Secret’s out, guys. I’m a huge Canisius College basketball fan.
Always have been, always will be. This year, the MAAC conference tournament is in Springfield, Massachusetts. The Canisius men’s basketball team beat Siena (for the third time this season, may I add) on Saturday night to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2002. Yet a few short hours ago, in quite a heart-wrenching finish, the Griffs lost in the semifinals to defending MAAC champion Iona with a score of 75-72.
Despite the loss, being their number one fan (a title given to both myself and my best friend Aly by a few older gentlemen who are Canisius alum) has taught me a lot this year. And don’t worry, my broken heart is being mended by a bag of mini snickers and some wine right now…
What being a number one fan for a class-act team will teach you:
1. The things you love are worth the sacrifice: When you find something you love — a sport’s team, true friend, a passion of any kind — pursuing it and keeping it in your life is worth whatever sacrifices there may be. Whether it’s your sleep, your voice (can’t keep me quiet in the middle of a Canisius basketball game), gas money, time off from work, a stiff neck from a long car ride… you can spare it in order to root for something you believe in.
2. Stay classy. No matter what: Sometimes the calls go in your favor and other times you’re pulling your hair out because you know the shots just aren’t fair. But whether you’re winning in life or losing, don’t let it make you bitter, angry, egotistical or pompous. Be grateful when you’re up. Be humble when you’re down.
3. You don’t always get a second chance: If you’re lucky, you have that next practice, game, season or tournament in your future. Other times, you don’t get that second chance. Make sure that when your game or adventure comes to an end, you’re proud of the job you’ve done and the character you showed when you were fighting mid-battle.
4. Good company makes the game of life worthwhile: Sporting events, road trips, and the many other adventures life brings would not be as memorable without incredible people to share them with. At the end of the journey, you may forget the score or the number of miles you traveled. You will, however, remember the people who were screaming beside you when it all was caught on (an ESPN) camera.
I’m going to continue to cheer for my team. Because the “team” I root for is more than a group of talented athletes.
Yes, it’s the players, but it’s also the students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the family and friends from near and far. My “team” is my community, and when that is your team, how could you not be dedicated? How could you not pour your heart onto the court right beside the ones changing the numbers on the scoreboard? Being a part of Canisius means you’re a part of something crazy and quirky and heartwarming and ridiculous. It means you’re a part of a family.
Canisius, you have always had my heart and you always will. Griffs til I die, baby.
Glad the cameras were able to catch Aly and me dancing in the stands. Score.