This is it.
Honestly, this is the day I’ve been waiting for since first stepping into life as a Zag back in August of 2012. I had heard about this week at GEL Weekend, I’d watched the games on TV and finally….
For the first time in three seasons, our Bulldogs get to take on their heated rivals with a full Kennel. For the seniors, this may bring back fond memories of three seasons when the Zags clinched a 14-point win to move to 19-4 on the season. For the juniors, sophomores, and the freshmen, this is all new. We’ve never been here, due to the WCC scheduling the game over the Christmas holiday the last two seasons. But we’re ready. And we’re excited.
Oh boy, are we excited!
When Saint Mary’s comes to town, it seems like everyone becomes a little more passionate – more and more people will stop you and ask if you’re a GU student, if you go to basketball games and how you feel about the season. It’s always something special (see here for further proof from a friend) to be a part of this, and yes it has been a magical year so far, but this is the big one as far as everyone is concerned. It’s SMC. The Gaels.
Saint Mary’s comes in with a (respectfully impressive, we have to admit it) 15-3 record, and sits 7-0 in the WCC, tied with the Bulldogs for first place. In the past few years a little of the magic of our rivalry has gone away with the rise of BYU, but the Cougars sit solidly in 4th place in conference at the moment.
Since it’s been so long for all of us, we have to ask: What the hael is a Gael?! One of the marks of our conference is the “uniqueness” of our competitors’ mascots (we’re looking at you, Pepperdine Waves and USD Toreros) and the Gaels are certainly no exception. A quick Google search turns this up:
Their mascot’s name is Gael Force One – more like Gael Force NONE!
And I feel like I’m looking at a slightly less-decently-dressed version of Michigan State’s Sparty. Even the girl in the picture doesn’t believe that this is the guy that’s supposed to be pumping them all up. As a freshman, I thought that they were the Saint Mary’s Gales, like the wind. A few of my friends I was talking to this week were talking about how, as seniors, they just learned that it wasn’t a kind of bird. Someone else joked that it might be a displaced Canadian (“Geh?-els”…? Don’t really know.) And, one girl who I can only hope was a freshman pronounced it like “jail” while she was waiting for her BARC omelet the other morning.
So, clearly, nobody really knows what a Gael is. Doesn’t matter. While we struggle to find out, here’s what we know for sure a Gael ISN’T:
That’s Brad Waldow. He’s kind of their “big deal”, even though he wears their zeroes. God is not a Gael. That’s just blasphemous. I reported that as inappropriate, because attributing holiness to something as lowly as a Gael is entirely inappropriate.
More on Brad: Though he was never as bad as Matthew Dellavadova with the mouth guards (may he rest in peace), there’s still this gem:
And he might actually have a reason to wear a mouth guard: a few years ago, he took one for the team in Vegas for the WCC tournament… Well, actually, his tooth did.
Yeah that’s reaaaaaaal nice.
That’s right. His tooth, or what was left of it, became an overnight star. It even got its own Twitter account, which generated more hits for the rest of the tournament than Waldow’s did for a few months.
Feel free to tweet and abuse this as you please – after all, it is a tooth, and I don’t think it’s feelings will be hurt too much.
We’ve got this:
and pretty much anything you can do to get him to this level would be great:
Because if he can get frustrated enough at BYU to only throw a mouth guard, he’s gonna be in for a rough ride tomorrow night.
Moving on, we’re gonna take a look at the rest of the starters: Garrett Jackson, Desmond Simmons, Aaron Bright and Kerry Carter. We’ll start with a couple of Pac-12 transfers (COPYCATS) in Desmond Simmons and Aaron Bright.
Desmond came to the Gaels from the University of Washington, and apparently still thinks that based on the fact that all of his background pictures and profile pictures are still Husky related.
In addition, he’s got a couple really interesting pictures on his IG account: one of the last time he was a decent basketball player:
Ahh yes, the MySpace era…
And one of how he’s going to feel when he’s done playing in the Kennel tomorrow night:
He also seems like a little bit of a scaredy-cat:
And a little bit of a wanna be philosopher:
I mean…. Dreams without goals are just dreams without goals are just dreams…? I feel like that could go on and on forever.
Then we’ve got Aaron Bright, who came over from Stanford. Sadly we couldn’t find his Twitter account (what do you have to hide, dude? Huh?! HUH?!?!), but we did find his Facebook and he too has a fair number of pictures from his days before SMC… Maybe it’s just a trend. He’s a pretty boring guy overall, but the one thing that stands out is that he loves Coca Cola. Don’t know what you all could do with that, but seriously. He has a lot of pictures of it on his Instagram account.
Then we’ve got Kerry Carter and Garrett Jackson, who are both incredibly lucky that they switched their accounts to private in the last 24 hours. NO JOKE, as I was beginning to compile all of these things into a single post, I went around collecting tweets and pictures and all of a sudden… They weren’t there. And I couldn’t access my dirt on them. Because they blocked me.
PARANOID! Kerry, I’m onto you. You’re gonna get some special treatment over the next 24 hours and I’m gonna figure out what you’re hiding.
Garrett, on the other hand, didn’t protect his tweets, so…….
You know what. Nah. He’s a good guy. I’ll give SMC the fact that they could have one player that I don’t want to dig anything up on. We’re from the same area. He really seems like a nice dude. We have the same home church. Garrett, if you ever read this – if you see a college kid in a Gonzaga shirt at Solid Rock sometime, say hey!
- They’re actually pretty rich with transfers and foreign pick ups. Couple other transfer kids (Joe Coleman, Garrett Jackson) and THREE from Down Under: Dane Pineau, Jock (lol) Landale, and Emmett Naar. Chant idea? “Why Saint Mary’s?” Just because it’s a question that we all should be asking of everyone on this team.
- Here’s Evan Fitzner, and a list of all the schools that were recruiting him…. Note one fairly significant team that ISN’T on the list:
- So, again…. WHY SAINT MARY’S?!
He also competed in this, and I have no words:
So i mean, if you wanted to go Lumberjack crazy and “Chop down the Gaels”, do. Go for it. I will support you 100%.
- Calvin Hermanson is suuuuuuch a hipster
AND, coincidentally, is from the same town as our very own Connor Griffin. I’d love to see them get some playing time against each other.
That’s all that we dug up, so here’s our plea to you all reading this: This is a HUGE game for Gonzaga. It sucks to have to think about it as a once-every-three-years kind of event, but hey thanks WCC, that’s what it’s been and may be again! We want you to be rowdy. We have a reputation as one of the top (and we mean TOP) student sections in the entire country, and this is our chance to prove it. We’re ranked in the Top 3 hardest environments in the COUNTRY for teams to play in – we have the winningest home court in America (142 wins against 8 losses in McCarthey), and a huge chunk of that is the energy that fans bring every single game.
Bring it. If you have ideas for chants, please tell us! We LOVE the creativity of the Kennel. We’ll spread ideas like wildfire over the next day so EVERYONE knows. We’ll be having an event where you can make signs for the game with your tent groups and your friends, dress up and be as insane (in the best way) as you can, because this is our night to shine. 75% of our student body has never experienced this game – let’s make it one to remember.