As the tears trickled down Joyce Brown's cheeks, the words she had painted in green on her face--"Hoyas No. 1"--slowly washed away.
"I think the Hoyas are the greatest. I swear I still do," said Brown, a first-year medical student at Georgetown University. She had come to the Georgetown Pub in the basement of Healy Hall on campus with her friend, Sabrina Watson.
And the loss to North Carolina in the NCAA final hit her hard.
Two hours earlier they had marched up an alley on campus chanting, "Hoya Saxa." Now they filed quietly home.
But they hadn't given up. Even as James Worthy went to the foul line with two seconds left, people crowded around the wide-screen TV waving their arms and trying to distract him.
"I'm never going to wash this paint off my face," said Watson. "I still love my Hoyas, and I'm going to wear this stuff on my face until next year when they win."
More than 300 students assembled in the sweaty bar to exhort on their classmates, who appeared on the television as green and purple blurs. Georgetown students had had the day off from class and, had the Hoyas won last night, today also would have been a holiday. Nobody played Pac-Man.
When it was over, they had a hard time holding back the tears.
"We're probably no more enthusiastic than students any place else," said Tom Nalls, a sophomore from Chevy Chase, who was wearing the remnants of a plastic six-pack beer container as eyeglasses.
"But this means a whole lot more to somebody at Georgetown," he sobbed hoarsely. "These guys are our classmates. We see them all over, all the time. They don't hide like a bunch of hotshots in some ski lodge. They're normal people."
"When I came here as a freshman I was expecting these guys to be gods," said Myron Olesnycky, a junior. "But these guys are people. I was really impressed at first because they were losing and still they were students. Now they're both. They're good and they're students."
Wearing white plastic pith helmets and oversized foam rubber hands, they dragged their signs and banners into the bar to show their loyalty.
"We were great and they were great and they won," said Tom Bass, a junior from Miami, who incited the crowd early in the evening by contorting his body to spell out H-o-y-a.
"You couldn't ask for a greater game for the NCAA final. This is what I expected.
"When it comes to Hoya basketball, fans here are just as crazy as those at North Carolina. Our team is No. 1 in our hearts. We're just going to go out now and do our best to outdo North Carolina in partying."
Elsewhere, the beery chants of "Let's go Hoyas!" spilled onto the sidewalks as most Georgetown nightspots enjoyed a brisk business on what normally is a slow night.
The pubs that had the largest crowds were those like Annie Oakley's at Wisconsin Avenue and M Street, which offered wide-screen color television.
At Chadwick's, on K Street, Georgetown fans bellied three and four deep up to the bar for free rounds of peppermint schnapps "shooters" each time Hoya center Patrick Ewing blocked or dunked a shot.
For the record, Chadwick's gave away six rounds. Three on dunks, two on blocks and one on the house.
About 120 Georgetown fans jammed into the Tombs on 36th Street, the offcampus bar closest to the university.
"The TV usually is on, but the sound is never up," said Kathy McGrath, a waitress. "Usually, no one much cares. But tonight I've never seen it so loud."
At Faces, a restaurant-lounge on Georgia Avenue NW, the crowd of 50 that watched the game on a large-screen television was, for the most part, disappointed.
"I'm depressed like hell. We lost," said John Forston, a construction engineer for GSA. "I've been a Georgetown fan since John Thompson first came to Georgetown, but I feel exceptionally bad right now."
Benjamin Evans, the owner of RSVP restaurant-lounge in Southwest, said, "I'm hurt, depressed and stunned. North Carolina should not have won that game. But the law of averages was with them (on Coach Dean Smith's seventh try)."
"Don't worry," said Norman Smith, "Georgetown will be back and Freddie Brown will be back with a vengeance. Believe it."