The Importance of a Mascot: Farewell JJ

Today I went on a Social Media roller coaster ride.  First, the blogger Casual Hoya reported that Georgetown’s beloved mascots were gone and not returning.  That is, the dogs Jack the Bulldog, the senior retired regal mascot who has been a stalwart at basketball games and other sporting events over the past decade, and beautiful puppy turning into young adult, Jack Junior aka JJ, who was in the process of assuming Jack Senior’s official mascot duties.  Then I read The Hoya’s account, Georgetown’s oldest on campus weekly newspaper, which appeared to confirm this story and the fact that all were surprised at this sudden development.

 

My first feeling was sadness and a pit in my stomach.  For transparency, I’m a double Hoya and a dog lover, so that accounts for part of it, and the fact that I was able to spend some time getting to know JJ, and Jack, this past year.  However, I think the “pit in the stomach” feeling runs deeper and goes to the importance of a mascot to a school, to a longstanding and rich tradition at a University that thrives on tradition.  I know I’m not the only one because within minutes of learning about this development, there were posts and tweets by fans, students and alumni everywhere, in shock and disbelief, thinking this must be a cruel joke but no.

 

Then the Official Statement from the University was released, confirming this sudden and unusual development.  My first thought was for the health of the dogs, both Jack and JJ.  The official statement maintains that after 15 months on campus it has been determined by experts that JJ will do better in a “home environment”.  Jack will remain on campus and that the bulldog tradition is important to the University.  Clearly, if that is true, we want JJ to do well in the best environment. However, given my good fortune of spending some time with JJ this past year, he seemed like a very well adjusted and happy pup and very much at home on campus. In fact, I can think of few homes that could beat JJ’s now former home.

 

What does this all say to me?  Never underestimate the importance of a live mascot to a University.  He or she becomes like a family member to all in the community–faculty, staff, students, alumni, fans.  I can only hope that JJ goes to a place that is truly better for him because the alternative is too hard to bear for this alum and fan.

 

Who fires a Puppy anyway?

 

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What’s on Tap this Summer?

Stones at Verizon

Rolling Stones at Verizon Center

After the NBA and NHL seasons ended, what did you start to tune into? With so many sports to choose from and a summer filled with: MLB, MLS, international soccer/futbol tournaments, WNBA, NBA summer league and college leagues and pre-season NFL football, golf, tennis, etc. etc., the offerings are almost overwhelming. I’m interested in what you choose to follow and how you follow it. Do you go to the park or venue and take a friend or family? Do you follow on TV and avoid the costs of travel, parking, food and tickets? Is there anything exciting happening in your town, whether in the U.S. or abroad–is there a new team in town, a new player in town, something exciting going on? A new stadium or potential stadium such as the proposed new MLS stadium here in DC? What do you see as the future of MLS is the States as the Barclay’s Premier League will hit the airwaves here in a big way beginning in August? Sometimes I wonder if the offerings, even in the major metropolitan areas, are too much to draw loyal fans to fill stadiums and venues, given the costs of tickets and a night out. Clearly it’s a lot nicer when those tickets are comped/complimentary from employers or corporations. In addition to all of the great sporting events, there are great concerts coming through the country in venues large and small. As much as I am a great sports fan, I also love music and performances, and that competes with the great sporting events. I wonder if some of you also grapple with these many choices.

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Bobby V hits the road …

I love this photo.  You just get fired and what do you do–you take a bike ride through Boston.  How incredibly healthy an attitude.  Gotta respect him for this reaction.  

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Believe it or not, all of you non-Washingtonians, Teddy (Roosevelt) winning the President’s Race (an event at every Nats game) is almost–yes, almost–as exciting as heading to the playoffs. Since the Nationals (the former Montreal Expos franchise) came to D.C., fans have has a rough go of it but gradually the ownership built a winning team. In the meantime, and through the losing seasons, the team’s marketing department has entertained us with the Presidents’ Race. Let me tell you, it is much more exciting than any presidential debate. And Teddy never won–until the Nationals won its last home game of this season against the Phillies, 5-1. It almost–yes, almost–became a news story as big as the fact that WINNING baseball is back in D.C. and D.C. is heading to the post-season for the first time since 1933!!

Teddy Wins the Race!

Teddy Wins the Race!

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Big East Upheaval Continues

Although the conference allegedly was not caught off guard this past week, I was not expecting the latest announcement regarding University of Notre Dame’s departure from the conference.  I had believed that the dust had settled from the announcements, departures, additions, and settlements of earlier this year.  At first the Notre Dame announcement caught me off guard but then again, after watching the ESPN “show” surrounding this major “breaking news” event, clearly this is further evidence that universities and conferences act less in the best interests of the student athlete, and more in the interest of the coffers of the institutions.  Left in the dust are respect for student-athletes, coaches, parents and tradition.  Notre Dame’s move to the ACC interestingly happened quickly on the heels of what appeared to be apparent hits to the storied programs of UNC (transcript scandal) and Duke (lawsuit filed against 201o’s Lance Thomas, member of Duke’s championship basketball team, for allegedly receiving benefits–credit for a $100k jewelry purchase that season–that other students would not be offered.  In the coverage of Notre Dame’s defection from the Big East to the ACC, there was no mention of either matter.  As if they didn’t matter.  As if rules don’t matter, tradition doesn’t matter and relationships and allegiances don’t matter.  In my opinion, these are poor lessons for educational institutions to teach students, and student-athletes.

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Your favorite, least favorite professional sports team move?

Please share with us your favorite professional sports team relocation/move, historical or recent, and tell us what you liked/disliked about it.

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Does Kansas have a chance?

I was disappointed that Louisville couldn’t rally to deliver a big surprise against the One and Done’ers Kentucky Wildcats tonight.  Louisville fought and clawed and rebounded but in the end fell short to Calipari and his team of post-grads on their stepping stone to the NBA.  Kansas, on the other hand, showed their resilience in coming back to hand OSU another loss in the Final Four–was the last one in the 2007 final to Florida?  In any case, an exciting ending.  Tomorrow all basketball players should be more cognizant of foul line violations.

On to the Final game Monday night–predictions?

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Nerlens Noel–Why Georgetown is Best

There is a great debate unfolding out there in cyberspace, on the twitter and Facebook feeds and every sports website and blog imaginable.  Now I make my case:

Georgetown should be Nerlens choice.  Nerlens has stated that he wants to attend a college that feels like “home”.  ”Home” is Georgetown’s middle name (if its last name is “University” :-) ) and he will have a family from the day he walks into Georgetown for the rest of his life.  This family is not the kind that uses someone for his or her talents but that cares for the whole person in accordance with Jesuit ideals.  Noel will make an immediate impact and Coach JTIII, a Princeton graduate with a moral compass and all of the intelligence associated with the Princeton and Georgetown basketball programs and institutions, will fully embrace Nerlens’ potential and play to his and the team’s strengths. It’s not just about “Big Man U”, while that is a given, it’s about “Big Man U” + family and home + the finest academics, access to the nation’s capital and likelihood that re-elected President Obama will be a fan of Nerlens.  Jeff Green, Celtic and high first-round draft pick who left early for the NBA, is walking in his graduation ceremony this May.  Ewing, Mutombo, Mourning, and Hibbert are all proud Georgetown graduates and return “home” frequently to contribute to the life of the University, not just its basketball life.  Greg Monroe made an immediate impact in JTIII’s offense then left for the pros.  Georgetown has tradition, class and integrity unparalleled by all but a few schools and none of them are Syracuse and Kentucky.   We Hoyas, current students, alumni and fans worldwide are rooting for Nerlens to become part of the Georgetown family.  We take care of our own.

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Let’s Dance!

The special time of year has begun, to college basketball fanatics the “high holy days” and days, beginning Tuesday for some teams, that you can fly as high as the sky or sink so low.  What is it about college basketball and the allegiance to one’s team that can affect your emotions as much as any friend or family member who praises or criticizes you.  I would like to hear from readers what traditions or routines they follow during this media-created March Madness.  Who are you rooting for?  Who do you think will win and are you entering a pool or two or three?

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ACC Losing Fans?

Check out this interesting article from the WSJ this morning. Do you think this adequately explains the situation?

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204883304577223571248360222.html?mod=djemMTIPOFF_h#articleTabs%3Darticle

 

 

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