It rained all day yesterday.
I think the hardest thing to forget is the sound a crowd makes when something bad happens. Hinkle Fieldhouse was tense last night. Thirteen shots bounced out of rim as if the ball was cursed. The crowd’s collective “awwww” was just as loud as its cheers when Mack got in a 3-pointer just before the half to take us into the lead. The sound was painful. The disappointment was hard to stomach. A man sitting behind me shouted at the screen like a father trying to get his sons to improve their game–his frustration was only the beginning.
As the minutes clicked by and we went scoreless, I couldn’t fathom what was going on. Sure, UConn’s defense was on its game, but what was stopping us from getting those baskets? Also: why did CBS have a premade graphic of Butler’s “poor shooting”?
When it got down to a minute left in the game, I think I got a little choked up. It wasn’t about winning. Sure, I wanted to win. But I wanted our team, who worked so hard and got all the way here, to finally take the Championship we were so close to getting last year. I wanted the Bulldogs to be proud of themselves and at least shrug and say, “Well, we played a good game.”
But I knew they were going to be down on themselves. It was a bad half. A really bad half, the worst half we could have had in the biggest game of the season. So Vanzant and Howard cried in the locker room, and even Brad Stevens got choked up. I hate seeing such an extraordinary group of men feel like that.
And this morning, live from Hinkle Fieldhouse, Channel 13 alleged that the campus was dead, that we obviously lost a piece of the Butler spirit with the game last night. Woman, please. It is 11 AM and we have the day off. We’re sleeping the game away, and then we’re going to welcome our boys home.
“‘They’re scrappy, relentless,’ said Wisconsin junior guard Jordan Taylor. ‘I don’t know, they’re just tough kids. They never quit. That’s what makes them winners.’”