Game 013: Drexel 57, St. Joseph's 49Saturday, December 4, 2004
The Palestra - Philadelphia, PA
Dear Mr. or Ms. St. Joseph's Hawk,
Hello. How are you doing? I hope you don't mind that I'm participating in the ridiculous tradition by writing a "concept" piece in the form of a published open letter, when everyone knows that the only people who are going to read this are a few hundred regular Mid-Majority readers.
I've been watching you for quite a while now. Year in and year out, it's the same thing. You flap, flap, flap your wings throughout the entire game, and you never stop flapping even for a second. During time outs, you "fly" a figure-eight route on the court no matter what or whom is in the way, then you run over to the huddle and you flap some more. Flap, flap, flap. I remember that one nationally televised game a few years ago when you got railroaded by the other team's mascot, and as the camera zoomed in on your fallen and crumpled body, you were still flapping one arm. That's when I fully understood the never dying thing
(I even heard there was a special Hawk scholarship, that there's a free ride and the opportunity to lose a lot of weight for anyone with the endurance to Be The Hawk. Are the rumors about secret tryouts true? What types of tasks must one perform to prove Hawk-worthy stamina? Is Zen meditation involved?)
I understand this probably isn't a good time - you got beat by Drexel
last night at the Big Five Classic. Drexel!
They're not even in
the Big Five! They hadn't won a game against St. Joe's
since 1987. And to make matters worse, they were missing two key pieces from their starting five due to injury - leading rebounder Sean Brooks and 10-p.p.g. defensive captain Jeremiah King. The stories in the paper this morning were all about how great the Dragons' effort on D was. But you and I know the real truth - it was because your guys couldn't get out of their own way.
Yeah, I was there, and I'm still trying to figure out exactly how it happened. I was sitting in an end section full of Hawk fans there at the Palestra, and nobody quite knew what to make of the poor performance. The guy next to me kept rocking back and forth, picking at his sweatshirt, mumbling over and over to himself, "I just don't get it... They looked so good against Davidson
..." It was definitely the darker, twisted side of "Hawk Hysteria."
That first half was brutal! Five for 21 from the floor? Yikes! They spent the whole half on their heels, never quite figuring out how they wanted to achieve field goals. Most of the time, they settled for poor and ugly shots. If it wasn't for a couple of late off-balance threes, St. Joe's would have gone into the break with 13 lousy points.
OK, so they were able to run off a 10-1 streak in the early stages of the second half, capitalizing on the glaringly obvious mismatch. The Dragons' lone remaining big guy, relatively inexperienced sophomore 6-10 Chaz Crawford, had excess fouls all game - while he played with hands firmly in pockets, big Dwayne Jones was eating him alive (as well as his replacement, Matt Stevenson) down low. But your point-men couldn't or wouldn't get the ball in to him down the stretch, and were trying to feed senior guard Pat Carroll instead, who absolutely refused to get hot. A 2-for-13 shooting night? What gives, Hawk?
Having to replace your entire starting backcourt is a tough adjustment, I know - especially when you lose the National Player of the Year to graduation. There were even a few kids in my section wearing authentic Orlando Magic 14 jerseys to commemorate Jameer Nelson's thus-far unspectacular pro career. The fabric was very shiny. And I didn't expect Delonte West to leave a year early, any more than you did. But who are these new dudes?
This Dwayne Lee guy, I recognize his name from the back of his warmup suit. He never got to play much these past two years because of injuries and Jameer. But he plays tentative, can't see the floor that well, doesn't seem to have the requisite confidence yet. How much time should people give him?
And who's this true-freshman combo guard who wears number 1, Abdulai Jalloh? He has got to have one of the worst shooting touches I've ever seen. He's all wrist and shoulder, offline to the left or right on everything. And what's with his attitude? After hitting a couple of freebies (he needed a few air-shots to align himself before each, presumably necessary to shoot straight) to pull St. Joe's within one at 47-46, he was finger-wagging to his homies in the crowd and ran headlong into a Drexel player! Then there were free throws the other way and a disqualification on fouls.
And so, with the Dragons in foul trouble and clinging to the slimmest of margins, your boys let the momentum slip away and let them pad the lead with free throws off desperation fouls. And that was the end of it.
I'll admit it, I did attend Drexel long ago. But despite my natural allegiance, I wasn't able to derive any joy from last night's result. Walking back home across the DU campus on a Saturday night, down its surprisingly quiet fraternity row, I knew that this upset wouldn't have much of an impact on a student body generally known for its apathy. And I was a bit sad, because just nine months ago St. Joseph's was representing this city so proudly and valiantly, all the way to the last seconds of the NCAA regional finals. A good St. Joe's team is good for Philadelphia. And now your boys have lost twice, as many defeats as they had all of last season.
So I guess that's why I'm writing to you, Hawk - I figured that if anyone would understand my concern and mixed emotions, it would be a guy/girl in a big brown feathered suit who silently goes about their business no matter what - flap, flap, flap. I mean, your identity is a well-known quantity. It's just weird and awkward to see you out there now, representing a team with no identity at all anymore, so desperately in search of one. But the Hawk will never die, right?
Sincerely, your Big Five pal,
KylePhoto Gallery (Games 011/012/013)
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