The City of Philadelphia and its people take a great deal of pride in any number of things – and rightly so. From great food and fantastic culture to a history older than America itself, there is so much to appreciate about the place we call home. But ask any Philadelphian what they are most proud of and they will tell you, perhaps in their own way, it’s the City’s indomitable spirit.
Last night, the Villanova Wildcats men’s basketball team embodied that spirit and showed it to the world. The North Carolina Tarheels were bigger, faster, and more talented according to all the pundits. To be fair, no one claimed Villanova did not belong in the title game; but most thought the coronation of North Carolina was imminent. They were just too good.
But the people that had the most to say about that – the Villanova players – had yet to have their say. And did they ever have their say.
From the start of the game, Villanova’s players played for each other and as a team. When things looked tough in the first half, they hung in and fought harder. Then things started to turn in the second half. Villanova built a lead…until it slowly seemed to be slipping away to the “more talented team”. And then it happened, the sucker punch. North Carolina tied it up with a little less than 5 seconds left.
While everyone around them appeared jolted, there was a steely reserve about the Villanova players. And their coach, Jay Wright, looked in complete control. It was almost as if the players decided it could not be any other way. After all, we are from Philadelphia and we know what it means to get knocked down and have to get back up.
(Photo courtesy of the Washington Post)
In fine fashion.
Kaplin Stewart congratulates the Villanova Wildcats on their well-deserved National Championship. And we’re glad you did it in a way that represents all of us in this great city so well.
You were Philly strong, and we’re proud of you.