For those of you who know college basketball, all I need to say is that it's March 15th and we are still playing. For those of you who don't… that's kind of a big deal.
My husband is an assistant coach for MIT Men's Basketball team. If you didn't know before now that MIT had a basketball team, you are about to.
For the first time in the school's 100+ year basketball history, the team is headed not just to the NCAA tournament, but to the Final Four. Having only lost one game all season they are leaving Cambridge for Salem, VA with the best record in the school's history and a chance to make history again by bringing home the Championship. You are about to see them on ESPN, hear about them on NPR and maybe even Sports Illustrated. With headline's like; “MIT Who?” and “Revenge of the Nerds!”. They are about to show folks how it's done.
The stories will talk about their incredible record and team of talented athletes that also happen to be engineering whiz kids. They will talk about how they have to balance the intense workload of their classes with the growing intensity of the season, and how these student/athletes are the future leaders of America. They will talk about excellence, and they should.
What they won't talk about is integrity. And they should.
One of the single greatest virtues of this program is the integrity with which it is run, and if you have been watching the news lately, or know anything about collegiate athletics, you will know what an enormous feat that is these days. From the Head Coach, Larry Anderson, to the coaching staff, to the athletic department, this program is squeaky clean and earning what they get every step of the way. There are no athletic scholarships at MIT. You have to GET IN to MIT on your own, then you can play basketball. There is no 'athlete tier' grading or class schedule either. They have to go to class and make their grades just like every other brilliant kid on campus. Sometimes having to take a test the morning of a game and always studying into the wee hours after practice. There is an in-it to win-it attitude that is built the old-fashioned way, with sweat, dedication, passion and hard work. These guys bust their butts and I couldn't be more impressed.
So, if you have a spare favor with the basketball gods to call in, use it on the Engineers (our mascot is a vicious looking beaver…nature's engineer. I'm serious). We are also accepting crossed fingers, toes, prayers, traditional dances and good ju ju.
No matter what the outcome, congratulations Coach! You guys earned this and we are so so proud of you!
See you in Salem!
Great Photo by: Dawn Anderson