We all know the story by now: The Butler Bulldogs put together Cinderella-like runs to back-to-back NCAA tournament championship games, and lost. Both times. The first loss was heartbreaking; the second was disheartening.
But I don’t think anyone can call them failures.
“We were the national champion runner-ups, but people didn’t treat us that way,” Brad Stevens said in an ESPN article. “The next day, President Obama called our office and put our whole team on speakerphone. He talked about how they’d captivated sports fans across America, and the positive way we handled it all, and how we had lots to be proud of.”
That type of national exposure alone created a huge win for the university, the team, and its fans.
So, what’s next? What did the team learn from two bittersweet runs to the national championship game?
What did we, as fans, learn? How important is the final score? Will we continue to support the team when they struggle? (see the article: For Butler, the road back is bumpy and Butler falls on hard times…)
What will alumni cherish from our school’s moment in the spotlight?
I, for one, loved that the players went to class on the day of the final game, that I got to watch the game with my dad in the cheap seats at Lucas Oil Stadium, and that we have become everyone’s favorite underdog. If that’s not success, I don’t know what is.
This post was written by Kristen Fuhs Wells, director of communications for Indiana Humanities. Kristen is an avid Butler fan, supporter and alum.