1. Law. a gift of property, especially personal property, as money, by will; a bequest.
2. anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor: the legacy of ancient Rome.
3. an applicant to or student at a school that was attended by his or her parent.
Holy Cross has a rich basketball legacy. When you look around the Hart Center gym and lobby you find evidence of that legacy - banners for 12 appearances in the NCAA Tournament including the 1947 NCAA Championship; banners for 12 appearances in the NIT including the 1954 NIT Championship; retired jerseys of six first team All-Americans, two of whom are NBA hall of famers - George Kaftan, '49; Bob Cousy, '50; Togo Palazi, '54; Tommy Heinsohn, '56; Jack "The Shot" Foley, '62 and Ron Perry, '80; trophies and plaques throughout the lobby of the Hart Center.
In the past 10 seasons, a big part of that basketball legacy is linked to Bucknell. In three of those seasons '05, '06, & '07, the Crusaders forged a rivalry with the Bison, facing off for the Patriot League Championship in each of those seasons. Bucknell won twice, going onto the NCAA tournament and gaining notoriety with redline upsets in '05 & '06, while the Crusaders won the Championship in '07. Two teams with great players, great coaches and a healthy, respectful desire to beat the other left a recent legacy for today's players.
The last 5 seasons have seen that rivalry cool a bit as fortunes changed with coaches and players. Bucknell got back to the top of the Patriot League last year and had been cruising through league play this year until CJ McCollum drilled a 3-pointer on Thursday night to tack a conference loss on the Bison for the first time in over a year.
It was Winter Homecoming at Holy Cross and that helped the size and energy of the crowd of 3,372, but it was also senior day for the Crusaders. Four members of the Holy Cross team were honored pre-game. Team manager Chris Holmes, four year walk-on Charlie Mills, Mike Cavataio, and Devin Brown each took the customary walk to center court with family to greet their coach and receive the appreciative cheers of the Homecoming Crowd. Each was recognized for their contribution to Holy Cross basketball's legacy.
Unfortunately for the Bison faithful in Section A of the Hart Center, it seemed the Bison didn't get off the bus until the second half. A combination of a ratcheted up Holy Cross man-to-man defense and Bucknell missing a good number of the open shots they had, left Bucknell with just 10 points at halftime. It seems odd to say, but fortunately for Bucknell, Holy Cross "only" led by 18 as the Bucknell defense did enough to keep the Bison in the game.
The crowd was pretty excited, but veterans of the recent history between these two rivals knew what was likely coming. A Bucknell comeback.
And Bucknell did come back. But it wasn't furious. A Bucknell 9-0 run to cut the lead to eight was answered by a 7-0 Holy Cross run to get the lead back to 15 with nine minutes left. When Bucknell cut the lead to four with 1:30 left, Holy Cross hit free throws and played defense to open it back up to six or seven points a couple of times. Trading two Bucknell 3's for one out of four Holy Cross free throws over the final 16 seconds cut the final margin to two but the Crusaders held on to win - a possible sign that this Holy Cross team may finally be settling down and getting comfortable after 2+ years of flux.
Homecoming. Senior Day. A rivalry game. All added to the atmosphere in the Hart Center, but this day took on added interest for me, when I took this picture of my son, Joseph.
I'm a Holy Cross legacy. My dad went to Holy Cross. He graduated in 1950, a classmate of the aforementioned Bob Cousy. I have a sister ('78), a brother-in-law ('82) and a brother ('83) who also graduated from Holy Cross. I met my wife ('84) at Holy Cross and I graduated in 1985. Our blood runs purple and so, my son's DNA undoubtedly has a purple hue, but that's not what made that picture interesting.
As soon as I looked at that picture in my camera's LCD screen, I was immediately reminded of this picture of Joseph and his sister, taken in February 2003, during another Holy Cross vs. Bucknell winter homecoming game, our first Holy Cross basketball game as a family - mom, dad, and two kids.
Could 2012 already be our tenth season doing this?? Wow!
My son was 8 in early 2003 and playing in a town rec basketball league. I thought seeing a basketball game in person would help him understand, in a very small way, how to play better team basketball. He didn't play organized basketball after that year - you know what they say about the best laid plans - but we were hooked and have been regulars at the Hart Center since, season tickets holders since 2005.
A bout of the flu kept my wife and daughter at home this year, but Joseph and I journeyed to Worcester. We talked game and players as we always have. How Eric Obeysekere's wing span was really altering shots and allowing him to grab some crazy looking rebounds. How to attack offensively when both sides of a pick are clearly set up to be defended - he tried to tell me, but I'm sure I still don't understand. Should Devin Brown deliberately miss the second FT with 1.5 seconds left Holy Cross up 2 - even I knew the answer to that one, NO!
Homecoming, senior night and legacies are generally about the past and that picture, in this game, during winter homecoming brought memories flooding back. But this evening had me thinking about the future, too.
You see, I wasn't the only legacy in sitting Section 5 Row 3 of the Hart Center Saturday. Joseph, a high school senior, received a letter in early January.
"Contingent upon the successful completion of all senior courses and subsequent graduation from the secondary school you are now attending" the letter said, he would be a member of the Holy Cross class of 2016.
As I sat there with him, I thought about that letter and remembered my first Holy Cross game at the Hart Center in 1976 against Seton Hall. My sister was a sophomore and it was winter homecoming. Holy Cross won and I slept on the floor of her dorm room with several of my brothers and sisters. I flashed forward to my freshman year at Holy Cross sitting with friends in the student section in the winter of 1982, just a few rows lower and slightly to the left of where we were sitting Saturday. I don't remember much about the games that season, but I remember the people I sat with, one of whom, my best friend from Holy Cross other than my wife, passed away a few years ago. Boy do I miss talking with him!
But as I looked at that student section and where I used to sit, my thoughts jumped from old friends to the future.
In six months, four of us will climb into the minivan, leave our home and make the 30 minute drive to Holy Cross, as we have dozens of times since that first trip in 2003. We'll unload the car at one of the dorms and walk the campus as we have dozens of times since Joseph was an infant. In the late afternoon, we'll attend the Mass of the Holy Spirit and when Mass concludes, we'll kiss him goodbye, the freshman class of 2016 will go off to orientation activities and their parents will be dismissed. And for the first time, only three of us will get in the minivan and return home from Worcester.
He'll live in the dorms, go to class, go to games, and sit in that same student section I sat in 30 years ago and he'll have an opportunity. An opportunity to learn about himself and get to know and share experiences with some wonderful people - students, alumni, faculty, and staff - that make-up the Holy Cross community. By being part of and immersing himself in that community, he'll discover that basketball is just a small piece of the Holy Cross legacy left by his grandfather, aunt, uncles, parents and so many others.
Yes, I thought, in six months, Joseph will share in our legacy and begin to craft his own Holy Cross legacy. One that will always include the last ten seasons of Holy Cross basketball.
at HOLY CROSS 54, BUCKNELL 52 02/18/2012
BUCKNELL 20-8 (10-2) -- B. Cohen 2-5 0-0 4; M. Muscala 9-16 2-2 20; J. Willman 3-7 0-0 6; C. Ayers 3-7 0-0 7; B. Johnson 3-7 0-0 8; R. Hill 1-3 0-0 2; S. Kaspar 1-7 1-3 3; B. Fitzpatrick 0-1 0-0 0; B. Brackney 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 23-54 3-5 52. HOLY CROSS 13-13 (7-5) -- D. Brown 1-4 2-4 4; J. Burrell 5-13 3-4 15; D. Dudzinski 2-8 3-5 7; R. Evans 2-7 0-0 4; M. Cavataio 4-6 0-0 9; E. Obeysekere 1-4 0-0 2; T. Abt 2-4 0-0 5; J. Stevens 2-4 0-0 5; D. Goens 0-0 0-0 0; P. Beans 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 20-52 8-13 54.
Three-point goals: BUCK 3-15 (B. Cohen 0-2; B. Johnson 2-5; M. Muscula 0-1; C. Ayers 1-3; R. Hill 0-1; S. Kaspar 0-3), HC 6-19 (M. Cavataio 1-2; D. Brown 0-3; R. Evans 0-1; J. Stevens 1-3; P. Beans 1-1; D. Dudzinski 0-2; J. Burrell 2-4; T. Abt 1-3); Rebounds: BUCK 30 (M. Muscula 10), HC 31 (D. Dudzinski 7); Assists: BUCK 12 (R. Hill 3), HC 13 (D. Goens 5); Total Fouls -- BUCK 15, HC 13; Fouled Out: BUCK-None; HC-P. Beans.