Welcome to “Halftime on the Hilltop,” The Hoya’s first Sports podcast hosted by our own Sports writers as they bring on their fellow staff members, Washington, D.C.-area reporters and other athletes to provide high-level insight into the sports we all love best.
In this first episode, meet the podcast team. Our fandom spans several sports, from the NFL to the Premier League, as does our experience, from soccer and football to basketball and tennis.
Listen to hear our breakdown of recent highlights in Georgetown University athletics, from the soccer teams remaining undefeated to volleyball’s struggling start to the season. New Sports writer John Nelson (COL ’24) discusses covering his first Georgetown game, a field hockey game against Brown University. Finally, we finish by taking a look at the NBA offseason and Ben Simmons’ holdout from reporting to play for the Philadelphia 76ers.
DP: Welcome to the first recording of The Hoya Sports Podcast. I’m one of your hosts, Demi Pappas (MSB ’24). We are four Sports writers for The Hoya who are super passionate about sports. We have a lot of opinions. And we just want to create a home to discuss Georgetown athletics and the greater sports world. And we’re so excited that you’re joining us for day one of this journey, if you will, so bear with us as we find our voice and figure out how to work audio. We actually just spent the last hour and a half trying to figure that out.
TB: That’s an exaggeration.
SS: It’s so not. It’s so not. You weren’t here. I was there before. Y’all were not here. Y’all were at Chick Fil A.
DP: Do we want to go around and introduce ourselves?
SS: Yeah, sounds good. Hello, everybody. I am Saar Shah (MSB ’24), deputy sports editor for The Hoya. I’m a sophomore in the business school here at Georgetown planning on studying finance and management. But my real passion is for writing and journalism, which is my minor, and sports in general. I’m from southern Maryland, but I’m the biggest Philadelphia Eagles and 76ers fan you will ever meet — a professional tennis fan and now a huge Georgetown basketball fan. I played a little bit of everything growing up. Tennis was like my competitive sport in high school. I can absolutely take anybody in this room and at this school in table tennis.
SS: Left hand, blindfolded, doesn’t matter. And now I spend most of my free time getting absolutely wrecked in pickup basketball.
TB: Very sick kid.
DP: You follow the table tennis trash talk with you getting dunked on at Yates?
SS: Hey, I know what I am. I know my limits. And I know what I’m good at. I know what I’m not.
DP: Okay, okay.
TB: Clearly. I’m Tim Brennan (MSB ’24). I’m a sophomore in the MSB as well. I’m a columnist for The Hoya. Do I say my major is — do people care? Probably not. I’m from Long Island, N.Y. I’m a huge Jets and Knicks fan. Big Yankees fan too. Oh, come on. I’m in the MSB, so not majoring in journalism or anything like that, but very passionate about sports writing. In high school, I played basketball all four years. I played soccer my senior year for fun. Love basketball, really into the NBA, writing an NFL column this year, though. Yeah, that’s what’s up.
JN: Hi. My name is John Nelson (COL ’24). I’m a sports writer for The Hoya and I’m a sophomore in the college studying economics and probably minoring in environmental studies, maybe Spanish. Sports are a huge part of my identity. I am from Boston, Mass., the city of champions. I’m a big Patriots fan, Celtics fan, Bruins fan, Red Sox fan. We just win, win, win no matter what. But I like to listen about other sports, the ailments of Philly, but I also love to talk and come to a community, talk about Georgetown sports because we have a great sports culture here.
DP: We do, and my name is Demi. I’m a deputy sports editor for The Hoya and I’m also a sophomore in the MSB from Houston, Texas. And so in terms of my sports identity, I’m a really big soccer player, but I also played basketball, recently got into running. I watch a lot of Premier League and La Liga but I really don’t have a team. I’m kind of just like a bandwagon, love Messi, love Mbappe, Greece man, love the French national team. I’m being honest. And then I’m also a big Houston Rockets fan, big U of H sports fan. Go Cougs. I don’t really vibe with the NFL. And I think fantasy football is, like, silly, but I love J.J. Watt, so. That’s me. So the vision of this podcast was born out of our collective love for shows like “The Bill Simmons Podcast” and “Pardon My Take.” I think we just love how those shows capture the crosscurrent of whatever is going on in the sports world. And I wanted to bring that here to Georgetown. I wanted to capture the Georgetown sports ethos, which I think is so unique. On the Saturday when Georgetown men’s soccer team beat Maryland and we were like all at Shaw Field, I thought that was so cool because energy was just like off the charts and so vibrant. All my friends from home were at these big SEC football games, and that’s great that that was their Saturdays, but I loved that I was at a soccer game.
TB: Soccer game, definitely so much more fun. Yeah, definitely better. Way more fun, for sure.
DP: I think it’s unique. And I think it’s awesome that Georgetown students are passionate.
SS: I think that’s a little bit what you say when you know you’re sorry. It’s like, “Oh, well, we’re unique, though. No biggie.”
TB: There are times when I wake up on Saturday, and it’s like, oh, wow. Boy. Yeah, um.
SS: No, but yeah, I think that’s all great. I think we all agree. We knocked on it a little bit, but …
DP: You just said you didn’t agree.
SS: We knock on it. We knock on it. We knock on it, but it’s fun. So on the podcast, we’re going to be giving you our hot takes. We have a lot of them on everything from Georgetown basketball to NFL to the Premier League. At some point we want to be bringing on Georgetown athletes and sports writers that went to Georgetown or are just in the area, and even bring in writers from The Hoya like John and Tim, that have maybe done, if they’ve done a feature piece, or if they’ve covered a game that they want to talk about, they can discuss in more detail. And then along the way, maybe Demi will learn a little bit more about American football. She asks some head-scratchers, so just be ready for that. If you couldn’t tell, John talks far too much about Boston sports. And we’re all just big Georgetown fans.
TB: Let’s go Knicks.
SS: We’ll be ready for that, too. Okay. So what? Should we recap Georgetown sports last couple weeks?
DP: We know. It’s like, already Oct. 1. Well, it’ll be Oct. 5 when this is coming out, right.
SS: Something like that.
DP: Something like that.
SS: I’m gonna be honest, I don’t think you got the math there correctly. I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be the sixth.
DP: Okay, so first up, we’re gonna talk about Georgetown men’s soccer team. So we’ve been ranked number one in the United Soccer Coaches poll since week two. So pretty exciting. Now we’re like 7-in-0. And we’re closing out nonconference play with a record of 6-in-0. The NCAA tournament is in November, but yeah. But I think they’re just like a fun team to watch because you can tell that they’re all like really close. So yeah, not really many hot takes when it comes to the Georgetown men’s soccer team. Much love.
SS: Move on to field hockey? That was your first game as a sports writer for The Hoya.
DP: So yes, let’s preface, John is new to the squad. He’s new to the team.
SS: How was the first game? How’d you like it?
JN: So unfortunately, it was an away game. So I still haven’t had the experience to be at an in-person game and kind of take it all in, but I thought it was a really entertaining and awesome experience even though it was online to watch and cover the game. Personally, I haven’t watched a field hockey game in a while, but still just like watching and really getting into the game was awesome because it ended up being a thriller that went into double overtime and then penalty strokes. Georgetown really was dominating most of the time. They just couldn’t get it in the back of the cage. But they finally did, but there was just some great defense played by both teams. So it just kept going and going and going. And then finally, it came down to the shots at the end, the strokes.
DP: Also they’ve been in Rhode Island for a while because they played Providence.
JN: Yeah, they played Providence. Both teams were playing like their second game of the weekend. So you could tell kind of at the beginning there was — they were tired a little bit and it was a hot day. But by the end of the second half, it looked like it was a tie. They looked like they scored but they called it back and it was kind of a rough game, too. There was a good amount of green and yellow cards. So there was some shoving. A Brown player received two yellows.
SS: We also did just beat Temple today in field hockey 1-0.
JN: Let’s go.
DP: I just walked by that game. On our way here. Two hours ago. Yeah, let’s move on to volleyball next.
SS: So we had our first couple games. That was also from a new writer, by the way, who covered those, Ethan Williams (SFS ’23), so check that out. We do play today as well. Like right now, we’re playing the volleyball game.
DP: Awesome. So when it airs on Oct. 6.
JN: There you go. Yeah, you got the math right this time. But it seemed it was a tough start for the Big East for the volleyball team against DePaul and Marquette, but it’s okay, they’re starting off the season. Maybe not as strong as they hoped, but hopefully we’re gonna turn it around with the short break hopefully today.
SS: Women’s soccer?
TB: Stayed undefeated. Just like the men.
SS: Yeah, Demi, you had a problem with the criticism they’re receiving, right?
DP: So I’m not gonna name names because this is a positive space, but someone was commenting on the fact that they were like, “Oh my gosh, like, the women’s soccer team sucks, like, like they’ve been tying.” And I think a lot of people —
TB: Ties are points. Quick interjection. You can continue.
DP: I mean, yeah, ties are points. It shows that you’re like defensively playing really well, really staunch. And I also think soccer is such a game where the best team doesn’t always win. Like I don’t know how many soccer games I’ve been in where some BS play just happens, like one random play, and it’s just out of your control. But no, I, like, I’m really excited to see the rest of their season. I think they’re amazing hard workers, you can tell by the way they play, and I think they have really dominant midfielders, like just a lot of old, stronger leadership, which I think is awesome. And I think the girls are excited to have a real season after everything that’s happened.
JN: Crucial win against a ranked team, a ranked opponent.
TB: Yeah, the last time they played was in the Big East tournament championship in 2019. Yeah, so this is an important win for sure. So who did they play next? DePaul? So more Big East play. Oh, they just played DePaul.
JN: Yeah, it seems like this is gonna be a taste of maybe what will come in the tournament. Once again.
TB: Wait, what score did they beat DePaul? Oh, the article’s not gonna be out for four days. Forget it.
DP: We here at The Hoya have a really high turnover rate when it comes to our articles.
SS: We’re working on it. We’re getting better.
DP: Okay. We just beat DePaul 2-0.
JN: Yeah, their next game is against Providence on Sunday. So actually by the time you hear this, that will be over, too.
TB: And then they’ll be playing Butler on Thursday. Okay, so get ready for Thursday.
DP: No, but the Providence game will be — was streamed on Fox Sports One.
TBL You can stream it on Fox Sports One yesterday. But now, six days ago.
DP: We’re getting in our flow. Let’s go to the NFL. They’ve been waiting for this the whole time. Okay, so, NFL.
SS: Yeah, so this is from — you’ll hear it from week four to week five, but we’re recording before week four. I mean, the big thing, the big thing this week, Sunday night, 8:20 p.m. The GOAT is going back to Foxborough.
DP: Who’s the goat?
SS: Tom Brady.
JN: Thomas Edward Patrick Brady III.
DP: Y’all know my thoughts on Tom Brady.
SS: To play his former head coach, also the GOAT, to be fair. Bill Belichick. I’m gonna be honest. I usually get stuff like this — why it’s being hyped up so much. I understand. It’s poetic. I saw the Adele thing. I mean, the Bucs are gonna run them.
SS: Bucs are gonna run them. Yeah, there’s a little Adele commercial. Like with Brady and Belichick. Like, “I’m coming home.” That kind of thing.
DP: Okay. Keep singing.
JN: Wait, what song? That is not Adele. “I’m Coming Home.”
SS: Oh, I’m so sorry. It was “hello from the other side.” Yeah, like, it was panning in on Brady returning. Both work, to be fair. Newest hit by Adele 2014, so we’re all caught up now.
TB: So we get to see Tom Brady versus the guy who they think is gonna be Tom Brady. And then they hope the Bucs are gonna win by 30 and Mac Jones is gonna throw three picks. Essentially.
SS: Fumble twice. Maybe. Yeah, who knows?
JN: I think this game could go a few ways. I think that the New England Patriots have been suppressing their playbook for this game. They’re gonna cut the leash on Mac.
TB: Wait, wait, are they gonna let him throw it 25 yards? Because that’s probably the furthest he could throw it.
JN: I’m not guaranteeing — actually, but for me, everyone wins on Sunday.
TB: There’s gonna be a lot of cute screens.
DP: Do you still stand behind Tom Brady? Even though he makes out with his children?
JN: You said you wouldn’t bring this up.
TB: She brought it.
DP: It’s relevant.
SS: It’s so not. You forced that so hard.
JN: Tom Brady is an onion and he has many layers that we will never understand.
TB: Do we want to transition to the NBA?
SS: Let’s do it. Let’s wrap up on the NBA.
TB: Do we wanna talk about Ben Simmons?
SS: Alright, let’s be honest. I’ve watched sports pretty religiously for 15 years now, uh, so that math doesn’t work. Ben Simmons is the second-softest player I’ve ever seen in my entire life.
JN: Who’s the softest?
DP: It’s the Kardashian curse.
SS: Kevin Durant’s number one is the softest. What he’s doing right now is pathetic. I’ve seen the dunk that didn’t end up being a dunk in game seven with three minutes to go against the Hawks. I’ve seen that at least 50 times.
TB: I remember watching that and at the time being, like, this is gonna be like such a big “I cannot believe that just happened, this is gonna be a huge deal.”
SS: It’s watershed, like it absolutely defines him in three seconds if you want to know who Ben Simmons — it’s that guy. He gets the open look, he gets the opportunity, he’s good at all that and then he just can’t finish at all. Now he’s holding out because we said we want to get rid of him. Of course we want to get rid of him, he’s a bum. There’s nothing else to it. He’s an absolute bum.
TB: Let’s also remember that he did finish second in defensive player of the year voting.
SS: That almost makes it worse, that he’s so good.
TB: That he’s like, actually really good. Yeah.
SS: The fact that he’s actually really good. And then he’s a complete liability in the postseason. And he’s complaining about Embiid, being paired with Embiid. How absolutely arrogant do you have to be to complain about being partnered with Joel Embiid?
TB: I just don’t get it. Like I just — I don’t. Just shoot the ball. Yeah, it’s not that hard. Even if you shoot 25% from three, no one cares. Just shoot.
DP: We’re about to get kicked out of our little breakout room in the MSB right now for the Writing Center. So we might need to wrap up. But no, we’re really excited to get going and talk more about Georgetown sports. And talking about this every week we’re gonna develop more opinions when it comes to our own sports teams, as well as the NBA and NFL. So I’m excited. Are y’all excited?
SS: We are so excited.
TB: Very, very, very excited, Demi.
DP: Thank you. I can’t tell if that was sarcastic or not. But thank you for listening. Thank you for bearing with us. If there are any weird audio things in this podcast, just don’t let us know because we know, you know?
SS: We’re aware. If it gets through and you guys hear it, we couldn’t get rid of it.
DP: This is a process.
JN: We don’t even know if this is recorded.
SS: We don’t know if this is being recorded right now.
DP: This is a learning process and we have a growth mindset here in the Hoya. So yeah, it’s only going up from here. Alright, well, signing off. Hope y’all have a great rest of your week and weekend and week five of the NFL as we just discussed. Okay.