By AARON BRACY
Ending the season on Saturday night wasn’t what Villanova fans had hoped for, but the Wildcats’ loss to UConn made some supporters of rival schools giddy.
And so it is in the Big 5 circa 2014. Thanks to message boards and social media, primarily, there is a new level of “hate” apparent between some fans of the rival Philadelphia schools.
And it’s fans’ rights to feel the way they want about their school and rivalries regardless of what some sportswriter says. So, let’s get that out there.
But it’s my feeling that the Big 5 is a unique collaboration of schools, a special family that should be treasured and supported. For me, it’s like the sports rivalry with your brother: You want to beat your brother, but don’t want anyone else to beat him.
For some Big 5 fans, though, it seems as if they are happier to see a rival school lose than see their own school have success.
I heard that some St. Joe’s fans, upset at their opening-round loss to UConn, booed when Villanova players entered the court on Thursday night. If true, this is just sad.
I know some fans with the hashtag #thwnd and #tumbb, particularly, delighted in the Wildcats’ demise on Saturday night. Throughout the season, some similar sentiments came from #lasallembb toward one of its rivals. Some from #NovaNation took delight in Temple’s struggles this season. (Penn backers seem to be having enough problems with their own house to get involved in all of this.)
And so it goes.
There is good reason for some of this dislike, particularly toward Villanova. Tired of losing to Philadelphia rivals, the Wildcats looked for ways out of the Big 5 in the 1980’s and the partial round-robin was born. Temple doesn’t seem get its share in the blame, but the Owls administration was complicit in the coup as well.
That’s history, though. It’s 2014. Time to move on. Current Cats coach Jay Wright has been an avid supporter of the Big 5 since his arrival on the Main Line, embracing the rivalries, traditions and history. Surely, Wright wants to beat everyone in the Big 5, but he has done nothing but support the other four schools when they are not playing Nova.
It says here that it’s time for fans to do the same.
-Thank you: Villanova’s loss to UConn capped another regular season of Philadelphia college basketball. It also ended the fourth season of in-season coverage by Philahoops.
What began in a Newport, R.I. hotel on a December morning in 2010 has turned into something special, and it’s has been a real joy to provide coverage of Drexel, La Salle, Penn, Saint Joseph’s, Temple and Villanova for the last four seasons.
Philahoops would be nothing without people visiting the site, so I sincerely would like you to thank you for reading our stories, interacting on Twitter and Facebook, and saying hello at games. Your interest and passion keep the site going.
Due to family and work commitments, I had to take a bit of a step back in the second half of this season. Thanks to the hard work of Kevin Rossi (Drexel), Joe Fedorowicz (La Salle/tech), Adam Booth (Penn), James Hill (Saint Joseph’s), Chase Senior (Temple) and Mike Angelina (Villanova) the site kept going strong.
I’d also like to thank Laurie Dougherty, Aaron Coleman, Rich Fogel, Kyle Babcock, John Healey, Kurt Gies and Brian McBeth for their contributions to the site this season.
Additionally, I’d like to thank the sports information directors for assisting us with coverage and answering my many emails and questions.
Our coverage does not end with the final whistle of 2013-14, but likely will be more sporadic. If you don’t already, follow @Philahoops on Twitter and like Philahoops on Facebook (Facebook.com/Philahoops) to keep up with our coverage.
Again, thanks for your readership. It has been our pleasure.
And here’s hoping for many more seasons of coverage of Philadelphia college basketball from Philahoops!
-Aaron Bracy is the founder of Philahoops.com. Follow on Twitter: @Aaron_Bracy