Their message was loud and clear: we want Georgetown. Their reception by Georgetown University students was just as clear: go home.
On Saturday afternoon about 15 GW students gathered in Kogan Plaza and marched down M Street to the gates of Georgetown’s campus to show support for an annual GW versus Georgetown men’s basketball game. The group of buff and blue-clad, sign-waving students was led by junior Lamar Thorpe, who said he had been planning the event for a few weeks.
“We wanted to get ourselves involved in building a sense of community and building school spirit,” said Thorpe, who serves on the Joint Committee of Faculty and Students and is running for Student Association president.
The group’s march came a few weeks after D.C. councilmember Jack Evans, who represents the GW and Georgetown’s campuses, wrote letters to the presidents of both schools calling for an annual charity game. The teams have not played each other since the 1981-82 season.
While Thorpe tried to rally support for the march in J Street before leaving GW’s campus, he didn’t gain any additional marchers. Thorpe’s fellow marchers, even though they formed a small group, agreed that a game against Georgetown could increase school spirit.
“We’re two major schools in the same area, and there’s no reason why there shouldn’t be a sports rivalry,” sophomore Elliot Bell-Krasner said.
From the steps of the Marvin Center to the gates of Georgetown’s campus, the students continuously chanted “Who do we want? Georgetown! When do we want them? Now!”
Although the group was mainly greeted with smiles from confused tourists and people walking along M Street, the jeers escalated as they climbed Wisconsin Avenue. Cab drivers honked horns, Georgetown students along the streets snickered and even a homeless man chimed in and said “Georgetown will knock your socks off – can you spare any change?”
Jose Valcarcel, who was working at one of the shops in Georgetown Saturday, laughed as the GW students passed him on the street.
“I think it’s kind of funny,” Valcarcel said referring to the march.
But, he added, “The game would be good for the community, especially since they’re both good now.”
Once the marchers reached the campus, they were taunted with shouts of “safety school,” “Georgetown waitlist,” and “beat a ranked team” from students yelling out of their dorm windows and those standing outside of the library. The No. 6 Colonials have only faced one team currently ranked in the top 25, N.C. State, to whom they lost Dec. 30 in Raleigh.
“GW isn’t on our radar screen too much, but we’re open to it,” Georgetown sophomore Ben Lazarus said, although he admitted to being interested in the possibility of a game.
Georgetown law student Morgan Schmittinger voiced his displeasure with the GW visitors at his campus’ front door.
“It makes GW seem inferior and supports that stereotype. The action appears offensive to Georgetown because they’re invading our territory,” he said.
The rude welcome didn’t discourage any GW students. In fact, the marchers said that the reception increased their exposure.
“I think it was successful,” GW sophomore James Morlath said. “Their reaction was pretty funny, and we’re happy they heard us. I understand that logistically it’s tough this year (to schedule a game), but it adds pressure and shows we want a game.”
Earlier this month, Jack Kvancz, GW’s athletic director, told The Hatchet that issues such as the venue of the competition and the number of tickets distributed to each team would have to be addressed before any matchup between the teams took place.
“The numbers don’t mean anything,” Thorpe said, referring to the small turnout for the event. “It’s the spirit and heart dedicated to a cause that matters.”