Monday, March 4, 2013

Raiders of a Lost Art

 picture courtesy of

Think for a minute about the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark and when Indiana Jones is running fearfully away from that immense boulder just barrelling down on him like a runaway freight train.  He is feverishly scrambling every which way in order to get himself out of harms way.  Danger lurking at every angle he finally reaches the outside and safety. 

It was exciting to see, exiting to experience, and dangerously fun for all.  It was definitely well worth the price of admission!

Not unlike a potential storming of home court after a dramatic last second win or huge program altering upset.

This example brings me to what has transpired this past week when Duke and Virginia hooked up for an ACC battle.  The up and coming Virgina Cavaliers finally downed a Blue Devils team they hadn't beaten in many many a try.  

The students ultimately stormed the court and chaos ensued.  Coach K wasn't the least bit amused and was very upset at the reaction of the students towards him and his players.  He didn't come out and say he wanted court storming to be banned but he just wants his players safe.

Court storming needs to stay in college basketball.  This is as much a part of college basketball these days as the three point shot or the one and done rule. 

The students who make up every teams fan base makes college basketball the special sport it is.  The raw emotion of wanting your school to prevail against a top ranked team or heated rival is unquestionably why storming the court is so awesome.

If you have ever been a part of this process it has to be awe inspiring.  To be one of the mad dashers has to be exhilarating.  I have never been in the scrum but have been in the building when one is taking place.

Andy Kaufman and a buzzer beater...yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!
 I was lucky enough to score tickets and attend the Illinois versus Iowa contest when Andy Kaufmann drained the now famous three and the Orange Krush just attacked him and the rest of the Illini players.  I was beside myself and wanted desperately to be a part of the moment.  It was pure joy!  It is a memory I will cherish forever. 

It is such a rush that your emotions just take over your body, even watching it from afar.  It is hard to hold back when your adrenaline is pumping full force and you just have to hug everyone you see and "be in the moment". 

This only happens in college basketball and to a certain extent the high school level.  When you are playing for the name on the front of the jersey as opposed to the name on the back of the jersey it makes all those involved part of a family.

When Dee Brown was roaming the halls of Assembly Hall he would constantly puff out his Illinois chest and let everyone in America know this was Illinois basketball.  This is what storming the court brings to the table.  Students are in college for only a short time and then we all have to grow up and become adults.  

Why not let loose and experience the moment as long as it is genuine.  Illinois knocking off #1 Indiana and storming the court is legit. 

Hypothetically, Northwestern beating Penn State not so much. 

You don't want storming the court to be come cliche but it can easily get to that point if fans just want to be "part" of the game.

There is a great deal of this going on these days and it has lost some of its luster as it seems teams and their fans are just waiting to storm the court when it really isn't warranted.  It is beginning to become a lost art. 

We need to get back to why this act was so special and not make it cheap and petty.   

I understand the act-like-you-have-been-there-before argument, as well as, the safety aspect that Coach K was upset with last week.  Both are valid arguments but sometimes you just have to explode and celebrate.

I was listening this past week to Mike and Mike in the Morning, on ESPN, and they had former coach Dan Dakich on and he was asked his opinion on this issue.  His response was shocking to them.  He mentioned during his days at Bowling Green he had a player who was, in his mind, an NBA talent injured during a storming and it otherwise ended his career and Dakich's too as a coach. 

Yet, he would still encourage the fans and students to storm the court because it is what college basketball is all about.  I found this very interesting.  He and this player basically had their careers ended when an occurrence happened during a court storming and he still loves it so much he would encourage it. 

It shows his love of the game of basketball and how much he understands the fans love of the game and their team. 

The next time you are attending a basketball game and it looks like an upset or buzzer beater may just happen remember that the hoards and hoards of fans out there storming the court for the love of the game is good for college basketball. 

We have enough art forms in our world taken away from us and storming the court is an art that we definitely don't want to be lost and stored away in some massive warehouse.

1 comment:

  1. Only someone my age will have experienced this.

    But back in the day, at football games, fans use to rush out on the field and pull down the goal post.

    Going back, yet farther, fans would actually be on the field at baseball games separated from the players with ropes, and would go onto the field after the last out, and sometimes as the last out was being recorded.

    So, I expect it is matter of time until basketball will be under the same restraints. I’m too old to rush the court, but for those of you who can, enjoy the moment.