SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

McNamara's Band

Maybe it's something about Pennsylvanians. Or maybe it's something about people from small cities. But no matter how you categorize it, it's neat. It takes you back to the days when there were only seven channels on your television if you lived in an urban market and probably many fewer if you did not. It takes you back to the days when it was very hard to see your favorite team or players play on television, because they just didn't televise that many games. It takes you back to the days when people traveled serious distances to go to games because in order to find out what was going on you just had to be there.

What is it? It's the phenomenon surrounding Syracuse's star guard, Gerry McNamara, the pride of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Read the linked article, and enjoy the excitement of a hometown as its citizens travel on buses (50 of them) to watch Gerry McNamara play in a recent home game at Syracuse.

That's right, 50 busloads. In the dead of winter. From a region that hasn't had a ton to cheer for in the past quarter century.

Perhaps that's why this kid is so special to people from his hometown. And what makes the whole situation even more special is that the kid recognizes how unique and special this situation is.

I like the games of Syracuse's star power forward Hakim Warrick and Gerry McNamara, and I appreciate how special they are as players. Warrick could have been a lottery pick in last year's draft but stayed in school, and while he's a little short in stature to play the four he makes up for it in skills and heart. And McNamara -- to call him a throwback would be to say that he's all heart without the skills, and that would be just plain wrong. The kid can flat out play. I have been critical of Syracuse's scheduling in prior posts, but that's a different issue. The Orange have some great kids on their team.

Certainly worth the $55 charge and 50 busloads of people making a long busride on a school night to see a hometown hero play.

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