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Tonight, Butler University defeated Michigan State to advance to the championship game of the Men’s NCAA Tournament on April 5, 2010. When the tournament began two weeks ago, most people were picking Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse among others to advance to the title game. Although Butler has had a tremendous season, they were not expected to make it all the way the final game. Except, there were obviously some people who did expect it. These were the Butler players and coaches. A couple of years ago, Herm Edwards was the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. In an interview, he was quoted, “You play to win the game!” That quote has been played numerous times by the media, in part because of his intensity and his emotion in delivering that quote. The fact that Butler has made it to the championship is no fluke. They made it in part because of talented players, great coaching and also because they BELIEVED. They played to win the game.  Their story is why we play sports. It is why we put on uniforms and lace up our shoes. It is why when the ball is tipped, when the first pitch is thrown or the first tee shot is hit, we play. I have numerous times mentioned the quote I was taught years ago, “Sports is the greatest theatre in the world, everyone knows their part, but no one knows what will happen.” Butler University is a great example of why this makes so much sense. To them, their accomplishment is not an upset, it is a belief in their abilities, talents and leadership. Obviously, they did not care what all of the experts predicted would happen, or what round they would fall out of the tournament. They just believed in themselves and who they were. It did not matter who they were playing, what mattered was that THEY were playing. It did not matter what the name on the other jersey was, what mattered was that THEIR names were on THEIR jerseys. What they have accomplished this season is why we play the game, because we can believe and we can succeed if we put our heart, our souls, our talents and most importantly, our minds totally into our game.

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