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Hoya Saxa – School Pride and College Sport

Okay so this blog post is well overdue, I actually started writing it last month but my laptop crashed and I hadn’t saved it so I’ve been putting it off…

But anyway, this post is about sport. I hate sport, I always have. I hate watching it and I hate playing it even more. So you can imagine my surprise when I went to watch a college basketball game and didn’t just like it, but I loved it!

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I’ve been to see a wide variety of sport since I arrived in DC: soccer, football, baseball and more football, but none of it has really interested me. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the baseball, but that’s more because I got to eat chilli cheese fries and watch four mascots dressed as US presidents chase each other around the field than because of the sport. However, a few weeks ago I went to watch my first Georgetown game and it did not disappoint.

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College sport was a relatively alien concept for me, as I’m sure it is for most of you. I’ve tried to explain to my American friends that if you just went to watch an Edinburgh University football game, people would think it was a bit weird, but they just don’t seem to get it – and that’s because college sport in here is HUGE.

The most famous college sport is hands down football; some of the state schools in the south have massive stadiums and practically eat sleep and breathe football, but the atmosphere at Georgetown is a little bit more relaxed. Sadly our football team is terrible (so so so bad) therefore it’s all about basketball. The basketball team are basically kings of the campus; they have a special room in the dining hall where they get served unlimited steak. They also get their tuition, accommodation, meal plan and sportswear free – sport is a big deal.

The whole culture of college sport is an incredibly uplifting one. Firstly, we have a bulldog mascot called Jack who wanders around campus (I am yet to get a picture with him but watch this space), which for me is probably one of the best parts. On Halloween he dressed up in various amazing outfits, and he now has a trick where he skateboards across the basketball court. I tried explaining to my work colleagues that at Edinburgh, or any UK university, we don’t have a mascot, and they were appalled. Every college in the USA has one, ranging from the traditional to the downright weird such as UC Santa Cruz’s Banana Slug. I think I’ll start a petition when I’m back because mascots are great.

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Secondly, there’s the fight song. Georgetown are known as the Hoya’s, I’m not going to get into the history of it because I will definitely bore you all; but we have a chant of “’Hoya Saxa” that people love to shout in the stadium, or basically anywhere on campus. We on top of this also have a fight song, which consists of saying something mean about every Ivy League university.

I liked the basketball because it was interesting, and fast paced, but I think the reason I enjoyed it most was the sense of school pride and spirit I felt while watching. Being part of a community where everyone is so invested in the team was a great feeling, from shouting our chant, to hundreds of students running on the court when we won then piling on a metro to campus after the game.

Unfortunately the basketball season is almost over, but I know I’ll still be keeping an eye on Georgetown basketball when I’m home.

Tamsin 🙂

P.s. hope everyone had a great Shrove Tuesday wherever you are – thankfully I managed to source some pancakes from our British Society.

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