Sunday, February 10, 2013

College Basketball - Storming the Court

Over the last few weeks, Men's College Basketball has been some of the craziest and most compelling regular season sports that I can ever remember. Every week thus far in 2013, the number 1 team in the country has lost and many of those were to unranked or poorly ranked opponents. In addition to that, quite a few other top 5 and top 10 teams have gone down which has created all kinds of chaos and uncertainty in the weekly Top 25 polls.

With all of these upsets comes excitement. And recently, it has also come with student sections across the country storming the court. Just last night, the students at Notre Dame rushed the floor after defeating #11 Louisville in 5 overtimes. Let me repeat that ... they rushed the court after beating the number 11 team in the country even though they were ranked themselves. Why?

I'm sorry to say this, but it's starting to get ridiculous how the students are acting. It's not bad that they are excited and pumped up after a big win ... I understand the desire to celebrate. But back in my day (10 years ago), you only rushed the court after pulling off something truly spectacular. If you're a horrible team that happens to knock off the number 1 team in the country who was favored to beat you by 58 points, that's an excuse to storm the court. But when I turn on the TV to see college students rushing their team after beating Creighton, I know something is wrong.

Why am I having issues with this trend? There's 2 reasons:

1. It's dangerous. Yes, I know that makes me sound like an 85 year old man. However, a few weeks ago in Raleigh my point was proven. After the NC State Wolfpack defeated the Dook Blue Devils (yes, that's how us Tar Heels spell the name of the University located 8 miles down the road in Durham) the student section decided to storm the court. In the process, several students ran over and trampled a kid in a wheelchair!!! Luckily there were not major injuries to that student (that I am aware of) but it was not the first time that students have been injured in similar celebrations.

2. It sends the wrong message to your team. As I mentioned above, storming the court should be saved for major and unexpected accomplishments. When you storm the court, you are admitting to the world "holy crap, I expected us to lose and we didn't." Show more respect for your team and their abilities. Just because you beat a team ranked #7 doesn't mean it was a miracle ... especially when you're in the Top 25 yourself. When was the last time you saw students at North Carolina, Dook, Kansas, or Kentucky storm the floor? You know why they don't? They EXPECT to win. It doesn't mean you can't be excited about the victory, but winning is a culture, and the spectators help build that culture. Stand up, clap for your team, and tell them "great win, enjoy tonight, then get ready for practice tomorrow and go do it again next week."

I appreciate the enthusiasm of students on and off the court in collegiate athletics. Unfortunately, this is one trend that needs to go away. And since you can't expect 18 year old students to truly understand the ramifications of what they are doing, it's time for the University, the coaching staff, and the floor security to take a stand. It's not a bad thing to stay in the stands, it's the right thing.

- Fishy

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