It is that wonderful time of year–March Madness. I have loved basketball since I was a child thanks to my neighbor who coached the University of Miami and taught the neighborhood kids to play basketball. Even though I never grew past 4’10” I was a solid player thanks to Coach Hale. He taught us that it was a matter of mind over matter. And so I imagined myself a giraffe able to easily make the dunks and that became a lifelong foundation for my view of life–if you can visualize it, it is possible.
College sports can sometimes bring out the worst in people–the power of advertising, the pressure of winning and the game over academics. I prefer to think of all the good things college sports brings about–like a college education for so many, many people. Players and non players flock to schools for the proper blend of sport and study. Some choose Division 3 schools where sports is not a major focus and others choose Division 1 where scholar athletes abound in multiple sports categories. The money from television contracts provides much needed revenue as well as positive publicity for the schools.
Today the Saint Louis Billikens won the A10 Conference title and are now off to the A10 Tourney in Brooklyn which will help determine their bracket in the NCAA finals. It was also senior day–THE day when it is apparent that it takes a village to win a basketball game. Parents of seniors are also honored for the part they play in the lives of their children as they climb the mountain to and through college. Cody Ellis’ parents flew all the way from Perth, Australia to be honored with their son, one of the all time best players at SLU. It has been fun to watch Cody, especially this year with his blue hair mohawk. Also Kwamaine Mitchell has been a delight. A great player and once again proving that good things can come in smaller packages!
The winning season for the Bills is bittersweet. Just before the season started, Coach Rick Majerus passed away leaving the team with a huge void–these were the first class of players that Coach recruited and he would not be there to see them through. Assistant Coach Jim Crews stepped up to be interim coach and after a rough start, the team got their footing and persevered. Like the signs said today at Chaifetz Arena–Crew-sin for a Championship!
Congrats to Saint Louis U for a fantastic season and the example of perseverance we all needed. Thanks to Coach Crews for being a class act and for Coach Majerus for looking down on us this season. This one’s for you!