Found an interesting read this morning by ESPN The Magzine’s Rick Reilly. He tackled the suddenly controversial topic of fans rushing the court. Apparently he thinks it is happening way too much in college basketball. He cited several examples, one of which was the USC fans rushing the court after its win over then #1 ranked Kentucky.
I agree and disagree with Reilly’s point. First, I agree that fans are storming the court far too often in college basketball. I thought his line of “It’s like walking down the aisle: If you do it more than twice in your life, you’re doing it wrong” was a perfect analogy.
Like so many other great traditions, storming the court has become watered down because we see it on television on an almost nightly basis. Plain and simple, it really is happening way too much these days.
It is also dangerous. And in the SEC, it is illegal and expensive. Just ask USC about its 25 thousand dollar check for its celebration against the Wildcats. Some people have criticized the SEC for the rule, but I completely understand it.
Fans have no business being on the field of play. Ever. Just like players and coaches should never go into the stands. If a fan runs on the court and taunts a player and gets cold cocked it is his own fault. If a player runs into the stands and gets beer thrown on him that’s his problem. Keeping the participants and the fans separated is a good idea for obvious reasons. Sure most fans and players will conduct themselves civilly but there is always the one jerk that ruins it for everyone.
However, there are going to be times, those special times, when everyone gets caught up in the moment and the emotion carries onto the court or field after a big win. It is part of sports that has always and will always exist. The part of Reilly’s column that I disagreed with was calling out USC fans for rushing the court against Kentucky. This was a GREAT time to celebrate. It was the school’s first win over a number one ranked team. The problem is the Gamecock fans watered it down by rushing the court in 2005 against the Cats. Just another reason why you should pick your places wisely.
Clemson fans aren’t without blame here too. They rushed the court after their home win against North Carolina earlier this season. Had that been to clinch the ACC regular season title I would have understood. Sort of. I guess. As it stands the fans rushed to court to celebrate a win over an NIT team. The same team the College of Charleston beat this season. Congrats.
Come on folks, lets act like we’ve been there before. Even if we haven’t Because then, when we do finally get there, no one will blame us for enjoying it to its fullest.