41-14. For football, this is a blowout, but on Jan. 30, 2008, as I sat in my dorm room (Century Hall, Room 111; let’s just say that the repairs on that room have been, er, interesting), I saw this score displayed on the TV in front of me: Georgetown 41, St. John’s 14. At halftime. No, we did not come back and win; we doubled our first half point total to only lose 74-42, St. John’s worst loss in Big East history.
And it was at the Garden.
To say St. John’s basketball was bad that year, and for pretty much all of the almost five years I have attended here, would be an understatement. That night against Georgetown, St. John’s shot 10-for-47, which is roughly the ratio of explosions-for-seconds in a Michael Bay movie. I could look out my window at the court by Montgoris and see higher-quality ball.
I graduated high school in 2006, so to the freshmen, I might as well be an old man. Back then you could only get on Facebook if you went to a certain college that had it. If you’ve studied ancient history and saw The Social Network, you might think “There’s like no way!” – but it’s true. Anyways, I knew the history of Red Storm basketball, and as much as I hated the nickname “Red Storm” for so many reasons, I was ready to watch them play.
And yeah, I also knew about the wonderful disciplinarians Mike Jarvis and Kevin Clark and their top-notch student athletes who managed to nearly destroy the entire program, but I figured in a year or two we’d be good. It’s New York City right? Everybody wants to come to New York City!
Of course you don’t really realize until you get here that Manhattan might as well be 100 miles away, and in those first couple years at school I slept in and missed the entirety of those Saturday-at-noon-at-MSG games. I did attend a few games my freshman year, but when 75 percent of the smattering of people at the games are cheering for the other team, our players are featured in SportsCenter’s NOT Top 10, and, to paraphrase DJ Khaled, “ALL WE DO IS LOSE!” I vowed to never waste my money that could have been spent on a $9.00 cup of noodles at the C-store until we changed coaches. I continued to watch every game, kept up when I went to Europe on Discover the World my junior year (plug: you should go, it’s a blast), and agonized over the heartbreakers against Marquette last year.
Since I arrived, the Red Storm have gone 72-75 and beat five ranked teams. So if I took my over-$200,000 in tuition and were paying the team (and, under Mike Jarvis, I literally would have been), each victory would cost me $2,985.42. One victory against a ranked team would cost me $42,990.07.
So to the freshmen and sophomores, I say: you lucky [expletives deleted]. I’m sorry, that’s a little harsh, but you actually get to watch some great basketball. That win against Duke on Sunday was absolutely incredible, and believe me – guys like DJ Kennedy, Justin Brownlee, Dwight Hardy and the rest of the seniors deserve this success for all the work they’ve put in. And you know what? So do the people graduating this year. The ones who have taken four years to graduate, and the ones who assumed a “bonus year” would be free, like me (I assumed wrong), and anybody else who has been around for the past several years to watch the Garden be smothered in Syracuse orange, or Georgetown and Duke blue, or UConn white.
Sure, St. John’s has produced some great athletes and teams in the years I’ve been here – baseball dominates the Big East, fencing produces Olympic medalists, and lacrosse has…well I still have no idea what’s going on in lacrosse, but by avoiding scandal they too have done better at a sport than Duke. But we all know the truth – the sports tradition at St. John’s begins with men’s basketball, and their success will be a catalyst for overall sports fandom here in Queens.
Freshmen, enjoy the next four years of basketball, your future of wearing LOVIN’ LAVIN’! shirts, and never hearing the words “sold out.”
Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to go throw on some Taylor Swift and cry until the Rutgers game Wednesday, because I looked at my tuition cost again.