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Shawn Anglin is a sports clerk for The Southern Illinoisan. He also blogs about cars at

I’m still in shock. Villanova actually won the national championship?!?

When North Carolina’s Marcus Paige hit a circus shot that tied the game up, I was asking anyone that would listen: “Why? Why did that just happen?"

Four seconds later, I received my answer when Ryan Arcidiacono made an unselfish and amazing pass to Kris Jenkins who hit a shot that will stand the test of time.

Basketball has always been a big part of my life. One of the first words I ever spoke was “ball.” Growing up, I was always shooting hoops. Outside, at the park, at the gym and on the Nerf hoop in the house.

If I wasn’t playing basketball, I was certainly watching it. As I grew up, I starting learning that basketball was more than just a game.

I was trying to find “my team.” You know, one to live and die with every game, every season. I wanted to root for a team that I could identify with.

I was in high school more than 10 years ago and watching college basketball nearly every night. I caught Villanova playing; I had seen them play a few times. With my interest spiked, I began doing some research into the program.

I had found my team. Villanova always plays hard, together and with pride for their school and one another.

My style of basketball — Four guards. Undersized. Underrated. Tough.

I’ve watched every Villanova basketball game since. I have so much Nova gear that I’ve been asked countless times about the school.

I’ve seen them in person. I’ve met players and coaches. I’d always hoped and prayed that I’d be blessed enough to see them win a national championship in my lifetime.

Basketball can teach us many life lessons. At Villanova, after every huddle the team breaks by saying “one, two, three, ATTITUDE.”

The saying means that in basketball, you can’t control everything. You can’t control a referee’s call. You can’t always control if a shot is going in or if a pass will make it to its intended target. You can’t control many things that happen on the court during a game, but you can always control your attitude on the next play when things don’t go well.

I think about that a lot and it goes beyond the court and into real life. You can’t always control everything you want to, but if you keep a positive attitude, you can adjust quickly when something bad happens and things will normally work out in your favor.

Monday night was a perfect example. Villanova could have hung their heads when Paige made that shot to tie the game. They could have gotten upset, mad and emotional. The game could have gone into overtime and they might have let that shot define the moment.

Instead, they called timeout to gather themselves, stayed together, said "attitude," and the rest is history.

That’s why I’ll always be a Villanova fan. They did it by playing together, for the name on the front of their jersey and not the back.

They won because they kept the right attitude, even though I didn’t for those four seconds.


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