Saturday, March 31, 2007

Jack, and Father Steck

When I was visiting Georgetown during the weekend of the March for Life, one of the more interesting things I witnessed was Fr. Chris Steck, S.J. of my province interviewing possible candidates for the privilege of walking "Jack," Georgetown's bulldog mascot. One of the more interesting parts of the process was Fr. Steck stepping outside with the candidate for a demonstration of his or her singing ability. Given that Chris can often strike one as an overly serious person, I must admit this got a chuckle out of me. In light of the appearance of the Georgetown basketball team in this weekend's Final Four, an article is making the rounds in the nation's newspapers about Jack, and Father Steck.

Jack is in such constant demand that he has an e-mail address. There is an application process for the privilege of walking him - which includes proving an ability to sing the Hoyas' fight song and a willingness to yank from his mouth whatever he should not be eating.

And there's a waiting list.

Maybe it's because he's a real dog. (The school also has a human in a furry dog suit.) Or because he lives on campus. Maybe it's his marked personality: Jack has an imperious manner, a sense of entitlement and a stubborn streak. He's so ugly, with a squashed face and an awkward, snuffling gait, that he often makes people laugh.

And he's never happier, the Rev. Christopher Steck said, than when he's on the basketball court.

A lot has been said about family legacies on the Hoyas team, which plays Ohio State today. Jack is one more celebrity with a proud Georgetown lineage. A forefather paced the sidelines during Patrick Ewing and John Thompson Jr.'s day. Now, as their sons arrive for games, Jack swaggers into the arena with them.

read the whole thing.


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