Duke Wins NCAA Lacrosse Championship.

Duke-Lacrosse-Ball-ROHYesterday Duke won the NCAA National Championship in Division I Men’s Lacrosse over Syracuse University 16 – 10.

The game did not start out well for Duke as they found themselves down 5 – 0 early in the second quarter.

When asked what he was thinking about losing by that much after the game, Duke Coach John Danowski said “I thought it was over.”

But it wasn’t over – not by a long shot.

Duke want on a 12 – 1 run and never looked back. It was an amazing performance in a championship game that was played in front of 24,000 people at the Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

At the end of the game and with the victory in hand, Duke did something very classy and sportsmanlike. The first was with time still on the clock, a Duke attackman had the ball in front of the open net. He could have scored easily as time ran out. It would have meant adding his name to the record books, but he didn’t shoot. He held onto the ball and let the game end.

The second thing happened after the game. There was the typical whooping and hollerin’, and there were the team managers passing out tee-shirts and hats proclaiming Duke as the champions for the Duke players to wear.

Like many sports, lacrosse has a tradition of shaking hands with the other team after a game. So while Duke was celebrating, the Syracuse players and coaching staff waited.

Coach Danowski pulled his team together for the last time. He gave them the ol’ “we played like champions and how proud he was of them and their team effort” speech.

And then he told them to take off the championship hats and shirts.

He said that Syracuse was a great team with a proud tradition and the Blue Devils weren’t going to “rub it in their faces” that Duke had won. “It was a privilege to play such a great team as Syracuse,” he told his team.

We thought that was very well said. Not only was it well said, but Duke’s actions matched their words. The players took off their shirts and hats and shook the Syracuse player’s hands.

No chest pumping. No lapel popping. No taunting of a defeated foe.

We have always thought that lessons on the playing fields translate into real life.

Danowski’s lesson to his players is one we all need to remember.

Congratulations to the Blue Devils.

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