Villanova. What images does it conjure when you hear that name? For me and likely for many of you, I see a young man named Ryan Arcidiacono passing to a young man named Kris Jenkins, who then tosses it in the basket with mere seconds on the clock. Then I see an image of a sea of blue and white celebrating wildly. Streamers. Tears of happiness.

The Villanova Wildcats men’s basketball team won the NCAA Championship. There was a similar celebration in my living room, I must tell you. I was blessed with the opportunity to attend Villanova for several semesters and even more blessed to have a dad who taught there for 27 years. We are part of ’Nova Nation. And thanks to an amazing group of Villanova athletes, everyone in southeastern Pennsylvania joined that team. The local boys made us all feel elated, like we were a part of something amazing spectacular. And that’s a good feeling.

This is an interesting phenomenon. For weeks, my wardrobe changed. I alternated ’Nova shirts and wore them proudly. Suddenly, I was part of a bigger family. People smiled at me in the hallways; complete strangers talked to me at the store. “Nice game,” they’d say, and I’d agree, saying, “Yep! We played a heck of a game, didn’t we?” As if I had anything to do with winning. But I am part of the family. And I supported my team.

My team. Isn’t that interesting? When a team plays well, it’s “my team.” But when they lose? “Those guys stink.” The funny thing is, if you’re a sports fan, you still root for them, you still watch every game. You are part of that family. You either celebrate or you commiserate with your fellow fans, but you stay loyal and cling to hope that “there’s always next year.” As a die-hard fan of Philadelphia sports teams, I know that line very well. And yet, I continue to be a fan.

This is not limited to the sports world. It goes for all aspects of life. You tend to gravitate to people with interests similar to your own. I see it often in my work at Brittany Pointe Estates, a retirement community. There are dozens of clubs and groups and committees here. There are two theater groups, one of which I run. The cast and crew of each of these groups work together for months on end, rehearsing, writing, singing, playing music, etc. The camaraderie that grows from this is something words cannot describe. The theater family is close-knit.

If you are not sure where to go or what to try, form your own group with your friends! Get together with them and create your own “family” based on your interests and likes. Get creative, be different and have fun.

Inclusion. Being part of something. It is a great feeling. And something that we all need. Whether it’s an exercise group, a singing or acting group, a card group, or some other group based on specific interests, I highly recommend being part of one. And who knows? Maybe your group can excel like those Villanova boys. Or maybe, just maybe, you’ll get to experience that wonderful bond of your “chosen” family. For me, that’s enough.

Terry Alburger is the resident services director at Brittany Pointe Estates, an ACTS Retirement-Life Community in Upper Gwynedd. Email thoughts to