Monday, April 18, 2016

Villanova......Party Like It's 1985!

Bruce Springsteen, Madonna
Way before Nirvana
There was U2 and Blondie
And music still on MTV
Her two kids in high school
They tell her that she’s uncool
Cause she's still preoccupied
With 19, 19, 1985

Some of the lyrics above are from a song performed by "Bowling for Soup" back in 2004.  Villanova basketball's recent run to the Final Four and to the 2016 NCAA Championship conjured up some memories from the magic run in 1985 and the "Perfect Game" against Georgetown in a 66-64 thriller. This writer was a freshman at Villanova living in St. Mary's in the spring of 1985. 

So many things have been written about the basketball and sports side of this story.  I will leave that part to the pro's.  Remembering the team and Coach Mass vividly, the only things that are similar between 1985 and 2016 is both are champions and both have created a family atmosphere on the team. While I was beginning to have doubts about the 4-guard system, all doubt has been buried deep.

Roughly around the time the team made it to the Final Four in Houston, someone created a Villanova Class of 1988 page on Facebook.  Not only were classmates able to share memories from that magic March in 1985, but were also to renew old and make some new friendships.  Even though most of us were not on the team or involved with the team's operation, April 1st united us forever.  No matter where our lives traveled around the globe after graduation, April 1st, 1985 taught us that anything can be achieved doing it the right way. 

With interaction and banter exchanged during the week leading up to the championship, it was nice to read several classmates had children who were freshmen in 2016.  The table was set to pass the torch to a new generation of Villanovans and bring out the pride and emotions of generations past.  Seeing news reports on television and reading stories in the newspaper, it was like reliving 1985 again.  Most people in 1985 said they could not believe what Wildcats have achieved.

I was looking for something leaning our way for the championship. First, I thought maybe Jay and Rollie were the same age when they won their championships.  Jay at 54 has four years on Rollie's age 50 in 1985.  I read a story about the number "44" being part championship. For my point of view, the number 31 played big.  Big Five team LaSalle won in '54.  Villanova won 31 years later in 1985.  31 years later in 2016, it was the Wildcats.  Our only scholarship play in the Class of 1988 wore jersey #31.  Finally, I went to one game this season.  Villanova beat Xavier at home by 31 on December 31, 2015.  We don't know what the college basketball landscape will look like in 2047, but I will go on record not to rule out the Wildcats.

Rollie now has Jay.  Eddie has "Archie."  1985 has embraced 2016.  1985 has the "Perfect Game." 2016 has "The Shot" and the dominating run.  Classes of  '85, '86, '87, and '88 are now joined by '16, '17, '18, and '19 with championships being the foundation to bridge the generations.  Like we remember April 1st, 1985, April 4th 2016 will never be forgotten.  For Villanovans everywhere, those days are ours and no one can take them away.