REFLECTION: UD’S RUN IN MARCH MADNESS GAVE A SENSE OF THE TRUE COLLEGE EXPERIENCE
When it’s time to graduate from this fine university, we all will carry memorable moments with us.
Moments like the stellar run of the University of Dayton’s men’s basketball team in the 2014 NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament will be etched into the minds of Flyer Fans for a long time.
Let’s forget for a second our obsessions with traditional community-building events like St. Patrick’s Day and instead reflect on the pure camaraderie fueled by the magical performance by our well-coached basketball team.
Prior to UD’s shocking first round victory over The Ohio State University, empty seats filling the stands at UD Arena was a deplorable truth.
That’s when the magic began. After THE University of Dayton cracked the Buckeye’s chances at a deep drive into the tournament, social media, and most notably the mood on campus, was abuzz with excitement. This win was the tremor that set off the tidal wave of momentum UD.
Knocking out Ohio State, and the eventual realization that UD would be the last Ohio team standing when it faced the Syracuse Orange, generated a kind of electricity not seen in years on this campus. Frustrations left bare from the challenges our community has faced over the last few years were finally buried by a sense of overwhelming pride and joy, manifesting itself in a spontaneous outburst of celebration on the night that the Flyers unexpectedly squeezed the Orange. These wins laid the foundation. It was the build-up to the Stanford game that put it to work, as signs popped up across campus urging our team to “chop the trees.”
It’s probably realistic to say that most people on campus expected a Florida win on Saturday, and ultimately that’s what occurred. What was wonderful though was the number of people who still gathered to chant the fight song in celebration, and the community members who came out to UD Arena on Sunday as we recognized the hard work of the Men’s
and Women’s basketball teams.
Let’s not forget this feeling. We can experience this rush again every week next winter when our team returns to the paint. This season rejuvenated our community, and it’s up to us to preserve that.