Miracle on F Street: The Night the Hoya's Were Destroya'd

It's not time for March Madness quite yet but last Thursday night in D.C., Cuse fans were definitely ready for the Big Dance. (A fan experience story)

Before leaving for the Georgetown game last Thursday, I turned to my father’s Facebook page for last minute inspiration. His profile picture was a Syracuse fan holding a sign that reads: “I’ve hated Georgetown since I was a little kid.” My dad raised me to appreciate and agree with that statement. (His new profile picture is of me holding a “YOUR MOM IS A HO-YA” sign at the game.) Ready to go, I was fully dressed in Syracuse attire, orange pom-pom in hand, and decked out in my “Go Cuse,” orange and blue Nike sneakers, which I had previously only worn to games at the Dome.

The sign I held up the entire night; a message for all Georgetown fans.  (PHOTO: Josh Books)


I was staying with a friend right outside of D.C., but we unfortunately miscalculated our travel time going into the city. While sitting on the Metro on our way to the Verizon Center, the game tipped off and the Orange were in full force. Before even exiting the station, four girls who weren’t even going to the game – which I can only assume from their lack of attire – began loudly mocking us. My friend brushed past one of them by mistake, and the Hoyette yelled, “Ew, don’t ever touch me again! Such trash. What are they even doing here?” I urged the group to just ignore them and keep walking, as w were already late for the game and needed to save our steam for opposing fans worth the comeback.

As we finally approached the Verizon Center, I started to get nervous. I never like opposing fans, especially Georgetown ones, and I certainly give them a hard time when they come to the Dome. I could only assume they would do the same for me. Thankfully, we were greeted not only by a full section of Syracuse fans, but by an entire upper deck of them. Orange surrounded us in color and spirit, and it felt great. An alum next to me looked us and said, “Wow, it’s a sea of orange!” “Always,” I replied. “We travel in packs.”

Overwhelmed by excitement, and our 20-6 lead, I could tell we were in for a good game. I waved my “YOUR MOM IS A HO-YA” sign proudly and did a full 360 for the fans to see from every angle. The crowd’s response was invigorating, picking up the spirit even more. Everyone in the seats around us asked to take pictures of the sign and agreed with the message wholeheartedly.

I tuned into the game. We were on fire. For the rest of the half, the Orange never let up a 10-point lead.  Rautins and Wes each had a couple three-pointers, and the team was just playing so well together. I realized I couldn’t even hear the difference between Georgetown fans and Cuse fans; we were cheering just as loud as they were.

We went into halftime up 44-31. I was the most excited I’ve been this season – possibly excluding the Georgetown game at home, just because I love winning against them so much. I looked around the entire 400 level of the Verizon Center and could only think about how much better it felt at the top, literally.

Georgetown fans cheer on the Hoyas, lagging behind the Orange most of the game.  (PHOTO: Josh Books)

During halftime, I went down to the lower level to meet up with Sam, a life long family friend, and a student at Georgetown. While walking, I got some of the dirtiest looks I’ve ever seen in my life but managed to keep a smile on. Unfortunately, I forgot I was leaving the Orange safe zone upstairs and entering a very big grey area: the Georgetown student section. I was not well received.

“Go the f*** home!” “Cuse SUCKS.” “What does YOUR diploma say?!” Stare. Snarl. Smirk. Spill a beer on me. Greeeat.

All of a sudden I hear someone call my name. I looked over at a face-painted, blue-wig-wearing kid and realized it was him. Immediately after we started talking, other Georgetown kids walked by, staring at us with contempt. “Well that’s just unnatural.” “Sleeping with the enemy are ya, Sam?” We managed to catch up for a few and planned to meet up later in the weekend, in a less hostile environment.

Cuse went into the second half with even more drive, if not for their own sake, then for the masses of alumni in attendance and their loyal classmates and local fans who drove all the way down to G-town to bring home a W. Continuing to dominate and running up the scoreboard, the Syracuse Orange took their game-high 23-point lead at 60-37. From the upper deck we all victoriously looked down on the Hoya fans beneath us, as though we had the game on lock.

After jumping out of our seats, we were suddenly sitting back down in them. In only a few minutes, we were put to shame by a 10-0 run, which turned into a 23-5 run, in Georgetown’s favor. It was 65-60, Syracuse, with under 5 minutes. All I could think was, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” At that moment, anything seemed possible.

The few Georgetown fans in our section were now standing and turned around to yell back at us, while waving their middle fingers. “What now Cuse?!” “Where’s your boy Wes?” I looked down at the floor, nearly pulling the hair out of my head in frustration, as I asked myself what the hell had just happened. The sea of grey – which, if it sounds horrible compared to a sea of orange, looks even worse – was now at their very loudest, and the energy was dying in the seats around me. I felt helpless and angry, telling myself this could not be happening.

It was too close for comfort. Way too close. “DEFENSE,” I shouted at the top of my lungs. “Come on boys, pull it together!” We couldn’t get back the Orange spirit, everyone with hanging their heads low. 67-62 Cuse with 3:26 left in the game, and Rick Jackson fouls out. Exactly a minute later, at 69-65, AO fouls out too. Not good. We needed a big man in those final minutes.

The crowd was going crazy. Georgetown continued to creep up on us, and with less than two minutes left in the game, we only had a one-point lead. 70-69. My mind was racing so fast, I couldn’t even hear the Hoya revelry – I just saw them cheering with all their might, convinced they were about to make the greatest comeback of the season. 71-70. 73-70. Two free throws for Georgetown. They missed one– probably due to the noisy, dedicated-to-distract Orange fans – but made the second, bringing it to 73-71. Still too close.

Then, of course, back to the free throws. With 5 seconds left, with our hands held high above our head, fingers waving, Rautins stepped up to the line. Whoosh, and Whoosh! Everyone in Orange sprung from their seats, waiting for the clock to run out. Score: 75-71, Syracuse.  Game over. Cuse Nation began loudly and wildly rejoicing together, hugging each other and screaming at the top of our lungs.

Cheering with so much satisfaction, I was beyond ecstatic; this was the most overjoyed I had felt about a game in a long time. It was also the first Syracuse game I’d been to in an opposing stadium where I really cared about winning. I’ve been to Miami, Seton Hall (seemed like a home game), St. Johns at Madison Square Garden (also seemed like a home game) and Rutgers. I’ve also been to several tournaments at MSG– the most memorable of which was of course the epic 6 0T game in the Big East quarterfinals last year – but there’s always a mixed fan-base at those and such a consistent Cuse showing, so I always expect to outnumber the other teams at the Garden; you don’t feel like you’re on someone else’s turf. Here at the Verizon Center, however, every Georgetown fan that had walked past my friends and me stared us up and down, either with a sense of obnoxious mockery or in a state of rage, with a fire in their eye like they were ready to go to war.

The Orange endured those last few moments with strength and patience, even when things looked really bad. Blowing a 23-point lead left even the most faithful fans a bit nervous – especially after we just had two of our closest games of the year, one win, one loss. Although we knew they would pull through, we were still scared. Overwhelmed by so much relief as the clock turned 0.0, it just felt like a miracle.

We ran out of our seats still cheering, “Yeaaa Cuse!!” and high-fiving anyone in our path wearing orange and blue. I held my sign up high, so all the fans who couldn’t see me at 5’2, still knew what I stood for. I passed a guy in a shirt that read, “You Can’t Spell SUCKS Without SU.” He saw my sign and yelled over, “Yeah, f*** you!” I replied, “Hey now! No one likes a sore loser.” A Georgetown fan then gave double-middle fingers to one of my friends, and told him to kiss them, so he did.

We walked outside and into a crowd of more orange, celebrating on the corner of the sidewalk. There were street drummers keeping the beat as everyone chanted, “Go Cuse, Go Cuse!” My friends and I ran out into the middle of the blocked-off road outside the Verizon Center. We were dancing and shouting along with everyone, still holding up the “YOUR MOM IS A HO-YA!” to keep up the spirit. I looked around us at the sheer happiness of the fans in orange uniform. It was like a big family, all rejoicing together. It felt amazing.

Maybe we were enjoying ourselves a bit too much, celebrating too loudly while the Georgetown fans exited the game and were forced to walk through our pack, but it was well deserved, as it always is when it comes to Georgetown.

The Orange faithful celebrating on F Street outside the Verizon Center. (PHOTO: Josh Books)


I don’t even remember how long we had been out there when the cops and security finally put an end to the festivities. My friend, a D.C. local, insisted we go to her favorite bar, which happened to be in Georgetown. So instead of staying in the area, a safe-zone with other Cuse fans still around, we hopped in cabs and went into the heart of Georgetown, dressed head-to-toe in orange. Big mistake.

I wish all the Hoya fans who called us “classless” could have seen the way their own kind acted after the game. Sure, we were the only people in orange in an entire bar of Georgetown students, so maybe we were asking for it, but I was still appalled. Everyone detested us the minute we walked in. Anticipating any further tension, I gave my sign to one of the bouncers and asked him to keep it in a safe place upstairs.

My friends were trying to have fun in revelry, dancing to whatever music was playing – an activity I did not take part in, feeling extremely awkward in the situation – but weren’t bothering anyone. Or so I thought. A girl came over from the bar to join them, and she seemed to be welcoming them, trying to be nice. Seconds later I noticed she was dancing with two middle fingers up. She then proceeded to show my friends how to pump her gas, while chanting “F*** Cuse, F*** Cuse,” imitating our earlier antics.

This continued all night. Whenever we ordered drinks, someone “accidentally” knocked them over at the bar.” One kid spilled his beer on my guy friends every time he walked past them. Girls disregarded our presence on any line, feeling free to cut us throughout the night. The grilling continued. Along with the snarling and smirking. I could hear them talking about us. “What the hell are these guys doing here?” So finally we answered that question, by leaving.

The next day, we were back in the area and ran into some Georgetown fans we knew. They volunteered more than enough feedback on their experience with SU fans at the game, and on what they’d heard about the festivities outside the Verizon Center. One said we should be “ashamed” of our behavior, and the other claimed that they would never take part in such vulgarity and poor sportsmanship. Oh please, I thought. Don’t even get me started. The only thing foul about this game was the line from which it was won. Not our behavior.

After much debate, and a great deal of sharing my own experiences with Georgetown fans, we agreed that both teams, and probably all teams in the Big East, are just equally as competitive and obnoxious at times, as they are all so passionate about their own teams.

I think the term “Hoya” finally served a purpose this weekend, as the basis for our sign, which read (I’ll remind you again): “YOUR MOM IS A HO-YA.” It’s pretty hilarious seeing everything people are saying about the way we celebrated and composed ourselves after the game. But I don’t even care to fight back anymore. All I have to say to them is this: I drove six hours from Syracuse just to see that game. Yes, I was going to dance in the streets when we won.


SU spirit

Fine article Allie. The SU spirit is strong wherever SU plays. I was proud to hear the Lets Go Orange over the TV. The NY market truly are home games at MSG, Seton Hall, St Johns and Rutgers but it was impressive of the SU crowd especially the students traveling 6 hours to GTown.
Your article brings many memories back when we were students 35 years ago.

Go Orange! Beat Nova!

Go Cuse

Allie. Your energy is contagious!I love reading your articles....... and smiling! You are the best! And don't your mom is your greatest fan!!! Go Orange!! Susie

Gtown goes Down

I love it! Literally perfect!

Good job love.

ur gunna be famous one day,

ur gunna be famous one day, soon enough!

Your momma's a ho-ya

Love the hyphenation. Could be the new standard. And Hoyettes...hysterical.

your article is hilarious

your article is hilarious allie! great perspective on the game. keep writing!

Love the sign!!

Allie - your dad passed along your article. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it!! Hilarious! Glad you got out of enemy lines safely.


su article by Allie berkowitz

excellent article Allie , you are a real journalist!!!!

Miracle on F Street

It takes a lot of guts to walk into enemy territory, but it's sounds like this author is all always up for an adventure, especially when it comes to her Syracuse Boys!

A true die hard fan, Allie Berkowitz represents her school with enthusiasm and amazing spirit.

Love her writing, look forward to more articles.

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