It was like we lived a movie. As the final shot fell to the floor, an audible gasp and sigh came from the entire crowd at The Dunkin' Donuts Center. This sigh was followed by a few seconds of silence, then a passionate ovation from every single person in attendance. This was more than polite applause; it was a reaction of respect and admiration. It was like the end or Rudy, or when the Soviets began to cheer for Rocky Balboa. It was the kind of powerful moment that will stay with me, for the rest of my life…
During the American Revolution, the Colonial Army protected Providence, and it was never occupied by the British.
On March 18, 2010… the Colonial Army invaded Providence.
When 155 RMU students boarded their buses 16 hours before tipoff, each of them knew what it meant to be a 15 seed in the NCAA basketball tournament. There's no chance of winning. In the long history of March Madness, it has happened 4 times. There is more likely chance of embarrassment. It was highly probable that 24 total hours on a bus would result in a 40 point blowout… and we all knew it. But, The Colonial Army, from a small insignificant school stood up to the mighty Villanova Wildcats.
A Brief Vocabulary lesson:
A Wildcat is an undomesticated north American feline, such as a Lynx, Puma or Bobcat.
A Colonial is a revolutionary freedom fighter, who stood up against King George and his Mighty British Army, and pulled off the greatest "upset" in history… the American Revolution.
We were very much "Upset Minded." As the bus rolled out of campus, my bus chose to play the movie "The Karate Kid. We watched as Daniel-San learned the how courage, balance and preparation, can defy any odds. If all "Big Schools" are the Kobra Kai, then to us, Villanova was Johnny Lawrence. We believed that RMU was Daniel Larusso, ready to unleash the Crane Kick.
That is exactly what happened. (Except in the Karate Kid, the referees were competent, and made the correct call in the "Sweep the Leg" incident… but I digress.)
It’s a great feeling to think of the entire country, clutching their brackets with sweaty palms, tweeting, googleing, and chatting about "RMU." I like to think that President Obama (who picked Nova to be in his Final Four) was glued to the TV set, shouting "That was a Jump Ball! These Refs are horrible." I like to believe that the entire country was cheering along with the Colonial Army "Rob-ert Mor-ris Clap-Clap-ClapClapClap." For a few hours , we were the best around… and every RMU student felt that power.
In the end, this movie was more like Rocky 1. The insignificant underdog, who never had a chance, went the distance with Apollo Creed. In the end, there was no victory… just a passionate ovation and the respect of the entire country. Do you remember the end of Rocky 2? There will be a sequel, and we will win a game in the tournament.
I learned a lot about our student population on Thursday, from both the students in Rhode Island, and in Moon Township. We are a Wildly Passionate, Upset-Minded, Odds-Defying, Loud and Crazy bunch of original revolutionaries… who have faith in their team and their school… and faith will be rewarded.
I thank you Coach Rice, and all players and staff of the RMU Basketball Team. You delivered one of the greatest moments in the history of Robert Morris University, and have given the Colonial Army more reasons to believe.
--John Locke, assistant director of student life