The next time you find yourself at a Georgetown basketball game in the Verizon Center, give your hands a break from clapping, pause before you scream “We Are Georgetown” and keep your ears open for a brand new chant hitting the student section—Saxa Gray.
Founded earlier this fall, Saxa Gray is an undergraduate student group open to all Hoyas whose goal is to promote school spirit and revelry at Georgetown basketball games.
“Georgetown, though a university with a renowned basketball program, is a school whose student section has never been up to par,” said co-founder Akhil Ramanadham (MSB ’14). “It’s an essential element that has been lacking at basketball games during my time here at Georgetown. That’s how I first thought up Saxa Gray.”
While Hoya Blue serves as the University-sanctioned spirit organization, Saxa Gray isn’t burdened by the rules that govern clubs. “Saxa Gray provides a previously nonexistent outlet for avid Georgetown fans to gather together as a unit,” Saxa Gray member Matt Burdumy (COL ‘15) said. “Our major advantage is that we aren’t subject to the supervision of the athletic department and thus our support for our Hoyas can be unrestricted.”
For their part, Georgetown Sports Information declined to comment on Saxa Gray.
With the Hoyas are currently ranked No. 15 in the AP Top 25 after a win over the the Texas Longhorns, there hasn’t been a better time this year for students to support the team.
“Saxa Gray encapsulates Georgetown pride and strives to bring the ‘Who’s your Daddy?’ attitude that the Hoyas need,” co-founder Vidur Khatri (MSB ’14) said. “On a campus where students really do care about basketball, it’s a shame that there isn’t an organization that helps transform this enthusiasm into support at the Verizon center. This is the void we aim to fill.”
Even though Hoya Blue has been faithfully face painting and supporting Georgetown athletics since 1997, Saxa Gray founders Ramanadham and Khatri both believe that more must be done to support Hoya basketball.
“Athletes love a rowdy crowd to support them. The student section truly is an aspect of the game that gives the home team the upper hand,” Ramanadham said. “Even Hoya Blue board members, such as communications head Sam Kareff, have acknowledged Hoya Blue’s shortcomings and ordered a Saxa Gray tank for himself.”
Hoya Blue, in turn, has responded to Saxa Gray with a positive attitude. Current president Andrew Rennie (COL ’13) said, “They just like to bro out and watch basketball. I support that.”
Bruce Thomas (SFS ’13), another member of Hoya Blue, held a similar stance. “Personally, I think it’s cool that they’re doing it. Having dedicated people at games ready to cheer on their team was a real issue that Hoya Blue faced last year. We had a weak schedule and people didn’t come out, so if these guys can help re-energize the fan base, more power to them. We’ll be around if they need any face paint.”
Photo courtesy Saxa Gray
Disclosure: Jamie Niu is dating Vidur Khatri.