Courtside audience: to storm or not to storm?
You may be familiar with a trend that is popular on college campuses across the nation. This trend or phenomenon only occurs at sporting events during moments of magic, where the number one team is upset by the underdog.
The phenomenon I am referring to (which would sum up the David vs. Goliath story) is known as the “court storm.” This season in college basketball, nothing has been guaranteed more than the storming of the court by exhilarated fans in ecstasy and jubilee, witnessing their beloved faithful take down a giant program.
Apparently, this season in NCAA hoops has been unprecedented with the amount of top five teams going down on a weekly basis, to programs that fans would never have dreamt of defeating.
It happened just last Thursday when the number one Duke Blue Devils were upset by the Virginia Cavaliers on ESPN. The Cavs fans of VU got an earful from Duke coach, Mike Krzyzewski, who made it quite clear he did not appreciate how the fans took to the court after the monumental Duke loss.
This was one time in a string of many that the court was engulfed with crazy fans after a number one team met its downfall.
Now, come on. Everyone knows that the Duke Blue Devils are definitely the Goliath of the hoops world in the NCAA. To even beat the Duke Blue Devils and the legendary Coach Krzyzewski is a prospect most teams can’t even picture in their wildest dreams.
But that is just what the Cavaliers did, and the “court storm” that happened after, is exactly what the John Paul Jones Arena experienced that night.
However, I have to admit that despite his bitter and stinging criticism, Coach Krzyzewski has a point in addressing the stark danger and carelessness associated with court storming. You have to keep in mind that there is very little to no order to a court storm.
Let’s face it, hundreds of fans taking to the court in a moment of excitement and astonishment isn’t necessarily the safest activity in the world.
As a matter of fact, I’d hate to be the guy who gets caught in the middle of the stampede face down with hundreds of students treading over me.
For North Carolina State student Will Privette, that’s exactly what happened. Privette, who is a diehard Wolfpack fan, and bound for life to a wheelchair after losing his right shinbone, decided to storm the court with his fellow NC State students.
It didn’t end well though, as freshman guard Rodney Purvis was pushed into Privett, knocking the young man down onto the court.
Fortunately, NC State’s star, CJ Leslie, helped Privette off the ground and hoisted him above his shoulders in what seemed homage to a fan dedicated enough to take that big a risk.
This is heartwarming to say the least, but it brings some important scenarios to the table regarding court storming. Where are we supposed to draw the safety lines when it comes to this part of university tradition that nearly every campus in America dreams about pulling off?
Though Privette’s case is unique because he is in a wheelchair, I must admit that he has more testicular fortitude than anyone I know. Storming the court is a dangerous act and doing it when you are fastened to a wheelchair is a whole other case.
One thing that Coach Krzyzewski touched upon in his criticism of the Virginia student body’s “court storming” was that there wasn’t proper procedures taken to ensure the safety of the Duke players and coaches.
That’s a concern to address too, because one night, the fury that is taking the court by storm may not let up for anyone; that all-engulfing mass of pandemonium may or may not be mindful of the opposing side or even a helpless member of the student body restrained by an unfortunate circumstance.
While there are obvious dangers associated with court storming, the matter of taking to the court after an epic, even historic victory is ingrained in college culture. Sure, it happens in pro sports too sometimes, but there’s just something about NCAA sports that excuses this type of behavior.
To storm the court after witnessing your team pull off an upset is one of the greatest feelings in the world; part of the reason is because you can literally see and feel the wave of excited students.
A court storm is akin to saying, “Wow, I just experienced a moment in sports that may never be replicated again.” If it is replicated, however, the same phenomenon occurs because the victory is just as sweet as it was that first time.
Therefore, I advocate the act of court storming. It could be because I never got to experience one, or it could be because I can reason with students who want nothing more than to share in the excitement with their fellow peers.
It can be said that there is emotion in real life, and then there is emotion in sports. While there should definitely be precautionary measures taken to ensure the furthest extent of bystander safety, the “court storm” is one staple of campus life that is far too emphatic to strip away from the student body. Just like NC State faithful Will Privette taught us that night, the “court storm” is indeed a risk; a risk that some are willing to take.