It's about an hour
before tip and both teams are in the Patriot Center, but the pregame
festivities started well before Thursday afternoon...
There was the Green Machine, playing from their vast
collection of songs to entertain the early-arriving crowd. The popcorn and
sodas were flying out of the concession stands as fans prepared to settle into
their seats. Mason players had emerged from the locker room to get up some
pre-game shots. Media had arrived, the Patriot Club hospitality room was abuzz,
and it appeared the stage was set for another action-packed Wednesday night of
Except instead of Doc Nix, it was junior Ryan Pearson
conducting the band while the New York native danced along to "Empire State of
Mind." And spotted in the concession stand line was Pearson's classmate, Mike
Morrison, ready to grab some popcorn. Up in the stands, freshman Jonathan
Arledge was practicing his stroke from the concourse portal entrances high in
the seating bowl.
This was anything but an ordinary night at the Patriot
As you are aware, the snowstorm which walloped the D.C.
region on Wednesday afternoon brought traffic to a gridlocked halt, and among
them was the Towson team bus. When it became clear the Tigers were not going to
make it to the arena in a timely manner, the decision was made to postpone the
game to Thursday afternoon.
Mason's players hung around the locker room for a few more
minutes before it became clear they could safely make their way back to the
dorms across campus. The brave fans who had trekked through the snow also
departed, but left among those in attendance were a number of athletic
department staffers who were in no position to attempt to navigate the
traffic-choked roads around Fairfax.
These are their stories.
Well, nothing nearly as dramatic as you might see on a
prime-time TV drama, but there was plenty of action at the arena late in the
night and the GoMason Blog was there to take in the sights and sounds.
Mason public address announcer John Rodock, mired in
gridlock on Main Street in Fairfax, decided to abandon his car earlier in the
evening and walk the three miles through the snow. He arrived and looked no
worse for the wear. Others who were coming from on- and off-campus scrambled to
get there by any means necessary, with trips from the Field House taking more
than an hour to get to the Patriot Center.
Once the game had been postponed, the consensus was to ride it out
inside the warm and dry 10,000-seat arena.
Radio man Bill Rohland wisely had packed a deck of playing
cards, and so he took on members of the Athletic Communications staff in a game
of spades. Unlike other such contests described on the GoMason Blog, this was a
neck-and-neck game that saw Rohland and his partner, associate athletic
director Maureen Nasser, come away with the 'W'. The GoMason Blog demands a
After a few minutes, they rolled out the balls (two to be
exact) and an impromptu game of knockout broke out, including members of the
Patriot Club, tickets, events and arena staff. The action was intense on the
east-side basket, but events coordinator Doug Zebrak came away the victor. Staff then continued to get some shots up,
and the GoMason Blog even received some one-on-one instruction from assistant
coach Michael Huger on improving our free-throw shooting form. We will stick to
the scorer's table.
Around midnight, many of the staff had heard positive
reports on the road conditions and decided to make their way out into the
night. Some, such as strength and conditioning coach Handy Handerahan, decided
to grab some space on the basketball locker room couch and call it a night. The
GoMason Blog, equipped with a vehicle not quite built for snow and ice, decided
to grab some shuteye in the athletic department offices.
With the sunrise came the sounds of snow plows and shovels,
and everyone involved moved on from a night to remember as they got ready for