In 2004, I Cheered for St. Joe’s in the Elite Eight From My Villanova Apartment

Photo: Philadelphia Inquirer

Photo: Philadelphia Inquirer

Caution: I’m about to make sense.

I have a confession to make. In the late winter and early spring of 2001, I drove around with two St. Joe’s stickers on my silver Jetta. One was a basketball sticker.

It was my senior year of high school and I had a partial scholarship to go to St. Joe’s. Since I hadn’t yet heard back from Villanova and my best friend was already committed to attend Hawk Hill, I enrolled at St. Joe’s. Sent a check and everything (well, my parents did). I was in. I was a Hawk. LET’S GO ST. JOE’S!*

And then I got in to Villanova. No scholarship. No housing. Commuter status. So I had a decision: go to St. Joe’s and live with my good friend, or go to Villanova, be put on a waiting list for housing, and cost my parents more money?

I managed to piss off both my friend and my parents with my decision. And myself. It took two and a half months before a dorm room opened up… at an auxiliary Villanova dorm at Harcum College two miles down Montgomery Ave.

But I stuck to my guns. I went to Villanova. The St. Joe’s stickers came off, the Villanova stickers went on. I bought a Villanova sweatshirt and a visor. I was a Main Line douchebag. But I didn’t hate St. Joe’s.

This is a big topic on the radio today– can you root for another Big 5 school if you went to a Big 5 school?

Yes, you can.

You see, there was nothing hypocritical or John Kerry about my sticker change. I had gone to Villanova games growing up, but spent much of high school rooting for St. Joe’s, when they were relatively good with Marvin O’Connor. I didn’t quite grasp the fact that my college decision would require me to hate the Hawks with every fiber of my being. I liked both schools. Temple, too. I was a sports fan from Delaware County.

Over time I grew to detest St. Joe’s, many of their fans and Phil Martelli. I still kind of think Phil is a jackass who is insanely butthurt that Villanova has stolen the spotlight that was available to him and his team after their run in 2004. But my Philly fandom has always trumped my Nova fandom. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I’d consider Villanova my favorite sports team, but when it comes to choosing whether to root for or against St. Joe’s or Temple in a none-Nova matchup, I always choose to root for, without fail (though I sometimes revel in their misery… strictly for trash-talking purposes).

In 2004, I sat in an apartment at Villanova with said friend who went to (but didn’t quite make it through) St. Joe’s. We were under our chairs when Pat Carroll forgot to defend John Lucas’ three-pointer and Jameer Nelson’s turn-around jumper fell short. I felt the same gut-sickness I feel when every other Philly team fails. It wasn’t as strong as it usually is, but it was there. It was similar to how I felt when Smarty Jones lost the Triple Crown a few months later. All this after a two-year stretch during which St. Joe’s owned Nova and twice embarrassed them.

Around that time I remember calling in to WIP – I think it was Anthony Gargano and Glen Macnow – and answering this very question. I explained that I was a 20-year-old from Springfield, Delaware County who went to Villanova but chose to root for St. Joe’s in the tournament. It was for the greater good. Maybe I was a little green at that point and not nearly as cynical as I am now, 10 years later, but I still have the same opinion. I will root as hard as I possibly can for Villanova to embarrass St. Joe’s if they play on Saturday. I will want them to destroy that stupid hawk. 104-64 would be a great score. But should St. Joe’s win? I’ll swallow my pride, hop on board and root for one of the teams I rooted for growing up in the Sweet 16 next week. The same way I rooted for La Salle last year.

And that’s why my Everyone Hates Villanova post last week was written with such hostility. Most fans and alumni of other Big 5 schools don’t feel the same way toward Villanova. Their misplaced anger has nothing to do with the current team. It has to do with the people who attend Nova, Rollie Massimino and the fact that Villanova is located on the Main Line, outside of the city. No one seems to hold this against the Union, however. Or Smarty Jones, for that matter. Nay. They hold it against Villanova despite the fact that the coach is incredibly likable and the team has been arguably the second most successful in Philly sports over the last 10 years. That’s the wrong choice. So let loose this month, Big Fivers. Root like hell for your team. And if they lose… then root for the other Philly team. There’s no harm in that.

*Writing that did cause me to gag, however.

61 Comments

  1. shoutout to springfield!

    • F*cking Screenprints

      March 17, 2014 at 5:54 pm

      “I cost my parents a lot of money…” That sentence alone makes me sick. At least now you’re making it up to them by embarassing yourself in a public forum.

      So by your rationale, Kyle, we should all become Penguins fans if the Flyers are eliminated from the playoffs? They are from the same state, after all. I say B.S. Rivals are rivals and I will always root against a rival of my teams. F Nova.

  2. Transferring spring semester that year to go to Neumann was just awesome…..

  3. Irish Rollie McMassimino

    March 17, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    That 2004 game was so long ago, Martelli had hair.

    Just kiddin’.

    Enough with the St. Joe’s apologist prose. No one really gives a hair on Martelli’s head that you sorta kinda like the Hawks.

    The reason people turned against Nova is because of me, Rollie. I tried to break up the Big Five, and from that moment on, Villanova has been “persona non gratas” to true hoops traditionalists.

    And I trained that red-headed fuck Harry Booth, too, and he betrayed me by going to coach the Hawks. People forget he was the last St. Joe’s coach to have hair.

    • ^^ I’m sure Kyle isn’t even aware of Rollie’s moves.

      Also Kyle, Temple has won their conference and been to the tournament more times than Villanova in the last 10 years. And I couldn’t figure out how to look it up but I’d bet we’ve got a winning record against you losers in the last 10 years. Nova isn’t even the best college bball team in the city the last decade, you moron.

      • Since 2005 Villanova has been to NCAA tournament 8 times, and Temple has been there 6 times. Sorry Fran

      • Irish Rollie McMassimino

        March 17, 2014 at 6:42 pm

        Hey, Dunph……since 2004-2005, Nova has won 6 times and Temple 4 in head-to-head.

        Temple in 12-13, 11-12, 09-10, and 04-05.

        Nova in 13-14, 10-11, 08-09, 07-08, 06-07, and 05-06.

        And if you can’t figure out how to look it up, don’t post it.

        Geez. You must have gone to LaSalle or something.

      • One and Done-phy

        March 17, 2014 at 6:48 pm

        This from a guy whose career NCAA tourney coaching record is 3-15.

  4. Well said, as a Delco native who went to Villanova as well I don’t understand the hate. I root for St Joes and all the Big 5 when they aren’t playing Villanova. My grandfather graduated from St. Joes. I applied to the school as well but went with Nova. The idea that I would openly root against them is ridiculous. I don’t understand why people openly root against Villanova. Its bizarre. Its like hey look at me Im cool because I hate a local university, I think that they think that they are better than me. The ones with the unfounded hatred are basically just separating themselves from the university and doing the same thing that they are criticizing Villanova for supposedly doing. If Villanova loses to St. Joes somehow, I will root for them in the rest of the tournament. My fandom of Philadelphia sports is by far more important than any local rivalry could ever be.

  5. No one fucking cares anymore. You let a bunch of idiots bait you into writing multiple pieces about this “issue”. And its annoying. Becsuse its not an issue to anyone but you and idiot trolls.

  6. “phil is butthurt that Villanova stole the spotlight after 2004.” The funny thing is, I don’t think Villanova stole spotlight, nor do they even have the spotlight right now. I’m not saying St. Joes does, or any other team in the Big 5, and that’s just the problem. villanova thinks that the rest of the country is aware of who they are and how great their bball team is. There’s no excitement for ‘Nova outside of ‘Nova. Why is that? Rollie killed the Big 5, and no one in the city can relate to trust fund babies. ‘Nova is on the main line, and it’s just not a city school. They don’t get any of the blue-collar love, they don’t have a Jameer Nelson or Tyrone Garland, or Khalif Wyatt, who sold out for their teams. What the city got behind in that SJU team in ’03-’04 was their hustle, work ethic, and teamwork. Whether justified or not, ‘Nova will never get that because of their main line status. Whether it’s fair or not, the fact that Jay Wright dresses like a “main line, i’m better than you,” guy, and is in a Dove commercial, just puts fuel on the fire. I know Jay is a great guy, brought ‘Nova back into the Big5, does a ton of great things in the community, but it’s almost too little too late.

    • Irish Rollie McMassimino

      March 17, 2014 at 5:24 pm

      Neither Jameer Nelson or Khalif Wyatt were from Philly, by the way.

      But, I’m splitting hairs (not Martelli’s, though.)

      On the bright side, you are spot on when you echo my sentiments that I tried to whack the Big Five, like Jimmy Conway in Goodfellas.

      (Martelli shoulda went to Maury’s wigs.)

      • I’m pretty sure just about everyone from Norristown and Chester say they are “from Philly,” so I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make with that.

        I’m all for rooting for any of the Philly teams because I’m “from Philly” but, having not attended one of the big 5 schools, as a somewhat neutral observer, I can see how people’s perception is that Nova is not blue collar and gritty like the other schools (Penn gets a pass cause it’s actually located in the city, but I don’t see them as blue collar and gritty either).

        • I love the Nova hate / not blue collar argument. As if the St. Joe’s student body isn’t whitewashed, suburbanite kids also. Re: hustle, yeah Kyle Lowry wasn’t known to drive the lane and get contact a lot, either. Just a three point specialist.

    • Dookie Poopbutt

      March 17, 2014 at 5:43 pm

      Exactly!

  7. If *your* Philly team is out, why would you NOT root for whatever other Philly team(s) is still alive in the tourney?

    If you can’t root for the home team, at least root for the team from your home, right?

    • F*cking Screenprints

      March 17, 2014 at 5:57 pm

      So you will be rooting for the Penguins if the Flyers are eliminated? They’re from your ‘home’ state.

      • Keep chirping that stupid analogy. The schools are in the same city. Pittsburgh is 300 miles away from here. Lame comparison.

        • F*cking Screenprints

          March 17, 2014 at 6:20 pm

          Rivals are rivals. Would you expect a Mets fan to root for the Yankees in the World Series?

          • While I’m enjoying my PTO right now for this glorious holiday, all I can think of when it checked this comment thread was how bad I want you to get hit by a car, you horse’s ass.

          • At least you went for two teams from the same city instead of the same 45,000 sq mile state this time. I actually don’t agree nor disagree with Kyle about rooting for another city school, but I just wanted to point out how stupid your Flyers-Pens schtick was.

        • Villanova is not in Philadelphia. It’s mostly rich suburb kids and dickheads from New York and New England. One thing Kyle said was true, actual Philadelphians don’t like Nova because of the people who go to the school. The attitude of “my shit doesn’t stink” that comes from Nova grads is disgusting and turned me off from being a fan.

  8. Shit on Debra's Desk

    March 17, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    Enough with the “why don’t people like Villanova?” whining… one word: elitists. Get over it.

    I absolutely LOVE this line:
    “No one seems to hold this against the Union, however.” … The Union? Really? If they played in CC people still wouldn’t give a shit about them. If it wasn’t for a headline on philly.com today I wouldn’t even have known their season started…

    • Fucking this.

      The Union is an attempt an Euro soccer in the states, and not too many people give a fuck. 3 people on My Fb and twitter feed talk about them. 2 of them are fat chicks and one is a guy who just loves soccer.

      Just stop. Everyone. Great we have a soccer team. They deserve the same level of attention the phantoms got when they played here.

  9. Dookie Poopbutt

    March 17, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    Phil is not butthurt about Jay Wright’s success. He, like most Philly hoops fans, hold a grudge against Villanova because Villanova ruined the Big 5. If you really want to understand – right or wrong – why so many Philly fans dislike Villanova, then address that issue. The Big 5 was a source of tremendous pride for Philly sports fans. Villanova, Rollie in particular, chose to sever ties with the Big 5, which basically ruined it. You can certainly argue about whether or not the rest of the city *should* resent Villanova for doing so, but the fact is a lot of people still do resent Nova for this, and that – not “butthurt” over Jay Wright’s success – is why. In fact, when Nova supporters like you refuse to address the real issue and instead call the rest of the city “butthurt”, that’s not really helping you repair your image in the city.

  10. Were you drinking while watching the game?

  11. Phil Martelli's Dove Commercial

    March 17, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    “I’m Phil Martelli, and I’m comfortable in my own skin.”

    “Especially on the top of my head.”

  12. UPenn is the best school in the state…..

  13. Villanova is the second most successful Philadelphia team of the last decade? The Eagles and the Flyers both went to their sports respective championships. And, to a lesser extent, the Soul and Phantoms (professional teams, mind you) have actually won their respective championships. Sorry, but even saying they’re “arguably” the second most successful is a stretch.

  14. Wait a damn minute!!!……YOU drove a silver jetta???

  15. Kyle Scott, you and I live parallel lives. Grew up a die-hard Hawk fan, the son of an alumni. I crumbled on my living room floor as an 8 year-old when Jameer missed that jumper. I’m a freshman at Nova this year off the waitlist, living in the attic of the last available housing unit on campus. Had every intention of living on Hawk Hill until mid-summer. Deposit was down and everything (crazy, even had a partial scholarship). My allegiance still bleeds through too. If by beating incredible odds and knocking off Nova in the second (third) round, I wouldn’t feel any sorrow. That game would be a win-win for me.

    But seriously, been reading this blog since 09 and had a bit of an identity crisis reading this post.

  16. KylesMomsABitch

    March 17, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    Lol!!! Good call passing up a partial scholly, and going to school with your best friend. Instead you spent $150k to become a blogger that sells t-shirts…….

  17. Kyle, you’re not understaing the basic concept. Why do some people hate the Cowboys? Because of their fans. Not the team – they’ve been irrelevant for two decades. Same thing with Nova. Not really that complicated.

  18. I’m with you Kylie , no racial undertones there. Go St Joes ( I’m a Temple grad ). Thanks I feel better already. FUCK NOVA

  19. I used to like Phil Martelli until he got a too full of himself. Going on WIP and critiquing Andy Reid’s coaching was just the last straw. Excuse me? A college basketball coach who has never been further than the Elite 8 and has missed the tournament the last 6 years is going to question Andy Reid’s coaching ability?

    • Pool Cue Head Phil Martelli

      March 17, 2014 at 8:31 pm

      Andy Reid, arguably, might be uglier than me.

      That gives me carte blanche (I phrase I learned at Bishop Kenrick) to bust his fat balls.

  20. Steve from KOP

    March 17, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    Fatboy Josh Innes on WIP just ripped 97.5 to shreds(LOL).

    • Chance-VP of the GnA Falcons

      March 17, 2014 at 9:03 pm

      1st time I listened to Josh’s show tonight. Dude is actually entertaining. I’ve never listened before because of all the negative talk about him

      • Most of the negative comments come from those haters at 97.5.

        I tell you what I’d rather listen to Josh Innes over that bald-headed moron Nick Kayal and btw while the fanatic broadcasts shitty Sixer games Josh Innes is making a name for himself at night on WIP.

        • Haha I loved when 97.5 made a big deal about them stealing the sixers from wip.
          Best move ever for wip

          • Agreed the fanatic backed the wrong horse in the Sixers,they stink so it was addition by subtraction for WIP.

            97.5 is a joke,filled with WIP rejects like Mike Missanelli,who was fired for beating up a producer,and Brian Startare who joined 97.5 thinking he would get more air tme,only to be reduced to 1 day a week(moron).

    • I like Innes. Hes a jerk but he doesnt talk down to you like Missanelli does. He acknowledges people dont like him and his approach is whatever. Missanelli insults fans and coworkers daily. I didnt hear what he said about 97.5 tonight though. Anyone have a link or just wanna give a recap on what he said?

      97.5 is terrible now. All their hosts are so arrogant and cocky because they are on the radio. It started with Mike Miss but now that his ex-producers got their own show, they have followed in his footsteps. And my god, can someone tell Mayes to shut up about his stupid gambling picks. Noone out there cares that you made a correct pick on a pointless NBA or NCAA game.

  21. @kingofbluebell

    March 17, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Grew up as a huge Nova fan and always went to games because my grandfather was a professor there. Became a Joe’s fan when my oldest brother went there. And became a Temple fan when I enrolled there. I root for all Big 5 teams unless they play Temple. As should you.

  22. I kill you Calipari

    March 17, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    Kyle, you went to Villanova? Who knew?!

  23. rhea huges worn out twat

    March 17, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    is there a bigger dweesh than kyle scott?

  24. I always knew you were a Springfield Wang. Are you one of those whiny liberal complainers at DelcoTimes as well?

  25. “Was” a douche bag. That’s funny.

  26. Cunnalingus Rice

    March 18, 2014 at 8:10 am

    I’m from Lansdale, PA and I’m a huge Nova fan. I fell in love in the mid 90’s watching Kerry Kittles, Tim Thomas and Alvin Williams led by head coach Steve Lapas….I eventually went to Etown college in central PA, but stayed loyal to my boys on the main line. Finally in 2002 the dream recruiting class came in thus elevating my fandom even more. I eventually bought a Curtis Sumpter jersey and still rock it proud to this day. With that said, I still root for the city six (is Drexel even a real school?) unless they are playing nova. This city needs more championships and more unity. One thing we can all agree on – Duke losing in the first round to Mercer. Enjoy the games everyone.

  27. Excellent post. I am older (MUCH OLDER) than you. Grew up in South Jersey loving the Big 5 when it was still the Big 5. My favs were Penn & Nova to watch as a kid, but loved them all. I ended up going to Villanova where, as you did, I learned to really hate St. Joes and Temple too at that time. Anyway, when it comes to tournament time, I’m with you. Villanova, of course, is far and away first in line. But I also root hard for any other Big 5 team (and Drexel) when they’re playing.

  28. Steve Lappas is on Linkedin

    March 18, 2014 at 8:49 am

    All these assholes who comment that didnt go to a big 5 school can eat shit. Ohh and if you went to LaSalle you can eat shit too, you’re an embarassment where’s cousin Bern this year?!

    • What is the rationale for being an embarassment if you went to La Salle? Just because they didn’t build off of last year’s run? I actually don’t understand how Ramon Galloway can mean that much to the team since they were terrible this year. Blame Doc G’s coaching and offseason preparations if anything.

      Or is this some lame failed attempt at just ripping the school in general? Given my current career, I can guarantee that my education has served me much better than wherever you went to school.

  29. Yellow King's GF/Sister

    March 18, 2014 at 10:04 am

    I went to Penn and root for all of the Big 5 schools in the tourney but that’s probably because Penn sucks since Dunph left.

  30. “but when it comes to choosing whether to root for or against St. Joe’s or Temple in a none-Nova matchup, I always choose to root for, without fail (though I sometimes revel in their misery… strictly for trash-talking purposes).”

    Care to finish this sentence? I’m assuming St. Joe’s?

  31. Great story, Kyle. Forget the Nova haters. They’re in full force this year for some reason, but they will all find out soon what kind of team this is.

    Funny enough, your story is very similar to mine. I was accepted to St. Joe’s and had my deposit sent when Nova finally got back with their acceptance and aid package. I forfeited the deposit with St. Joe’s and went to Nova instead. I must have graduated a year before you (2004), but I too distinctly remember rooting for St. Joe’s in the ’04 Tourney.

    This was the year before Nova went on their run with Foye, Ray, Nardi, Lowry, etc. I wanted to support the Big 5 and since I no longer had a horse in the race. I never really bought into the Holy War nonsense. Sure, I always want Nova to destroy St. Joe’s but that’s the same with any other opponent. I find no issue with rooting for St. Joe’s, Temple, Penn, LaSalle, or Drexel when they are not playing Villanova. To actively root against the Philly teams when they don’t affect your own squad is just petty and stupid.

  32. Harcum Parcum and Farcum!!!!!!!!!

  33. No one cares.
    Maybe you can write a post about why Villanova alums looks so awkward when they tuck their shirts into their jeans.

  34. Phil Martelli's player beating son

    March 17, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Fu

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