Of course, this essay will be about the legendary Jay Wright and his lasting legacy. And one could speculate on the prospects of his successor, Fordham’s Kyle Neptune, god of “waiting and the sea”, which I won’t.
Everyone agrees, from Sixers fans to Wildcat alumni and alumni around the world, that Jay Wright’s shoes are too big for anyone to fill.
Neptune’s challenges will be exacerbated by the relentless trend of ‘transferring’ which significantly undermines the loyalty of coaches and teams. This trend also opens up a phenomenon that could be called “the venality of the hoops”.
Earning money is now possible through individual athlete branding and endorsements via the recently approved NCAA provisions to promote market products for revenue generation etc.
Here, on the other hand, any interested observer can ask questions about the presumed purpose and motivation of amateur college athletics, that is, to strive for excellence in athletic performance, to display steady growth in academics and prepare for a career.
Everyone knows that only the talented minority of collegiate athletes reach the professional level. Nevertheless, the trend towards transfer persists.
The title of this essay could be misleading since Jack Hemmer is not a “Wright stuff” player transferred to, say, Kansas. In fact, Jack Hemmer was never a Villanova basketball player.
Step back to the late 1960s – the era of Vietnam War protests, Black Panthers, ‘Peace not War’, love-ins, Woodstock, Commons, organic farming, yoga and meditation, street riots, Earth Day, a mix of good and bad.
At the time, Father Jack Hemmer was an Augustinian and professor of theology and philosophy, well-liked and creative, sincere and inventive.
As a philosophy minor, I couldn’t get enough of the department’s offers in four years.
When I first enrolled at Villanova in 1967, just in terms of looks, I wore Villager and Lady Bug ensembles, mini skirts, blazers, shells and sweaters, pumps or leather boots. wise leather.
Enrolled as an astronomy major based on my interest in high school, my transcript, and my letters of recommendation, I expected to enter the big world of what we now call STEM.
At the end of the first year, and because of my work in the language laboratory at Vasey Hall, I was attracted to the study of French and was recruited by the director of the classical languages department, the Dr. John Mc Enerney, to pursue Latin as a minor.
Still, philosophy continued to attract my interest, and I met and spoke closely with choice philosophers who were also at Vasey Hall.
In the summer of 1969, I worked in Lake George at a club called The Airport Inn, with bands from New York. It was also Woodstock Nation’s summer and its energy and drive touched many, many young people.
The combination of music, alternative theater, vegetarian food, yoga and meditation, and love for the natural world contrasted with the preppy aspect of my first two years at Villanova.
Many students were going through changes in the late 60’s. I remember taking John Tich’s Eastern Philosophy class in my freshman year and learning yoga, meditation, and organic gardening from him. .
We are talking about cultural changes. My boyfriend and I hitchhiked to Martha’s Vineyard where I had landed a summer job managing Alex Taylor’s record and stereo store called STOP, LOOK and LISTEN located in the main street of Oak Bluffs.
The store next door to the restaurant was called SHANGHAI NOODLE FACTORY, after the song by Steve Winwood, and the owners, a couple from DC, knew Roberta Flack. I babysat Alex Taylor’s son and partied with James and Kate Taylor on the island.
I guess it was when I got back to Villanova that I signed up for Jack Hemmer’s epistemology course. He was mesmerized by everything that was going on, even inviting a small group of us to visit a friend’s house with him and eat brown rice and vegetables and listen to the Moody Blues.
One day when I arrived at the Sullivan Hall lounge in the heart of campus, perhaps a little early, I settled in and started chatting with other enrollees in that section of the Jack Hemmer course.
After several minutes, everyone who was going to come did, except for the person I thought was the most important member of the class, Jack Hemmer.
Based on school policy, we all waited about 10 minutes, with no Jack Hemmer showing up.
I remember one guy leaning out the open window and mumbling, “I’m out of here,” and turned around out the window. A few others got up and walked out in the conventional manner.
The majority of us, however, maybe six or seven, didn’t move, looked at each other and started discussing our assigned readings. We expected Jack Hemmer to show up, apologizing for being late, but he never did.
We entered into the sense of knowledge and rationality, its purpose, our purpose, and we formed a union, a bond, which made the course material real.
I remember asking at one point if anyone felt or knew that Jack Hemmer planned it that way. We speculated without any certainty.
Our discussion became exhilarating, sharing where we were at philosophically, exchanging life experiences and developing a sense of gratitude for what Jack Hemmer meant to us.
When we next saw Jack Hemmer again, we asked him, as it turned out to be so engaging and unique, if he had foreseen such an outcome. He smiled and never used words to respond. Experiential learning, I realised.
I still feel the energy of this class, and it has always helped define Villanova and its enduring richness, the Augustinian “Veritas, Unitas, Caritas” accessible to all.
This is how I think and feel about Jay Wright and his legacy.
He gave and bequeathed to us something very special which is an enduring bond of inquiry, devotion to learning, compassion for all, passion for excellence and, in some mysterious way, a brotherhood of epistemology with Jack Hemmer of NOVA.
Mary Brown, a Golden Wildcat, founded the first Villanova dance team in 1967-68 with the help of father Michael Gallagher, Jim V. Murray and his dancer-choreographer wife Dianne Murray.