For the first time in the history of the Syracuse University basketball program, both the men’s and women’s teams have reached the Final Four of the NCAA tournament. For the firs time in the schools history, the Women’s team has reached the Final Four. The Syracuse Men’s basketball team is one of only four in the history of the NCAA to reach the Final Four as a double digit seed.
The Men’s team have flown under the radar almost all year. Approaching selection day there were many who thought Syracuse would not be considered as an option to enter this year’s NCAA tournament. The day Syracuse was selected as a 10 seed the haters came crawling out of the woodwork bashing Syracuse and the selection committee’s decision to include SU. Coming back from controversy, suspensions, and sanctions which resulted in a reduction of scholarships, and would have hobbled any program, Syracuse rose above the haters and has become one of the most electric teams to grace the game this year.
The success of Syracuse Basketball in the NCAA tournament is no coincidence and it is no strike of fate. These victories, this success, is resonant of the people and the city of Syracuse itself. Some took to Twitter to compare the Men’s comeback as being reflective of the day their introduction to the Final Four took place: Easter – A day that many celebrate as the day of resurrection; the day of death coming back to life. From a more than significant deficit, the Men’s team, lead by Coach Boeheim, applied pressure and focused in on the prize, a trip to Houston and a chance at the title game.
The City of Syracuse is on the verge of a comeback. Syracuse is experiencing deficit itself: A national story on the extreme poverty in Syracuse concentrated among Blacks and Hispanics. An unemployment rate higher than the Nation’s. A high crime rate. And a City needing change and growth. But Syracuse is on the brink of a comeback.
The comeback story and success of the Syracuse Basketball program is what this city needs right now. Syracuse needs to see a comeback from one of its own. We need to see that Syracuse can fight. We can grow. We can change the game plan. We can ignite success and we can create a better tomorrow for the next generation. Like Malachi Richardson in the Elite 8 game against Virginia, we may have had a rough first half, not playing to our potential, but the second half is here and we’re poised for our turnaround.
Syracuse is a City that can change and adapt. We have new businesses opening everywhere. There are entrepreneurs that are finding Syracuse and Central New York to be the most fertile ground to plant their roots. Organizations like Believe in Syracuse are helping to change our neighborhoods and create a better future. Our locally owned restaurant industry rivals most cities in the United States and the industry is continuing to grow.
The people of Syracuse and Central New York can rally around our City and Region just like we have rallied around our Syracuse Orange. By spending our money at locally owned businesses we can improve Syracuse and strengthen our local economy. Studies show with locally owned businesses, 32% of those dollars will stay in the local community versus 16% when spent with a national chain. We can show our support for organizations like Believe in Syracuse, The Rescue Mission, SyracuseFirst, and McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center to make Syracuse great again.
While most of Syracuse and the Nation will set its focus on April 2nd and Houston, Texas as the Orange prepare for the next chapter in their NCAA tournament run, we can set our focus on the next chapter of our City. We will set our coordinates for a better tomorrow and focus today on the steps we must take to prepare a better Syracuse and a better Central New York for our children. Someone once said “A wise man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children.” I ask the people of Syracuse and Central New York, “What will the inheritance be for our children’s children?” Hopefully a better City and a better Region.
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