Sunday, March 11, 2007

I was there: Georgetown wins 1st Big East championship in 18 years

I watched Friday night's Big East semifinal game between Georgetown and Notre Dame at a bar near my office with some of my co-workers. If Georgetown won, I'd planned to watch the final at a bar or some other place with James. But a few minutes after the game, I got an e-mail from another guy at work, who had been at the ND-GU game. He had two extra tickets for Saturday night's final game and offered me one of them. I had to think for about two seconds before I said "I'm in."

I got to MSG around 8 PM on Saturday night and met another colleague who had claimed the other extra ticket. We went into the Garden followed by both pep bands, which had staged a quick band skirmish just outside the doors. Since we were there so early, we walked around the Garden for a few minutes, said hi to the guy who'd sold us the tickets, and got some food. Meanwhile, the big screens above the court showed highlights of Big East tournament championships from years past, including several close GU losses in the early 1990s. By tip-off, the Garden was packed and we were in a Georgetown-friendly section. There were about ten GU students sitting and standing behind us, several of whom jeered Pitt's Aaron Gray for the entire game.

At first the game was close and I was nervous, but as the Hoyas built a big lead I began to relax. At halftime I texted James, and got a few curses in response. As the clock wound down I got excited again. With about five minutes to go I thought it was safe to tell my friend that I was planning to stick around to watch Georgetown cut down the nets. The last minute of the game was the sloppiest, as all of the starters were celebrating on the bench and GU had its scrubs out there finishing. One guy got a pass from a teammate and nearly dropped it; he looked surprised to have gotten the ball at all. When it was over, we walked down closer to the court and I took many, many pictures of the team receiving the trophy and cutting down the nets. I also kept photographing the scoreboard, as if it wasn't real. Georgetown hadn't won their conference tournament since 1989, despite having some excellent teams in the final. I wasn't going to miss any part of the celebration. The students chanted "JT3" for the coach, and "six more wins!" for the team. I have a great feeling about this team going into the NCAA Tournament next week.

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