fight the flow of tears, but I still couldn’t shake the feeling that once again – just like it had been for Miami thirteen years ago – it was all over.

It was finished because in just two short months I had to graduate. I was terrified because I thought I might close my eyes to blink, open them a second later, and then realize that I was walking across the stage on Healy Lawn to receive my diploma.

Now that basketball was finished, my impending senior spring signified that there wasn’t much sand left in the top of my Georgetown hourglass. When it had all finally fallen to the bottom, when I moved out of my Prospect Street home and back to New York, and when I’d finally become a “real person,” it couldn’t possibly be as rewarding cheering on the Hoyas as it had been during my time in the student section.

I’ve caught wind of a rumor that there is in fact life after Georgetown, but so far it’s been largely unconfirmed. My place in that student section had been so secure, so assured. I questioned my role after graduation, wondering whether I’d feel the same genuine connection once the players I knew no longer wore the blue and gray.

y support for Georgetown has always come naturally, and I think that’s in large part because on our small campus you can walk past a point guard or power forward and not think twice about it. As a graduate only watching games on television, I worried I would lose that sense of intimacy and feel as if I was simply rooting for another professional team comprised of hired guns.

I loved cheering for Roy, Jon, Tyler and Pat because I can see on a daily basis how much they all respect and love Georgetown. They’re at Yates playing pickup and shooting around on weekday mornings. They stop by the Tombs just to check out what’s going on. They each chose to come here when they could have gone elsewhere, just like we all did, too.

In hindsight, I can see I did a lot of growing up after that Miami loss to San Diego back in ’95. I shed those tears and also the sense that the Dolphins were infallible. My relationship with the team changed with the circumstances. I grew up, and though I have still followed them scrupulously since then, they’ve never again had such an emotional hold on me.

And now I’m about to grow up again, in an even bigger way. Come May 17, I’ll walk proudly across that stage, but in a lot of ways it’ll feel as if I’m being dragged tooth and nail.

What I realized in the days after Davidson, though, is that although my physical relationship with this place and the players who populate it is destined to change, there’s nothing to question in terms of my tie to Georgetown basketball. Being forced to grow up sucks, but when they hand me that piece of paper that says `Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service,’ it’s as much of a responsibility to keep vehemently supporting the Georgetown name as anything else. It’s going to be my alma mater, after all. The feelings of intimacy will live on in the sense that all Hoyas – past, present and future – forever share.

In a lot of ways, then, I’m particularly glad I didn’t cry after that loss to Davidson. Tears of sadness signify conclusion, finality, the end.

I’m growing up again, so now I’ll allow myself to be captivated by the promise of tomorrow.

I’ll remember this one as a new beginning.

Chris Seneca is a senior in the School of Foreign Service. He can be reached at senecathehoya.com.

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