Anniversaries are the guideposts of modern life. Every day seems to have some connection to the past. Today, for example, is the anniversary of the battle of Guadalcanal in World War II, and the Beatles’ debut on U.S. television. It is also the 100th anniversary, to the day, of the first intercollegiate basketball game at Georgetown.

Since that first game, the ebb and flow of basketball at Georgetown has paralleled that of the university. It was no accident in the mid-1970s, that university president Rev. Timothy Healy, S.J., saw the potential of the sport not only to elevate the team, but to elevate the emerging profile of Georgetown nationwide. For the better part of a century, basketball has been one of the university’s most visible institutional assets.

In addition to the return of former players, coaches and staff this weekend, fans will be part of the celebration as well. Though most never played the game at Georgetown, their shared experiences form a bond all its own.

My undergraduate years were among the best of times for Hoya basketball. Big East titles, two Final Fours and the 1984 national title were great moments, made even more memorable by the camaraderie of students.

We were among the last classes to experience home games at cDonough, none more memorable than the day over 4,600 people packed the gym in a 63-51 upset of Missouri. Bus trips to Verizon Center pale in comparison to the 50-minute rides going to games at Capital Centre, near where FedEx Field stands today.

We traveled to road games from Syracuse to Seattle, always with a few laughs along the way.

One season, a classmate managed to get his GMATs moved for “religious reasons” so he could make a game in Syracuse. In another adventure, our group arrived at the 1982 Final Four believing Tulane was opening its gym to visiting students for $5 apiece. (We avoided a weekend on the streets by sleeping in the Loyola University library.) Two years later, a school did open its gym floor, and thanks to the University of Seattle, the four of us joined 200 other students to witness a national championship.

Every generation needs its own stories to share. Reading about a great game 20 years ago does not carry the same weight, but then, it does not have to. Those who were a part of last season’s win over Duke share an experience with all those who have followed the Hoyas over the years. Most importantly, they are your memories, and ones that can be treasured in the years to come.

I titled this article “Past & Prologue” because the centennial weekend is not solely a reflection of the past, but a window to the future. If it was more a stroke of good luck that helped Georgetown find its way into the upper echelons of college basketball, it will take a lot more than luck to keep it there. So as this weekend honors the past and salutes the present, the future is what we make of it, and this is where the support of today’s students and tomorrow’s alumni is so valuable in ensuring an even brighter future for a sport that has represented the best of Georgetown in so many ways.

As fans, enjoy tomorrow’s game with all the excitement of that Duke game a year ago. Who knows? When a few of you are asked by THE HOYA in 2027 to recall the great games of your years at Georgetown, you will be glad to tell them that beating Duke was not just the highlight, it was only the beginning.

John Reagan is a 1984 graduate of the Georgetown School of Business and a former editor in chief and sports editor of The Hoya.

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