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I graduated from Saint Joe's in 2006, so Phil Martelli has been an extended part of my life for 15+ years. I have one story I’d like to share about him.
In December 2002, the end of my freshman fall semester, Saint Joe’s was supposed to play Boston University. Problem was there was a huge snowstorm in Philly that day: roads closed, schools closed, everything closed.
That of course means one thing when you’re 18: you get absolutely blitzed on Captain Morgan’s and go sledding on cafeteria trays.
So we’re abiding by our collegiate duties and sledding down the only hill on campus. Hundreds of kids out. Martelli trudges up with something in his hand.
BU had gotten in the night before, he explained, so the game was still on. The problem was no alums could get to campus, so the stands would be pretty empty. Unless.
Martelli reveals what’s in his hand, and it’s a stack of hundreds of tickets, maybe a thousand. “I want every one of these crazy motherfuckers at the game,” he says, handing over the stack to my friend John.
It was the drunkest, sweatiest, rowdiest crowd I’d ever seen or ever would see, at any sporting event. 3,500 rum-soaked freshmen, sopping wet from sledding all afternoon. The arena felt like the inside of a Russian banya. They didn’t even bother checking tickets at some point.
When the BU players ran out onto the court I remember just a team-wide look of disgust when they realized what was happening around them, that somehow a normal early-season game had been converted into some sort of Bloodsport sequel.
Saint Joe’s won 71-49, but the score doesn’t reflect just how much of an ass-kicking it was. This was a Jameer Nelson/Delonte West team, and it seemed like shots were banking in off the concession stands.
Despite the rum fog it’s one of the most vivid memories I have of college, and I have Phil Martelli to thank for it.
I just looked up Dick Jerardi's gamer in the Daily News from that night and it includes this nugget, which should be put in the Understatement Hall of Fame.
Ray Parillo had this to say in the Inquirer, which—prepare to be amazed/super sad—was 168 pages that Friday.
Back to work, go Hawks.
Thanks to Steve here we’re unexpectedly reporting out the BU side of this thread, which proves that we were probably even more obnoxious than I remember.
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