My Letter to Loyola’s 2018 Men’s Basketball Team

Courtesy of Bernie TarréDuring the course of the Loyola men’s basketball’s historic 2018 season, the team gave Sister Jean, the university and city a spectacle and an immeasurable amount of joy.

To the Ramblers: Thank You.

Thank you. Thank you for giving Sister Jean some of the happiest days of her life, for unifying the student body and for creating a community based on the spirit nobody thought we had. Thank you for taking our school’s name to the highest level of college basketball. Thank you for believing in yourselves and making us all proud.

It’s weird for me to write these words; I don’t know you personally, but I’ve watched you for a while now. As a basketball lover and sports fanatic, I have been going to the team’s home games since my first year in 2015. I’ve seen you grow athletically and become the family you are today. So, every time I read the team’s hashtag, #CreatedByCulture, I get the chills; I know what you’re talking about.

It takes time, sacrifice and a strong will. It’s a process; you believed in it and took the silent road. Your commitment to your sport and to the team was fruitful, and I couldn’t be happier for you. Not everyone gets to see their work pay off or their dreams come true, but rejoicing in other people’s happiness can also be gratifying. It was for me. Watching you get yourselves into the Final Four gave me the chance to experience a dream I had long forgotten. From the last home game in a sold-out Gentile Arena, to cheering in the crowds of San Antonio while trying to contain my overarching pride, you gave me the joy of living the dream of experiencing Loyola as a sports school. And I’ll always be thankful for that.

My heart goes out to the graduating players — Donte Ingram, Ben Richardson, Aundre Jackson, Carson Shanks, Nick DiNardi and Tyson Smith — because saying goodbye is never easy. Know your legacy will never be forgotten and your hard work and sacrifice will forever be treasured.

This team will always be remembered; you’ve inspired children, empowered young teenagers, captivated the country and gifted the city of Chicago with absolute joy. You really changed the history of the program and the university. I hope those making administrative decisions and the student body can appropriately respond to this gift you have given us.

My wish for you all is that the future brings more good basketball to your lives, and one day, when you look back, you remember the journey leading to these past few weeks with absolute joy and not a single regret.

It’s funny I get to thank you for all you’ve done, and all you did was do what you do best, what you love most — basketball. Regardless, all I have to say is thank you. Truly, thank you.


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