Gratitude by Andy Shenk
March 11, 2012, 2:17 am
Filed under: Sports

I work as a job coach in Dundas, Minnesota for adults with developmental disabilities. I am grateful for this opportunity to serve others, develop my own interpersonal and leadership skills, and earn a paycheck that covers my daily expenses. How many people in the world are so lucky?

The last two days the team for which I root earnestly, the Xavier Musketeers, defeated the University of Dayton and St. Louis University to advance to the finals of the Atlantic 10 Championship Finals. In a season where the team went from #8 in the nation to failing to claim a single significant road win over the last three months, these two victories have been exhilarating. Blessed and grateful accurately describes my spiritual state. This season could easily have ended with the team branded a “failure.” But, it hasn’t, and the team has another game tomorrow against St. Bonaventure. Beyond that, they’ve managed to guarantee themselves a bid to the NCAA Tournament, which begins on Thursday.

The praise for this team is now beginning to trickle in – if they win the A-10 Championship they will inevitably be dubbed the “Comeback Team.” Many will say that this talented team, which struggled for so long, finally learned how to play together and gelled at exactly the right moment. They will be right, of course. Nonetheless, such an analysis leaves out one crucial piece: if the Dayton Flyers’ Chris Johnson knocks down one jump shot at the end of regulation on Friday, Xavier’s tournament and hopes for redemption would have been over. Their team spirit, hustle, and desire to win would have counted for nothing in the eyes of the public. Of course, Johnson missed the shot, Xavier advanced, and played outstanding ball against a great St. Louis squad Saturday. All I can feel is gratitude. I’ve got one more day to watch a great group of guys play basketball together.

Xavier University Musketeers vs. St. Bonaventure University Bonnies, Atlantic 10 Conference Championship Finals.

Sunday, March 11, 2012. 1 PM ET. Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, NJ.


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