Time to jump on the bandwagon

Philip Consuegra

A rabid Villanova basketball fana, a student at the University, walked into Jock’s and Jill’s in Atlanta, Georgia on a warm night during Thanksgiving to watch some football with his father. People at the restaurant asked me where he went to school, inviting the response, “I go to Villanova. We’re primarily a basketball school.”

Upon hearing this statement, another football observer made the loud, obnoxious comment, “Yeah, Villanova WAS a basketball school. They can’t compete anymore, though. It’s not the ’80s.”

I hope that guy was watching this past Saturday as Villanova, the “has-been”, in so many minds, achieved the upset of the season.

The Wildcats didn’t just beat Kansas, they slaughtered them. Talking to my father that night, he claimed, “It was such a blowout, I would have turned off the t.v. if I hadn’t been looking for the guy in the kilt.”

There are certain moments in a college student’s life that make them appreciate the opportunity of rooting for their team. For me, there was no better moment, not only in my Villanova career, but in my life, than what occurred on national television this past Saturday.

The mood was electrifying, and the atmosphere swirled with the aroma of exhilaration. As the entire student body rushed the court in defiance of a rude and inconsiderate Wachovia Center staff, the rush of victory was too much to deny our celebration.

Whether you want to admit it or not, Villanova needed this win. We needed this victory, not only for our basketball program, but for our fans. According to the fans, the season was on the verge of being lost, with two straight losses in games that the Wildcats could (and should) have won. There were no excuses for losing to Georgetown and Boston College, the latter hurting more. Up six with a minute left, untimely fouls and missed opportunities doomed the ‘Cats. It looked like another season squandered, another opportunity to make the tournament lost.

But the ‘Cats had upset on their minds from the opening tip-off. Kansas never led after they took the lead on the first shot of the game. Every player and coach’s face showed a look of hunger. Hunger for a win, hunger for an upset, hunger to finally get over the hump.

The crowd sensed the team’s hunger at halftime, and it grew to a size that even Wayne Simien couldn’t control.

Kansas came out flat, they say, but Villanova’s defense has been solid all season. Villanova was lucky, they say, but luck doesn’t win you a game by 21 points. At the end of the day, the Villanova Wildcats were the better team. End of story.

And with this win, my friends, now we see the bandwagon. It seems as though everyone now believes in this team, and everyone wants to be a part of it.

Never mind those fans who are always at home games, sitting behind the band yelling at the refs and hooting and hollering at the other team. Never mind those students who have put off studying in their years as a Villanova student to go catch a game. Never mind dedication, because in the end, dedication gives way to the bandwagon.

Get on while they’re still hot – because there may not be enough room in the Pavilion to seat all our newly-inspired fans.

But that’s what it takes. A win like this doesn’t just build team character, it develops a following from the student body. People are finally excited to go to basketball games. I actually lost a basketball lottery this past week. This is what we have been waiting for, a student body ready to support this Wildcat team.

So while the bandwagoners are busy finally getting around to a game, it makes me proud that we’re finally going to fill the student section. We’ve earned that much. It’s our job to make sure the rest of country sees what we can be: the best student section in the entire country. That, in itself, will send shivers up Dick Vitale’s spine.

So I hope that guy was watching last Saturday. I will take great pride for the rest of college career in saying, “I go to Villanova. We’re primarily a basketball school.”