Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Blood Is Thicker Than Water During This Hoyas Game

Many years before the invention of basketball, a wise man by the name of Jesus claimed that “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other, or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.” Though Jesus was referring to God and material wealth as opposing forces, he showed a high degree of foresight in terms of college basketball, especially in the case of a Georgetown student and Hoya fan born and bred in Louisville, Ky.

Recollections of my childhood are inextricably tied to the city of Louisville. I have lived there all my life, in the same home, with the same parents and the same good friends. As an undergraduate at the University of Louisville, my father was the Cardinal Bird mascot at the basketball and football games (before the mascot had to parachute into the stadium) and I held my pitchfork high every year before the tip-off between the Cardinals and the Kentucky Wildcats. Naturally, my presence as a Louisville faithful in the front row of the student section during Monday’s game between the Cardinals and the Hoyas made me feel about as comfortable as Bobby Jindal in front of a camera. Despite my discomfort during Monday’s game, my experience yielded some life lessons worthy of note and deserving of attention.

First, certain people are apt to do just about anything within their bounds as long as popularity is certain and punishment impossible. For example, verbally assaulting an opposing fan is morally acceptable in a student section where the assailant is one of a few hundred fans aching for victory. So, the loud individual who sat behind me and did nearly everything but call security on me was to be expected, as were the incensed texts from classmates and hallmates reminding me where I go to school. In the end, when the Louisville players victoriously exited the court to the catcalls and jeers of the student section, some rage-filled fan told me to “get out of the student section!” (I removed the chorus of expletives from his statement to spare the eyes of our readers.) I just smiled at him and obeyed, not wanting to be the subject of the next DPS e-mail.

Nevertheless, what’s a guy to do? Fight the power? In this case, there is no definitive right or wrong; there is just preference. Thus, my preference against that of the many is about as meaningful as a grain of sand on a law scale. Had I been wearing a red thong, a large L on my bare chest and a Cardinal helmet, my treatment at the hands of a few thugs may have been justified. But the red and white polo I wore out to dinner doesn’t merit a verbal lashing reminiscent of the torture scene in “Braveheart.”

Attending the game also brought to light the group mentality that is imposed upon fans regardless of their personalities. A friend of mine who once questioned the sanity of placing “too much passion and emotion in sports” commanded me to “please leave,” and other friends who were polite on their own turned cannibalistic quicker than my man Friday from “Robinson Crusoe.”

Sports play a uniquely important role in society because they bring people together to realize events on a large scale. A fan’s ability to play a role in the encouragement and success of teams is meaningful. However, it is scary that the same type of mentality that unifies and provides a sense of comfort is so similar to a mob mentality. In such cases, the individual’s conscience is often subverted to appease the general will, as in the case of my affected friend.

y life is still deeply connected to Louisville: I’ve had too many meaningful experiences there to change my allegiances without sufficient reason. Maybe someday in the future, Georgetown’s meaning to me will overcome Louisville’s, but, until then, I need experience, time and an open mind to change my allegiance.

In the end, my experience as a Red man in a sea of Blue and Gray made me realize that Hoya fans do a good job of cheering on their team and demoralizing the opponents. My experience also made me come to grips with my identity as a Hoya, a Kentuckian and, most immediately, a Louisvillian. In the words of Louisville native and sportswriter Hunter Thompson, Louisville is “the world that did its best to make me,” and it’s not a world to be forsaken too quickly.

William Tamplin is a freshman in the School of Foreign Service. He can be reached at tamplinthehoya.com. Ramblin’ Tamplin appears every other Friday in HOYA SPORTS.

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