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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

March 24, 2007

such rocks – “what the hell’s a hoya?”

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 3:50 pm

   haiku update (noon, March 25, 2007): In case you thought only males wrote haiku and senryu about March Madness, please scroll down to the poems that Roberta Beary sent over our e-transome early this morning.  You’ll find her game-winning three-pointers at the foot of this post.

GUJackMugG  Jack the Bulldog is the mascot of the sports teams at my college alma mater Georgetown University. The last time you saw Jack’s image at this website, I was complaining about Florida’s ban on the use of a pit bull logo by motorcycle lawyers Pape & Chandler.  Similarly, the last discussion of NCAA basketball here at f/k/a, concerned the antitrust implications of the NCAA purchasing the NIT (plus an explanation of why nonprofit organizations might seek to eliminate competition).  Frankly, I’m not much of a sports fan (except for good basketball and baseball haiku), and was even going to spare you my usual lament over the flood of cliches that comes this time every year, e.g., “March Madness” and “The Big Dance” (which is not to be confused with this big dance).

          But, no son of Georgetown with a weblog could possibly fail to mention the play of this year’s Hoya team, so far, in the NCAA Division I basketball championship tournament.  As the news media is reporting today, Georgetown beat Vanderbuilt last night [66 to 65] to advance to the regional final [“Elite Eight”] for the first time since 1996. See  “Hoyas past is becoming present,” New York Times, by John Branch (March 24, 2007); “Money on the Bank,” Washington Post, by Camille Powell, March 24, 2007.  Even I watched the last three minutes of this exciting game, in which the “Heart-attack Hoyas” pulled out another last-moment victory. My BBall-crazy friends tell me that the Hoyas have given fans some of the best collegiate games of the year the past couple of weeks.  [update: 9 PM Sunday: Congratulations to the Hoyas on making it to the Final Four. They sure made it interesting. See “Georgetown Gets Revenge on UNC 96 to 84,” Raleigh Chronicle, March 25, 2007]

That’s enough sports-talk for me — except to note (via that this is the 100th Season of intercollegiate basketball at Georgetown (many of which were quite dreadful, until the coming of the first John Thompson and Patrick Ewing). 

bballGuys However, you deserve the usual portion of punditry and poetry before you leave today.  The poetry is below, from a few of our Honored Guest Poets.  For punditry, I want to point you to Skip Sauer’s discussion of wasted office time spent on NCAA tournament brackets, in “March Madness & the Hype Machine” (March 19, 2007), at The Sports Economist weblog.  For interesting but largely useless information, I am going to answer the question often asked by fans of opposing teams, “What the hell’s a Hoya?”  The story that I have heard and believed for forty years [except for the supposed meaning of “rocks” given below] can be found at Wikipedia:

What is a Hoya?

The University admits that the precise origin of the term “Hoya” is unknown. The official story is that at some point before 1920, students well-versed in the classical languages invented the Greek hoia or hoya, meaning “what” or “such”, and the Latin saxa, to form “What Rocks!” Depending on who tells the story, the “rocks” either refer to the baseball team, which was nicknamed the “Stonewalls” after the Civil War, to the stalwart defense of the football team, or to the stone wall that surrounded the campus.

GUBBall  In 1920, students began publishing the campus’s first regular newspaper under the name The Hoya, after successfully petitioning Rev. Coleman Nevils, S.J., Dean of the College, to change the name of the young paper, which was originally to be known as The Hilltopper. By the fall of 1928, the newspaper had taken to referring to the sports teams (then called the Hilltoppers in reference to Georgetown’s geography) as the Hoyas. Dean Nevils’s former school, College of the Holy Cross, also refers to the term “Hoya” in one of its fight songs, as does a third Jesuit school, Marquette University.  Big East and other opponents, whose schools tend to have more concrete nicknames, have long used “What’s a Hoya?” as a chant to mock Georgetown.

Now, turn down that game, and enjoy haiku and senryu about basketball, from Ed Markowski and a few other f/k/a friends: 

Manhattan  ballHoopF
the shadow of a skyscraper falls across
the basketball court

long rebound
crossing mid-court
she crosses my mind
Indiana farm
one tractor
three hoops
calligraphy class
the point guard
pens a nike swoosh

city moon
my basketball flattened
by a shard of glass

stiff march wind
the sound
of an airball

game winning shot
the big man
palms my head

……………………….. by ed markowski   BBallGuysN
the bounce
of raindrops
on the basketball
….. by w.f. owen – Frogpond XXIII:3 (2000)
boy shooting baskets–
deep snow piled
all around him
……. by lee gurga from Fresh Scent
the ten-year-old
lets dad win
…………. by dagosan
game over
men turn to leave
the tv department
………………….. by John Stevenson  – Upstate Dim Sum  (2004/I)
HaigaHoopViewM  [click for original]
the view
from the sofa –
April madness
. . . haiga by Arthur Giacalone (photo) & David Giacalone (poem);
HaigaOnline Issue 7-2 (Autumn-Winter 2006), intro page


sunglassesG    update:(March 25, 2007): No haijin covers gender wars the way Roberta Beary can.  Inspired by this posting last night, she turned her focus on the NCAA basketball tournament — no fouls or double-dribbles here:

march madness
his team slam dunks
our date


march madness   bballGuys
he enters my bedroom
to check the score


march madness
he tells me his fantasy


march madness
he fits me in


 . . by Roberta Beary   BearyRoberta  







  1. one on one…
    she dares me to show her
    my vertical leap

    good stuff roberta

    Comment by ed markowski — March 25, 2007 @ 9:23 pm

  2. good stuff pal,
    i was always wondering how to increase my vertical leap,
    this article have shown me the right way,
    does rope skipping also help to increase vertical leap?
    keep up the good work,

    [Ed. Note: This is an example of Comment Spam. I’ve removed the links to the products being advertised to discourage such Comments here at f/k/a.]

    Comment by vertical leap — March 14, 2008 @ 12:57 am

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