When I stepped out of the San Antonio airport Friday morning, I thought about the possibility of weekend success for my Huskies and I thought about the fans from the other schools thinking the same thing.
I thought about the attitude I could expect from each.
Having met Kentucky fans at previous UConn basketball games, I knew what to expect out of those from Lexington: hubris and a holier-than-thou outlook. To them, the outcome of the game didn’t matter—Kentucky was still going to better than anyone else would ever be.
An East Coast state of mind prepared me for the attitude from VCU fans: haughty disrespect for the traditions of other schools, as if a new era had begun with the Rams making the Final Four.
I expected Butler fans would have a cocky swagger about being in their second straightFinal Four.
So I thought.
When waiting in line for wristbands at the Reliant Center, my friends and I had the opportunity to chat with some Butler fans about basketball, undergraduate population and the gripes we had about the NCAA.
We had views to share, and the “Dawg Pound” was not hesitant to share theirs with us.
Although UConn won on the scoreboard, Butler University won when it came to making an impression.
Butler clearly cares about its students, as shown by the compiling of affordable travel packages—something UConn did not even consider—and the desire to nationally showcase its students’ pride at a high level. The variety of cheers and a unified student section showed how much everyone cares, not just about the team or about winning, but about each other and the university as a whole.
But the defining factor of my numerous, lengthy conversations with these students was their utmost intelligence, thoughtfulness and total unwillingness to portray Butler in a bad light.
They did so by being honest and true, by promoting their school without putting down others and by showing a willingness toward friendship while keeping healthy competition alive. I cannot express enough how great of a feeling it was to stand next to these students, from vastly different roots and with the opposite rooting interest, and talk for hours as if we were lifelong friends.
In my eyes, I’ve gained quite a few friends in this process, along with a steadfast respect for Butler.
To those I remember and to those I don’t, keep doing what you’re doing. You call it the “Butler Way.” I wish “Husky Honor” was even half as prevalent.
Senior, University of Connecticut