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$chool $pirit

Virginia Commonwealth had just secured a spot in the NCAA Final Four last Sunday when the phone rang.

It was Logan, calling from my college, Butler University, which will be VCU’s opponent in the national semifinals Saturday.

I don’t know Logan from Adam. His call wasn’t to whip up school spirit, but rather to help the school’s annual funding.

“As a graduate, wouldn’t you like to help Butler by making a financial pledge before the fiscal year closes?” Logan politely asked.

Talk about striking while the iron is hot.

“Didn’t I just donate?” I asked him.

“Well, yes, but your additional contribution can help Butler students enjoy the same college experience that you did,” he replied. Logan seemed to have an answer for everything; he’ll have a fine career in business when he graduates.

Butler was the Cinderella of last year’s NCAA tournament when the Bulldogs came within a fraction of an inch of hitting a buzzer-beating, half-court 3-pointer that would have made them the 2010 national champions instead of Duke.

Pride in the city of Indianapolis, and school, swelled and even though Butler lost last year’s final game, the President of the United States called the team afterward.

The 2010 trip to the Final Four was thought to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for a small mid-major school, but someone forgot to explain that to the Bulldogs, who have won one exciting game after another in the tournament to reach this year’s national semifinals. (Check out the winning basket against Old Dominion, final three seconds of the game against Pittsburgh or the overtime win over Florida. Each was a heart-thumper, and don’t call Butler Cinderella anymore.)

As Logan and I spoke, I could almost hear the words to the school fight song:

“We’ll sing the Butler War song. We’ll give a fighting cry. We’ll fight the Butler battle –Bulldogs ever do or die.

In the end, I relented, although as a private joke I’ve sometimes substituted a word in the lyrics relating to the timing of Logan’s call: “We’ll ka-ching the Butler War song….

The check’s in the mail, Logan.

Go Dawgs!

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