City Desk

Cheap Seats Daily: UDC’s Gym, the Finest Place in Town to Take a Dump?

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This week for the suddenly revitalized and again adored print version of Washington City Paper, I, um, repurposed a piece about the UDC basketball team having to finish up the season with five players, and sometimes fewer.

For the newspaper, my story is headlined "Four on the Floor." Go pick up a copy! Patronize the advertisers within!

The print column is a longer version of the UDC tale that appeared Monday in Cheap Seats Daily with the headline "UDC Basketball Moves Forward With Four on the Floor."

And, on Wednesday, USA Today ran a story about UDC's shorthanded situation, adding in that Seattle had to play a man down recently, and titling their piece: "Four on the Floor."

That's three-for-three for "Four on the Floor."

My analysis: This internet thingee is going to lead to an awful lot of repetition!

Just as playing with an undermanned squad will lead to lots of losing. Last night, Ruland and his Five Guys fell to the University of Sciences Devils, 58-54. Two players had four fouls, but the Firebirds finished the game against the Devils (!) with their starting five still on the floor. The loss puts UDC at 1-16 on the season.

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Sure, there have been setbacks. But Coach Ruland has found something to celebrate in his first year at UDC: The restroom at the Athletic Center.

If you've never been, the UDC campus at Van Ness is a drab place. No doubt the drabbiest college campus I've ever visited. It's got more than a touch of Wall-era East Berlin, with a lot of cement in big rectangles and no obvious center.

Yet there's an oasis amid the rectangular concretions. And it's a men's room.

(AFTER THE JUMP: More about the UDC restroom? Who paid for all that marble? You brought a camera into a public bathroom? George Mason once lost a game to a team with three players? Remember Paul Westhead? He didn't seem happy at Mason, did he? People sure do like reading about Georgetown basketball, don't they? Tom Lang found? Obama's going to the Hoyas game? Says who?)

The rest of the athletic building, where UDC basketball's main gym and the coaches offices are located, is as drab as its surroundings. Yet when you walk into the downstairs men's room through the automatic door and see all the marble counters and the marble floors and the automatic plumbing of every variety known to man, your first thought is: Nice!

The second thought: Boondoggle!

Seriously, after hearing for so many years about the school's funding problems and fights over tuition, and after all the drabosity I encountered everywhere else on campus, finding such extravagances in a public restroom just made me giggle. I mean, this is Four Seasons nice. So nice, nobody would think ill of Larry Craig for hanging out here. So nice that, unike the loo at FedExField, you could sell beer here and get away with it.

I asked basketball coach Jeff Ruland if he was aware of the fantastic facilities within his facility. Ruland said he hasn't yet brought any recruits to the bathroom to help sell them on the school. But, yes, he was hip to the head.

Ruland says, in fact, he shuns the bathroom near his own office to use the same facilities that the hoi polloi can use.

"It's a lot nicer than the one I got upstairs," he says.

(The photo above, taken by me with my convenient but crappy computer cam, doesn't come close to capturing the grandeur that is the UDC bathroom. I tried coaxing resident genius Darrow Montgomery to bring his photo stuff and come with me into the men's room to take some shots, but he wouldn't have any part of that. Bottom line: Go to the UDC gym to see the men's room, take in a Firebirds basketball game while you're there!)

***

My stories about UDC's shorthandedness sparked some memories in Barry Strassler's brain. They reminded Strassler, who among other things knows everything about Gallaudet athletics, about a time when his favorite school had to play more than one-man down.

From Strassler:

Gallaudet defeated George Mason 91-88 in three overtimes in January 1970.

So, what was the big deal? Seven Gallaudet players fouledout in the game, leaving the team with just three playerson the floor with 4:21 remaining in the third overtime.

Dennis Berrigan, Herman Buckman and Johnny Samuels, theremaining players, formed a "diamond" defense and held onto win the game against GMU's 5 players. Gallaudet actually increased the lead to 89-78 with 1:50 remaining and just hung on for the prized win.

And why was the win so significant? It was Gallaudet'sonly win of the season. And it was coach John Kaleta'sonly collegiate basketball win. He only coached Gallaudet basketball one season.

Man, I bet Mason coach Jim Larranaga ran his squad hard after that game, losing to a three-man squad!

What's that? Larranaga hasn't been at Mason since 1970? It just seems that way? Oh, OK.

(Actually, I'll never forget the Paul Westhead Era at George Mason. Not for its successes — Westhead didn't have any of those. He went 38-70 from 1993-1997. No, what I find memorable about those days, based on my limited samplings from trying to deal with him for stories and never getting close to anywhere, was how aloof and miserable the guy seemed here. Westhead was absolutely the anti-Larranaga.)

***

We weren't only talking UDC basketball this week at Cheap Seats Daily, of course. No,Photo_766 everybody has also enjoyed our nothing-but-race-based look back at the male Hoyas basketball program's past and the women's program's present.

OK. Not everybody. Or everybody else, either.

Actually, now that I look at the comments section, I might be the only guy on the planet who got a charge out of this recent Hoyas Basketball in Black and White focus.

But, whatever. Let's end the week on some happy notes. Intern Will Sommer took it upon himself to look into my question about whatever happened to Tom Lang. Lang's the guy in the photo to the right, of a stack of his trading cards. The Lang cards were produced by the DC Metropolitan Police Department during the 1987-1988 basketball season to hand out to kids at boys and girls clubs. He's one of just a few white guys to play basketball at Georgetown in that era, and I didn't even know he was on the Hoyas, a team I followed pretty close back then, until I saw his trading card.

Anyway, Sommer used some newfangled computerized internetty voodoo investigative tool called "www.google.com" to learn that Tom Lang has been a counselor at Camp Laurel, a summer camp in Readfield, Maine, for 18 years.

Using that same voodoo/investigative tool, I see that Lang spends his non-summers right in our backyard: He's the basketball coach at Poolesville High School.

I wonder if Lang wants his trading cards back. I wonder if he even knows he has a trading card.

***

To end on a happier note: Georgetown basketball is using Saturday's game with Duke at the Verizon Center to raise awareness of what's going on in Darfur. Lots of celebrities from inside and outside basketball are scheduled to attend the event, at which a project to fund the building and rebuilding of schools in the troubled land will be announced.

"We've heard President Obama is coming!," said Eileen White Read, spokesperson for the Enough Project at the Center for American Progress, a group behind the Darfur event.

For more information, go to www.darfurdreamteam.org.

***

Story tips? Wanna Play the Feud? Tube amps for sale? Send to: cheapseats@washingtoncitypaper.com

Georgetown basketball is part of Darfur Day

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Comments

  1. #1

    Has UDC hoops approached Five Guys Burgers and Fries for an obvious promotional tie-in? That's a no-brainer, right?

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