March Madness

march madnessBy Matthew Olinski — I have to give some recognition to my undergrad alma mater, UW-Milwaukee for making the NCAA tournament as the Horizon League champions.

Sorry Marquette, you did not make it this year, even to the NIT, and as an alumnus if the graduate program, I was equally disappointed by this. As I’m writing this, UWM was just eliminated from the tournament against a very tough matchup. UWM was seen as the underdog by the majority of the nation.

So what does this have to do with anything other than basketball? Quite a bit actually. First and foremost, UWM was picked to finish dead last in the preseason predictions.  Instead of accepting their fate as a foregone conclusion, they went out and won the Horizon League championship.

UWM was given a 15 seed in the NCAA tournament. For those who do not follow college basketball, 16th is the worst seed, a 1 seed is the best. Usually the matchup is strongly in favor if the lower numbered seed.  Again, UWM could just have packed up and headed home, but as those of you who watched the game saw, they played tough against a very difficult opponent, including a minute and a half period where a player had no shoe on for UWM.

Throughout the game, UWM was not afraid to stand up to Villanova. There are so many comparisons that can be drawn from this game and from the others, because several other schools offered upsets. Dayton beating Ohio State is just as significant.

The message could be that although you may not always “win” in the final score, people will see what you stand for and how hard you fight for it.  When people (in general) count you out, how hard are you willing to stand up against the naysayers?

As someone who graduated several years ago from my undergrad program, the maturity that many of the college athletes show and the examples they set are very powerful. As teachers, counselors, custodians, school lunch workers, or anyone else who works in a school, we are also role models and must often figuratively tackle a situation that may be larger than we are used to.  How hard are we willing to fight for what we believe in?

And with that being said, as our last entrant into the NCAA tourney: Go Badgers!  (I know  – that is sacrilegious on this campus). But we also need to stand together as a state.

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