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Story contributed by: James T. Garber
Affiliation with GMU: student
Contributed on: 5 April 2006

Story Text

What single moment stands out to you the most from the 2005-06 season?
Probably the atmosphere in the Patriot Center after GMU defeated UCONN to advance to the Final Four. It was an incredible feeling and everyone was just so excited to have the opportunity to represent our school before a national audience.

Tell about your experiences during the Kryptonite Kids' magical run through the tournament:
Some of the most fun I've ever had in my life was when all the GMU student buses arrived in downtown Indianapolis before the Final Four game against Florida. It was a Mason invasion as hundreds of Green and Gold clad fans walked through downtown chanting "Let's go Mason!" The support we received from UCLA and LSU fans was remarkable. I personally handed out dozens of green and gold pom-poms to opposing team fans. They were all pulling for us and started to chant along with us. Eventually some of us made it into a bar where we crowded around a table, holding our signs and continuing our chants. It was similar to the scene in Casablanca when the Germans begin to sing their anthem only to be outmatched by the French singing theirs. The LSU, UCLA, and Florida fans all organized their seperate cheers, but we were certainly the loudest and most obnoxious, eventually capping the experience with a round of "Florida is for old people!" The atmosphere was not one of hatred for the other teams, but of unity - 4 teams emerging from a multitude of schools all over the nation. Considering the number of colleges, it's quite an accomplishment to even make the tournament, but when it comes down to the best 4 schools in the country, there's a sense of comradery that I've never experienced before. I felt especially proud of my school and of our basketball team when, when it was obvious that Florida was going to win, the LSU and a few of the UCLA fans began chanting "GMU! GMU!" I've never felt so much school pride since I've been in college . . . and that's been a long time.

What do you think this moment means for George Mason University?
For the first time, I feel like every GMU student has the same focus; something to rally around. GMU is such a large, diverse, "commuter" school, that it seems disjointed. It's always seemed more like a small city than a true college campus to me (epecially since there are so many campuses). I think that watching our basketball team advance so far, earning our school national recognition, which it certainly deserves, is great for unity. GMU has been underappreciated academically and I think earning this national attention will help change that. We're the biggest school in the state yet very few people from outside Virginia have ever heard of the college or even George Mason the man. This tournament alone has remedied that, but now with that short-lived attention we can begin to show what our school is capable of academically as well as physically.

Cite as:

James T. Garber, Object #144, George Mason University Digital Memory Bank, 5 April 2006, <http://hoops.gmu.edu/detail_story.php?id=144>

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