Of Love and Basketball
It’s March. Need I say more? The only sport that I enjoy watching with any regularity is NCAA Basketball. I don’t care for professional sports, I don’t like football all that much, baseball is just ok, so this is really my time. I’m writing this post while watching the school where I currently teach, Siena College, lose the MAAC conference tourney game that marks the end of the season. This on the same day that my alma mater, St. Bonaventure University, beats the University of Rhode Island at home in the last game of the regular season for the Atlantic-10 Conference and earned a home-court advantage in the first round of the A-10 tourney next week.
It is a day of very mixed feelings for the Alum of the most famous and oldest (1858) Franciscan University in the United States and a friar-faculty member of another New York Franciscan college. I am proud of the school I called — and continue to call — my home, St. Bonas. They deserve a lot of credit for coming back after nearly a decade of very difficult NCAA Div I play after a national scandal in 2003, back when I was a student there.
Coach Mark Schmidt is simply excellent! His leadership, understanding of the tradition and appreciation for his responsibility is unsurpassed. An excellent group of talented college players also helps, made more significant by the fact that only one starter (actually, only one player on the team total) is a senior and won’t return next season!
Today the Bonnies end the season with their first winning season since I was still a student there. They end the regular season with a .500 record in the A-10, one of the major conferences in the NCAA and a consistently difficult league in which to compete. I look forward to their effort in the A-10 conference next week – GO BONAS!
I’m disappointed to see the end of the postseason play for the defending MAAC champions, the Siena College Saints. They’ve had a difficult season with the loss of several key players at the end of last season as well as their former head coach (who now coached Iowa, whose game I saw on TV this afternoon). Nevertheless, they played hard and with spirit.
I had the great opportunity to play the drums in the pep band for most of the season. It, as far as I know, was the first time a Franciscan friar and faculty member was a member of the band. I am happy to have shared the season with a wonderful group of students and alums, they’ve played as hard and as dedicatedly as the basketball players.
During the last few games I had the chance to return to my love and former profession as a sports photographer and have really enjoyed that opportunity too. Those who read this site regularly have seen several galleries of images that I’ve made at some of the men’s and women’s games at the end of the season.
All this to say that as the first of my teams — Siena — bows out of the March Madness, I both look forward to St. Bonaventure’s play in the postseason and celebrate the hardwork and joy that the Siena Saints have brought me this year. Good job, Saints! and Let’s Go Bonas!