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Your Mason Story

Discussion in 'George Mason Basketball' started by patriot2000, Mar 1, 2020.

  1. Jack Strop

    Jack Strop Starter

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    I went to a few big games beginning in 1988, but we always lost. Perennial victims to JMU and Richmond. February 11, 1989 was the first game I remember fondly as a student. Mason beat UNCW by two points. Barn-burner of a game. I remember being in the student section and we were loud and boisterous. The aluminum sheets under our feets made for an imposing racket when we stomped them during opponent's free throw attempts. Everyone knew the chants and it was easy for me as a first-timer to catch on.

    Later in that season I heard that Mason was in the semi-final of the CAA Tourney. I tuned in to WEEL – AM1500 to listen to the last few minutes of the game against East Carolina. We got that one, but it was closer than the eight point margin revealed.

    The next night, I tuned again to listen to the entire game versus UNCW. The game went to OT. I was freakin' out. I was shakin' inside. I was screaming and hollering at my parents' stereo. Mason pulled out the championship. First time going to the NCAA's!!!

    Next season, I went to a few more games. Ernie Nestor became worse and worse as a coach, but I went to game after game after DAMNED game. I graduated in December 1992. I used my student ID to get into games until mid-way through the 95-96 season. My Mom bought my brother and me season tickets for Christmas. I have missed only seven or eight home games since.

    My most memorabke home gane was thumping Tennessee in the opener of the 2005 NIT at home. That place was MAD!!! I've attended Mason away games at JMU, UVa and many CAA/A10 Tourney games in the Big Brown Dump (Richmond Colliseum), Pittsburgh, and D.C. Travelled to Denver, Dayton, and Cleveland, to see NCAA Tourney games. And, best of all, the stunning Mason victory versus UConn to reach the Final Four (and the post-game rally at Patriot Center following the game.)

    Thirty seasons — I endured the Nestor and Westhead years. Rejoiced when Larrañaga built us up to prominence. Through it all, I just loved going to games simply to sing, "Nah-nah-naa-naa • Nah-nah-naa-naa • Hey-ay-ay • Goodbye!" when we won. And of course the "66 west, 81 south" directions to help JMU find their way home after we beat them at Mason. Then there's the more recent demise via Hewitt that we all are so sadly familiar with, followed by Paulsen to present day. I've seen thick and thin, a frown, a grin and I keep coming to support my team — no matter what happens. I'm a Mason fan!
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2020
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  2. Five Two

    Five Two All-American

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    I think there was an event already scheduled at the Vols arena that week and thus we go to host. Beat them by 3 and then played Austin Peay on St Patrick's Day a few days later. Thought we should've worn green that night given the holiday. Got worked at Oregon the next round but was a good run. I believe those were the first two post season wins in school history....and then 2 years later we made more history.
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  3. phoenix-arizona

    phoenix-arizona All-Conference

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    I really remember that Austin Peay game. Afterwards went to Brions' and drank green beer in a sea of green and gold clad GMU fans. In 2006 I was living in Charleston and I remember running up and down King Street after GMU beat Michigan State (on another Saint Patrick's Day I believe) yelling and chanting like a mad man.

    Went to GMU 98-02. Went with some CCM folks in 98 to watch them beat ODU in Richmond for title and then to see them lose to Cincinnati in Boston; was still thrilling to see. Enjoyed some wonderful GMU-UNCW battles all 4 years there.
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  4. gmujim92

    gmujim92 Hall of Famer

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    For me, it was all about a girl. She’s now my wife, so good call on my part (maybe not hers, though).

    Also got a hellaciously fun career out of it, although unlike @gmutom I haven’t yet been smart enough to get into a part of the business that pays more than indentured servitude wages.

    Guess it’s all gravy at this point, considering I did not:

    A. Get knocked the f*ck out for challenging the 6-8, 250 Jeff Chambers to fight during our home game against JMU as an insanely drunken freshman.

    B. Get knocked the f*ck out by Nestor for running a column in the student paper suggesting he should be fired. He was so pissed. If he could’ve killed me without going to prison, he would’ve. Looking back now I understand why.

    C. Die from alcohol poisoning or from falling and smashing my skull in the Broadside photo darkroom during various weekend escapades.

    D. Fail out of school, which probably would’ve been warranted since I spent way more time in the field house playing pickup than in the library.

    Even if I never see Mason win big again, the memories of covering the 2006 NCAAs from press row will last a lifetime. Not many people can say they came within inches of having a laptop destroyed when a player from your alma mater climbed up on the press table to celebrate a berth in the Final Four.

    I wanted to jump up there with Lamar and Tony so bad. Fortunately I was sober and my boss was sitting next to me. So I remained seated and kept my job.

    Indy was a blur and a blast. Still feels like a crazy dream sometimes.

    And 28 years after graduation, I still bleed green and gold. Other than my wedding day and the births of my two kids, many of the best days of my life are in some way tied to Mason Basketball. (Ok yeah, that part sounds sad).
  5. mkaufman1

    mkaufman1 Moderator Staff Member

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    We are all so so thirsty for Mason to win and make it back to the NCAAs. Considering how we celebrate just winning a game against VCU, I could only imagine the celebration if this team ever wins the A10/Makes the NCAAs.
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  6. gmujim92

    gmujim92 Hall of Famer

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    Getting your ish pushed in for a decade straight certainly makes you appreciate winning a lot more.
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  7. gmubrian

    gmubrian Starter

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    These stories are great. Excellent idea patriot2000!
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  8. patriot2000

    patriot2000 Starter

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    Thanks. I want more! We have fans here that did not attend Mason and I want to know more about that. I know we have fans whose road to, or road through, Mason were untraditional and interesting. Thanks to all who have played along so far!
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  9. mason89

    mason89 Starter

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    As an Army brat who had just moved to NoVa from Hawaii right before my senior year in HS, I had never heard of George Mason the man let alone the school. I applied to GMU as a safety school and was accepted along with Penn State and VMI. Luckily, I changed my intended major from mechanical engineering (it would have kicked my @ss) to govt and politics, so I went to Mason with the intent on transferring after two years. Never made the change, though. Met some great people at the school and watched some great basketball. Until recently, the years 85-89 were the team's most successful. The best year was '89 when we sold out the Pat Dome for the first time when Lefty made his debut here. That had to have been one of the most raucous crowds we've had. Then, watching the the NCAA tournament game against Indiana on the local public channel 56 (the old timers here remember those games) in a friends basement after watching Georgetown almost getting beat by Princeton at PJ Skidoo's.

    Finally bought season tickets after we fired Nestor thinking that with "Paul Ball," I better get in for some good seats because he was going to take us to the next level. Little did I know the next level was sucking more than we did under Ernie. Anyway, I've had the same seats since then and have lived through the great moments as well as the embarrassing ones. I refuse to leave a game early and will never boo a player despite some really boneheaded plays. The coaches, though, have been fair game. It's been a great ride and hope we get back on track.
  10. psyclone

    psyclone All-American

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    My story goes back further than most...clearly I'm part of the "elderly" fan base.

    I came to work at Mason in the early 70's, actually when it was George Mason College of the University of Virginia. I remember some students protesting that after it became GMU that they wanted their diplomas to have the former name on it, thinking that no one would have heard of GMU but everyone would be familiar with the University of Virginia.

    Have always been a big sports fan going back to the Yankees winning five consecutive World Series back in the 50's. DiMaggio, Mantle, Berra, Rizzuto....I've memorized their uniform numbers.

    As an undergrad and grad student, I went to all the basketball games but only attended one Division 1 university so it was rare that I had an opportunity to root for "my" team in the NCAAs. But I did go to one regional where in the "other" semi-final I saw Elvin Hayes play against Wes Unseld. My opinion after that was that Unseld was too short and slow to make it in the NBA. A year later he was named both Rookie of the Year and MVP! So much for my basketball analytical judgment!

    I digress. Back then, Mason played it's home games in the, then, PE building and the team was coached by John Linn. Hardly anyone came to those games. I can remember attending games with a colleague and our wives with our toddlers who loved to walk back and forth down the empty bleacher rows. The games were free and you could get a coupon for a free Whopper at the Fairfax Burger King--what a deal!! I can't remember if I saw Jay Marsh play (but he was in one of my classes one summer!).

    It seemed to take a few years before they marked off the bleacher seats (with masking tape, I think!) and started to sell season tickets. Remember sitting a row or two behind George Johnson and his wife a few times. I've been a season ticket holder ever since---made all but one home game excepting for those times I've been hospitalized.

    As years went by I remember seeing the likes of Dave Skaff, John Niehoff, Andre Gaddy, Myron Contee, Ricky Dillard, and of course Carlos Yates. Saw him take a shot while sitting on the floor (he missed!). Went to a game with my young son and saw David Robinson (I think her was only 6' 6" at the time) as a freshman come off the bench. 3 years later, when he was DAVID ROBINSON, all 3 of my kids went to see him and Vernon Butler (Natalie Butler's father) beat Mason in the newly built Patriot Center in the CAA finals.

    With a few good Joe Harrington-coached years sprinkled in followed another promising Rick Barnes year preceded the drought of the Nestor and Westhead years. It was sometimes hard to convince my wife that going to games was something that I enjoyed!

    Hmmm....so much more to say. I'll need to come out with another post when I have a little more time................
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  11. Patriotsince81

    Patriotsince81 All-American

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    We experienced the same things!!!!!! Yet, I'm 28. How the hell did that happen? Myron Contee remains my favorite player to this day.
  12. Patriotsince81

    Patriotsince81 All-American

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    Well, maybe behind Will Thomas.
  13. GMUNatsFan

    GMUNatsFan Walk-On

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    Actually, the first post-seaon win was in 1986 when we beat Lamar in the NIT on a Ricky Wilson jump shot, but you remember those things when you're old like me. :bigsmile:
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  14. mason89

    mason89 Starter

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    I remember listening to that game on the radio. Very exciting...at least before we were destroyed by Providence in the next round.
  15. psyclone

    psyclone All-American

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    Are you a leap year baby?! Do you realize that Patriot since 81 implies you been a fan for 39 yrs! Are you operating on some long forgotten calendar?

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