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

Hurricanes’ Success Brings Back Memories of the Whale

The Carolina Hurricanes just won their first round playoff series against the New Jersey Devils and I couldn’t be happier for them. There was a time way back in the day when the black and red storm clouds did not adorn the chests of the Hurricanes’ players. There was a time when those red and black clouds were the green and blue tail of a whale that poked through the water to form a tangential H and W, signifying the mighty Hartford Whalers, the only top-of-the line, professional sports team that my home state of Connecticut has known since I’ve been alive.

But alas, the Whale was stolen from us Nutmeg State residents and we were left with only an ABL team to console us in our time of misery. And just when the status of professional sports in Connecticut couldn’t get much lower, the WNBA came in and pillaged even the New England Blizzard from us. Oh the humanity.

Since then the Whale has been canonized in local myth and folklore. People create petitions online to bring back the team that won the 1986-87 Adams Division, but only had three winning seasons in its franchise history in Hartford, Conn. Chances are, however, that the NHL will not move a team to Hartford, nor will we get an expansion team. Connecticut had its shot at a major professional franchise and it blew it.

What makes me upset about this whole thing is the relationship between a fan and his or her hometown sports team. I’m incredibly jealous of any city that has its own sports team. People in these towns grew up following the players, just as I grew up following Sean Burke, Brendan Shanahan and Andrew Cassels when they still skated at the Hartford Civic Center.

The fun of it all was knowing the ins and outs of every player’s game. Knowing that Shanahan had a great move to his backhand or that Burke was better on his glove side. Actually, I don’t know if those to things are true any more. It’s been so long since I’ve watched them play.

What made me think of this however, wasn’t just the ‘Canes’ run through the playoffs so far, but rather when I visited Georgetown Prep with my roommate to watch the annual Georgetown Prep-Landon lacrosse game. The game is epic. Cars squeeze together on the campus’ golf course turned makeshift parking lot so that fans can pack the bleachers and watch these two lacrosse powerhouses battle it out on the field.

It was at this game that I got the same feeling that I remembered when I was younger and watched the Whalers duke it out with the Bruins. Two bitter rivals vying for respect, and fans just as bent on their teams’ victory as the players.

As we squeezed our way into the stands, mothers were selling puffy hands with “Landon” written on them and handing out rosters so those unfamiliar with the team could pick out the different players. Behind our seats were several fathers who picked apart every aspect of every players’ game as if they were coaching the squad themselves.

What was most impressive however, was the student support for both of these teams. Just before game time, the student bodies of both of the schools descended on the field, banners fluttering high above them in the afternoon breeze. With painted faces they chanted, they screamed, they cheered. And what’s more, those two groups were both joined by alumni who were just as excited about the event. Everyone was pumped. Mothers chanted in time with the shirtless high school senior, fathers complained about the biased referees and one repeatedly screamed “Judas” directly into my ear whenever they made a bad call.

The point is there were fans – lots of them – intently cheering for their team.

I’ve often spoken of fan support for Georgetown athletics and now I have a new reason. Having a top-ranked lacrosse team does not and will not last forever. Even Landon, who has now won the Georgetown Prep game for 22-years running after yesterday’s game, will likely eventually lose to their rival. We owe it to ourselves to take advantage of these days while they last. Celebrate while the times are good. Just as with everything in history, things change. Teams change, or worse yet, teams leave. And I know that when I look back at these years when Georgetown lacrosse sat near the top of both the men’s and women’s polls, I will have been glad to witness to it.

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