With snowfall shutting down most of the District over the weekend, the GW men’s basketball game against Duquesne Saturday afternoon became one of the few outlets for GW students and Washingtonians suffering from cabin fever.
In order to combat the weather, the GW Department of Athletics announced in a message to season ticket holders Friday that the game would, in fact, be played and that there would be free hot chocolate and cookies for all in attendance. In addition to the free comfort foods, all winter apparel was discounted 25 percent at the game, and fans unable to make it to Foggy Bottom were able to watch a live video feed of the contest for free online at GWsports.com.
For the fans who did make the trek to the game from beyond campus, the blizzard made the journey to the Smith Center more difficult than normal.
“It was really whether it was going to be safe to get here or not, and whether we’d be able to make it or not,” said AD Club member Peter Weissman, a 1996 GW Law School alumnus who lives in Northwest D.C. “It took us twice as long as we expected.”
In the face of a predicted record-breaking snowstorm, Saturday’s game was relatively well-attended with an official crowd of 1,507. The Smith Center’s student section was mostly full for the Colonials’ 70-63 loss, though many of the arena’s other seating areas were sparsely populated.
Duquesne was not immune to the weather, either. The Dukes, who arrived in the District from Pittsburgh before the brunt of the storm, scrambled to find pre-game transportation after learning their bus would not be able to navigate the six mostly unplowed blocks between the team hotel and the Smith Center.
Instead, the Dukes traveled to the Smith Center via a cab company that dispatched four-wheel drive Cadillac Escalades to transport the team. Duquesne head coach Ron Everhart said after the game that although the weather had complicated his team’s game-day routine, he was more than happy to deal with the snow if it meant his team would play as well as it did Saturday afternoon.
Asked about his pre-game preparations, Evehart said, “We didn’t have any. That was an adventure, but we did get here, and we didn’t have much game-day prep… Maybe I gotta rethink all the game-day prep that we do now, because we played as well as we have all year, I think, in light of that.”
GW head coach Karl Hobbs said that while his team’s pre-game routine was largely unaffected by the snowstorm, he was disappointed that his team could not deliver a victory for the students who slogged through the snow to see the Colonials in action.
“The disappointment for me was to see so many students come out and support this basketball team and for us to not come up with a win for them,” Hobbs said. “It’s more frustrating for me in that regard, that so many students came out and we just couldn’t find a way to reward them. That’s just as disappointing for me as anything.”
Even with most of the student section filled despite the winter weather, not everyone was as impressed with the student section as Hobbs.
“I thought there’d be more students here,” Wiessman, the AD Club member, said. “I don’t know what the students are doing if they’re not here. But I wonder that at many of the games.”