Congratulations to the 2016 N.C.A.A. Champions, the Villanova Wildcats!

Today is a happy day because my alma mater, Villanova University, just won the N.C.A.A National Championship in men's basketball.  

People always ask me how I ended up at Villanova University despite being from a very small town in rural Illinois (population 900 and zero stop lights). I explain that my mother is actually from New York City, we visited my grandmother in New Jersey every summer, and my older brother graduated from Georgetown University. In sum, I had ties to the East Coast long before I left for college.  

That being said, why Villanova?  

Their campus is beautiful. It is hard to resist after even a single visit. Their student-professor ratio is small. They are consistently ranked in the Top 50 schools academically. And I could not help but want to attend a college that at least had a chance to win a National Championship.

I grew up playing basketball. I spent my teenage years watching Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. In 2000, when we first started dating, I played a game of 1-on-1 on a Villanova basketball court against my now-husband that lives in infamy. (I am still trying to convince him that elbows are not fouls in women’s basketball).  

It took a little while longer than maybe my younger self may have wished, but the win was worth the wait and possibly that much sweeter for it.

Congratulations again to the Villanova men’s basketball team. We, the fans, owe you our gratitude for your hard work and perseverance. Thank you for allowing us to go along for the ride with you.