Celebrating Conte Forum's Anniversary: In Their Own Words
Feb. 11, 2014
To mark the 25th anniversary of Conte Forum, former student-athletes retell their favorite memories on the court and ice.
John Oates (2004-08), a three-year starter under Al Skinner, reflects on his favorite Conte Forum memories.
"I was lucky enough to be a 3-year starter on Al Skinner's teams, and with that privilege came many amazing moments. Hands down, my most memorable one was my sophomore year when we played Duke. It was BC's first year in the ACC, and Duke was coming to Chestnut Hill for the first time. I was way too excited to get going, so I arrived at the arena early, got changed, and headed out onto the court to stretch and get some shots up. As I prepared to walk through the tunnel, one of the event staffers, a BC-lifer and all around great lady, told me that the arena was already at near-capacity. This was almost 90 minutes before tip-off! As I walked through the tunnel to the floor, I really tried to soak it all in: the smell of the popcorn, the clambering of the crowd, the bright lights. As I stepped onto the court, Conte erupted with a unified cheer that startled me. I've never felt more honored. I walked to the foul line, as I did before every game, and the crowd went quiet. I was incredibly nervous even though these shots didn't matter (the eyes of 8,606 people will do that to you). The first attempt swished and Conte went crazy. I really felt the love and excitement, and understood what that game meant to everyone. We went on to have an amazing battle with Duke, the fans living and dying with each possession. I was very lucky during my tenure at BC to have a sixth man on the court with us. The students, alumni, and fans truly made it known that we were supported and loved, and that played a pivotal role when we were tested to the max.
"Going back to Conte is always an amazing experience. I love it because I consider it my home, a place where I learned how hard work and dedication could transform a person into what they always wanted to be. I'm so honored to have been given the opportunity to be a Boston College basketball player. I can't thank Al Skinner and his staff (Bill Coen, Ed Cooley, Pat Duquette, Bonzie Colson, Mo Cassara, and Preston Murphy) enough for what they gave me. The lessons that I learned in Conte have helped me in every aspect of my life. I can't wait to come back."
Any former student-athletes who wish to share a special memory of Conte Forum please contact Athletics Communications Assistant Dominique Oliveto. (617-552-1188) firstname.lastname@example.org