Dear college students,
Your college team upsets the number one team in the nation in an intense, grueling game. The crowd has been anticipating this all game. As the buzzer sounds, the crowd bursts through the gates onto the court to celebrate with the team. This is one of my favorite moments in sports, the upset over the best team that cultivates in the whole school celebrating the victory together. But guess what guys, you are all ruining it.
This celebration isn’t about the huge upset anymore. Now it’s about the home team beating anyone. If the crowd thinks that in any way there is a chance they could rush the court, they’re going to do it.
Come on guys. We’re better than this. Not every moment can be spectacular. If we try to make every game special, none of them become special. That’s not what we want to do when there are actual opportunities that exist within sports in which rushing the court is appropriate. And it’s what I described earlier: monumental upsets in which the game is over. By “over” I mean the buzzer has sounded, the referees have left the arena and the coaches are shaking hands. I definitely don’t mean there is still time on the clock.
This is a great celebration and it is exciting to see everyone enjoying a win in this fashion. But for anyone who saw the New Mexico State vs. Utah Valley college basketball game, it’s easy to see how dangerous a situation can be when there are so many people on the court. In that case, punches were thrown and a brawl broke out. Once again guys, you are ruining it. That game was obviously heated, and I understand that most people’s intentions were not to start a brawl on the court. But that was dangerous. People could have been hurt. Instead of making a moment like that one about enjoying the basketball team’s victory, it became about a bunch of people in close quarters trying to hurt each other.
This kind of issue is embarrassing. It’s not only embarrassing for both teams involved, it’s embarrassing for all of college sports. I don’t want this celebration to be something that has to be completely stopped because it’s too dangerous, but if complications like what happened in the New Mexico State vs. Utah Valley game happen again, maybe college students and athletes are unable to handle rushing the court.
Please don’t make that the case. I don’t even want people to make the argument that we should completely end the rushing-the-court celebration. It’s cool. It’s something that all sports fans want to be a part of. Here in Portland we had one of the best court rushes ever when the Blazers won the NBA Championship in 1977. The fans immediately ran onto the court and climbed on the backboard, creating some of the most famous pictures in Trail Blazers history.
Be smart. Have fun. Enjoy sports for what they are instead of turning them into something they’re not.