Heartbreak. Last year’s Jesuit Basketball Association runners-up The Crew (also known as TBC) suffered a brutal, one-point loss in the 2011 title game, a contentious finish tantamount in controversy only to the team’s now-banned jerseys, which depicted the Coors Light mountain logo.
That said, the hangover from defeat hasn’t clouded the team’s mindset going into 2012. In fact, last year’s loss actually fuels the competitive fire for this year’s TBC. Revenge is, according to owner and player Sean Tomlinson ’12, “no doubt on [the team’s] mind.”
The desire for retribution was not the only thing to return for TBC this season. Seven players have made their return this year including Nick Dell ’12 and Gabe Arango ’12.
Additionally, the team received three new players: Rob Holland ’12, Michael McCarney ’12, and Maui Gutierrez ’12.
When asked about the seemingly slow 11-10 start The Crew has gotten off to, Tomlinson ’12 explained that he has no fears regarding his team’s ability to compete down the stretch: “That’s how TBC plays. We keep under the radar during the regular season, and then turn it on in the playoffs.”
Regarding regular-season success, Tomlinson predicts a surge over the next few weeks: “I expect us to start playing even better and more fluently as a team. I expect us to finish second or third in conference and make a run for the title game.”
Due to last year’s rebellious jersey choice, Tomlinson’s team has a reputation around the school (one teacher who asked to remain anonymous referred to them as “punks”). They’ve taken on the identity of the villains, the team fans root against.
Just like the “Bad Boy” Oakland Raiders of the early ‘90s or the “Broad Street Bullies” Philadelphia Flyers team of the ‘70s, The Crew has embraced its identity.
“[Our success] will just anger people even more,” said Tomlinson. No one wants to see us win, but we feed off of that resentment and it makes us play even harder.”
And while so many teams find solace in the support of fans, Tomlinson sums up his team’s feelings on their controversial identity: “We love the hate.”