So if you aren’t a basketball fan, you might not know but IT IS BASKETBALL SEASON! The buzz filled the air as game time started to get closer. Student Government was handing out the annual Gold Rush Shirts and the Green Machine started a new tradition. Tailgating before the first game. The usual problem with the basketball season is that it is during winter and it is either raining, snowy, windy, miserable, or all of the above. So tailgating is usually not appealing. However, last Friday, we had great weather and the atmosphere was perfect. The associate director and a green machine alum were on the grill, people we throwing frisbee, and there was some cornhole. What an amazing way to start off the season. As the game drew near, the tailgate broke up as we headed to the Patriot Center. After spending the week hearing about how the game was sold out and how Mason had never beaten UVA before, I was ready to get it started. I am a big fan of what Coach Paul Hewitt has done with the team and this season is going to be a great one for Mason. As the pregame clock ticked down, I made my ritualistic trip to the mirror to apply my war paint. It has started getting more elaborate as the years have gone on. Originally, it was something that I was inspired to do by some older guys in Phi Mu Alpha and the Green Machine. It started off as one half of my face as green and the other as gold. Now, It involves my face criss-crossed with different lines and swirls that are different for each game. The painting puts me in the right mindset for the game, wild and intense. So in this mood, I wondered back down to my seat and got prepared to play. Doc came out and soon we played the Fight Song for the first time this year. It went well and the basketball team warmed up and headed back into the tunnel for the real deal. After a few months waiting and a painful last 30 minutes, we played THE pump up song, Krypton. In 2006, during our final four run, one of the announcers called us a superman killer so thus Krypton. It is slow and cinematic, building up to when the siren goes off and the team runs out.
The games started and although there were somethings we obviously need to work on, three-point defense and shooting foul shots, we kept pace with UVA. There were just a few seconds left and we tried to set up a play to get the ball to a high percentage shooter. That failed, however we did get the ball to Marko Gujanicic, a freshman from Serbia, who drained a crazy three from NBA distance. Those three points put us ahead a half-time and the crowd went nuts. As the second half came along, the Green Machine played a staple of all GMU basketball games, Livin’ On A Prayer. This song was the truth, the game stayed tight throughout the rest of the second half. The lead switched multiple times and the atmosphere got more tense. The student section went wild every time Mason scored or had a great defensive stand. Confetti everywhere, dancing in the stands, screaming their lungs out. My voice was gone as the game entered its final minutes. Stress rippled through the audience as every shot became the most important one. Finally, a three point lead for Mason. A foul. Two drained free throws. The Buzzer. Mason beat UVA for the first time ever. The Patriot Center Erupted. The Fight Song Blared. The Season starts.