As fans, we celebrate the big wins and moan the losses. But this season we are learning the vital importance of resilience and the simple refusal to quit. Maybe we should call it grit.
Saturday’s Gopher men’s basketball game at Michigan was a study in true grit. Without a center and lacking reserve strength, the Gophers took the home team into over time with the game only settled in the final three seconds. Rest assured, not one Michigan fan walked out not thanking their lucky stars.
What I saw was excellent coaching featuring a variety of different rotations and styles that kept Michigan off guard and the defense was excellent.
But I also saw an offense that moved the ball swiftly, found the relatively open man and committed few turnovers.
If I were a recruit or looking for a great place to play next fall, it would be with the Gophers and my favorite arena – the Barn. Pitino has superbly brought his young talent around and they are emerging as solid big time players. Washington, from my childhood area of the Bronx, Harris, Hurt, and Fitzgerald are proving their potential but also showing that they have the character to win. And Mason, the departing senior, is not only the top player but also as good a floor leader as there is in basketball.
As one who was skeptical of the selection of Richard Pitino as coach, I am now a full convert. When the going got tough, he showed me he is ready to take on the big boys and win.
No, this team is my kind of team – playing unselfishly, playing smart and refusing to give up.
That is true grit – thanks guys.