‘Twas the night before the Holiday Festival,
When through Alumni Hall
Just one creature was stirring
And bouncing a ball.
The nets had been hung
From the baskets with care
In hopes that Coach Jarvis
Soon would be there.
The fans were nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of victories danced in their heads
And players arrived in designs of Eddie Bauer
Thinking practice absurd at such a late hour
When out on the court were the sounds of loud squeaks
That came from the suicides run in new sneaks
They hustled and bustled and criss-crossed the court
Not hearing from outside a sound, like a snort.
The campus was empty and dark as can be
Except for the presence of multiple Johnnie
And approached as it did, making such a fuss
Was the mode of transportation — a giant coach bus.
With a crafty city driver, who had no fear,
He could guide them to MSG faster than eight tiny reindeer
They boarded the bus as he called them by name
Because it was time to play the big game;
“Now, Glover! now, Hatten! now, Stanley and King!
On, Ingram! on Keita!” My how the words sing!
To the top of the key, run the out of bounds play
Run them off the court, let’s make them pay.
So the bus made its way, to the Greatest Arena
Packed to capacity, if you could have seen it
The team that they faced wore powder-blue
Boasted tradition of Jordan and Vince Carter, too.
And then, in a flash, the lights went real low
The crowd got real noisy, and ready to blow
When the music blasted, the fans came alive
As the announcer named the SJU starting five.
At the head of the bench was a man everyone knew
He had been at Boston University and GW
He dressed in a suit and stood very still
Some people think he looks like the Fresh Prince’s Uncle Phil
His son at his side, they were ready to see
Their offense run most perfectly.
His eyes — how they twinkled when crisp passes were made
But the visage was different when sloppy defense was played
He’d yell when he had to, tried to spark the troops
He offered them Gatorade, towels and fruit loops;
But things looked bleak as halftime drew close,
The team looked scared, like they’d seen a ghost,
But the only spirits present were the brothers McGuire,
Who watched the game in a huff, full of ire
How could their Redmen be playing so bad?
It must have been the name change, a politically-correct done fad;
“I don’t think that’s it,” Dick said to Al
“Why don’t you ask Louie, he’s a good pal.”
Jarvis spoke not a word, as he entered the room
He commented that someone should get him a broom
‘Cause the way they were playing was making him weep
And North Carolina was going for a second-half sweep.
But Hatten arose from the seat of his chair
And said, “look I know that the refs aren’t that fair,
That we can’t buy a bucket, and our D is the pits
But I know that I won’t lay down and quit.”
The team sprang to the court, a fire inside
Matt Doherty looked like his dog had just died
As King made a basket, the SJU crowd knew,
With one minute left the deficit was two.
After a defensive stop, Glover was at the line
The first rattled home, the second tickled the twine,
And when the Tar Heels had trouble on the inbounds play,
Stanley dove for the ball and he saved the day,
By getting the ball in the hands of Cuffe
And while a shot in the final seconds would be tough enough
Three players around him, he let the shot go
The buzzer sounded, up from the bench jumped Mo.
The ball went through the net, the Johnnies had won
As they rushed the court shouting “We’re No. 1!”
And I heard Jarvis exclaim, from the press conference room,
“Beating the Tar Heels is nice, we’ll beat the Dukies real soon!”
Jason Della Rosa is a senior journalism major who wants to wish all his readers a Merry
Christmas. Send comments to [email protected]