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Story contributed by: Ted Pokin
Affiliation with GMU: alumni
Contributed on: 7 April 2006

Story Text

What single moment stands out to you the most from the 2005-06 season?
Mason beating UCONN, never thought in a million years it could happen.

Tell about your experiences during the Kryptonite Kids' magical run through the tournament:
I've been paying attention to Mason team on the news and seen some of their games every now and then. I wanted to see Mason play the regional finals at the Verizon Center but I couldn't get tickets. But as soon as Mason won, I couldn't pass up a trip to the Final Four in Indy. The biggest motivation was the fact that this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip, I compared this to the US playing China in the ping-pong tournament finals. I greatest thing about Mason run was that it brought a lot of my friends together, ones I haven't talked to since I graduated. My cousin had a friend, who is a Mason alum, fly from Arizona into Pittsburgh. We drove from Fairfax up to Pittsburgh airport to pick him up and made our way to Indy. That city was really nice.
The only problem I had was that Mason's hotel was located on the other side of the city, about 90 blocks from downtown. We found Florida's hotel, which was located a block from the RCA Done at the Omni Hotel, LSU was based at the Hyatt located 3 blocks from the Dome and UCLA fans were at the Marriot, next to the convention center.
I remember us walking around downtown around noon after getting our tickets and we were the only Mason fans around. This was no exaggeration because some reporters ran into us asking for interviews about Mason's run and they all said we were the first Mason fans they saw. That quickly changed later in the afternoon when all of downtown was flooded with green and gold fans. It felt awesome to see all the fans from the school and casual fans sporting our colors. We really did belong, our students chanted our school name all the way to the Dome it was like a mob. I never saw anything like that, we showed more spirit than Florida before the game. Another thing that impressed me was the huge turnout of Mason fans during the weekend. We were well represented, even though our school is 34 years old, our students, alumni and family and fans were all there. It was the best experience ever.
After the game we went to the designated Mason restaurant called the RAM, the place was packed with Mason fans, it spilled out into the sidewalk. We couldn't find any space in there so we went to the restaurant across the street called St. Elmos. Had a very good steak meal and it was capped off when we saw Coach Laranaga walk inside with his wife and son Jon and his wife for dinner after the game. Best day ever.

What do you think this moment means for George Mason University?
The teams run in the Final Four has meant a lot to the university. Coach Laranaga has done a great job promoting the school during interviews and on ESPN.

Cite as:

Ted Pokin, Object #154, George Mason University Digital Memory Bank, 7 April 2006, <http://hoops.gmu.edu/detail_story.php?id=154>

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