In light of the recent success of the Butler men’s basketball team in the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championships, the Butler community, as well as Indianapolis, has grown closer. We have all utilized the team’s success as a reason to unite as we cheer “our team” on to victory. It is a unique experience to see an entire city unite over a simple sport and a simple team.
At the beginning of the tournament, different Indiana residents were cheering for different teams. But as the competitive field was narrowed, the view was narrowed onto Butler.
Although it’s been said that many fans are jumping on the “band wagon,” I think it is so much more than that. It stems from the fact that there is a team in the national spotlight who is representing our state and its residents. We are taking pride in that by supporting Butler throughout the remainder of the tournament.
This year, sportscasters around the nation have been asking, “Who’s the new Butler?” even though Butler is still in the spotlight from last year. I haven’t been able to understand why so many people insist that Butler has had its fifteen minutes of fame and will now slip into the shadows.
Butler making its way to the national championship game last year and this year was not a result of luck or coincidence—it was the result of hard work. While it is enjoyable to beat the odds and be labeled the underdog, it grows tiresome. Perhaps it is time for those who doubt us to accept the fact that Butler has a quality basketball program. I’m not asking for everyone to become instant Butler fans, but simply to respect the quality and talent that our team possesses.
As I drive through downtown Indianapolis and even to my hometown of Franklin, In., I spot people donning Butler t-shirts, hats and jackets. I drive past houses with signs in their front yards proclaiming “Go Dawgs.” I always take pride in seeing fellow residents cheer on Butler. Amidst all the hype of the tournament, conversation can be struck up with any stranger about Butler. It is the one topic of conversation that never grows tiresome.
Butler has repeatedly been referred to as “America’s Team” and it isn’t difficult to understand why. Butler has captured hearts around the nation as well as the hearts of Indiana residents.
Butler is the small school that has for two consecutive years fought its way to the NCAA championship game. It is hard not to root for a team and university that is so small and is succeeding so immensely against powerhouses like Wisconsin, Florida and Pittsburgh.
Butler has the ability to inspire fans across the state and country, as well as energize the nation to cheer for a new team with passion and intensity. The excitement for Butler is definitely contagious as it spreads across our country, engulfing even the smallest cities and towns.
As the tournament nears its end, I take pride in knowing that Butler has made such a significant impact on the country and has united the city of Indianapolis through their victories and hard work on the court. Band wagon or not, it is hard to deny the energy and enthusiasm that accompanies the Butler Bulldogs.