Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Another old man worries about student safety

After the Illini's 78-73 victory over Michigan State, there was ESPN's king of the cliche Dick Vitale to rain on the parade of joy as the students rushed the court.
Dick did his best Andy Rooney impression and complained that 'someone was going to get hurt', and that there was 'no reason' for the students to rush the court.  

First of all, I have watched countless games called by Dickie, many of them ACC battles, and never heard him take this stance before.  So allow me to yell DOUBLE STANDARD, and ACC BIAS at Dick. 

Now that I have that out of my system, let me really break down the idea that rushing on to the court after a win is "dangerous".

What happens when the student section rushes the court is a couple hundred kids make the treacherous journey through Mordor with the hopes of freeing themselves from the power of the ring by throwing it in a pit of fire while Sauron's army haunts their every step.

So I lied, that was an example of something that is actually dangerous. 
All that really happens when the students rush the court is that they travel from their court-side seats the center of the court and then jump around for a little while with their players, as the defeated team dejectedly heads for the locker room. 
Wow, I can imagine the horrific injuries that could result, I mean someone could trip and skin their elbow and then get torn to pieces by a Nazgul.

Seriously, the worst case scenario here is that someone turns an ankle or bangs their knee against the hardwood floor. 
So by Dick's rational, no one should ever play basketball again.  Because it's dangerous and someone could get hurt.
Also, these people are in college.  C'mon, if you aren't doing anything in college where you could hurt yourself, then you're not doing it right. 

The very idea that rushing the floor is dangerous should be insulting to young people everywhere. 
Drinking and then climbing trees is dangerous, drinking and then riding your bike through traffic is dangerous, drinking and then making fun of Illini football players to their face is dangerous, going to Fubar is dangerous, but rushing the court falls in the not dangerous catagory of college activities.

A more valid arguement against rushing the court, was brought up by 670 the Score's Lawrence Holmes last night.  What he said was that basically, the rushing should have been beneath the Illini fans.  Michigan State was without their best player, and the U of I fans should have acted like 'they'd been there before' as a program that would like to be considered elite.

This is the best arguement against rushing the court, but I have 5 reasons that they should get a pass this time.

1. MSU has owned the Illini recently, winning the last 5, and 7 of 8.  The win was a breakthrough against the premier Big Ten team

2. The Illini have obviously fallen on hard times in recent years.  It has been 5 seasons since the Illini have been a national contender, and beating a top-5 team is a big deal considering where we have been recently.

3.  It has been a long while since the students have been on the court at the AH.  According to my memory, the last time was in the 05-06 after Rich McBride appeared to hit the game-winner against Penn State, only to have the replay show it to be after the buzzer.  So the last time was 4 years ago, and they lost the game.  The Krush was due to rush the court.

4.  The impact that the game had on this years Illini team was huge.  Dickie V was calling the game a "must-win" and it was true.  This team has potential, but it had trudged through the Big Ten season, and this game was a huge win, in terms of confidence and the NCAA tourney chances.

5.  Gameday was there.  The Illini students had been there all day long getting pumped up for the game, posing for ESPN and giving their broadcast energy, and when the Illini broke through and won, punctuated by Mike Davis cherry-picking himself a dunk, all that anticipation broke free and they rushed onto the court, only to have some ESPN commentator critisize them. 
The kids deserved it, after all the cheering, let them enjoy it with the players. 

You are only a college student once, but you can be a horrible color commentator for the rest of your life.


  1. Excited about the Illini (for the first time in a few years)? I sure am. Even if the last two ranked opponents we beat did not bring their best games to play us, I enjoyed seeing the Orange Krush rush the floor and the Grateful Red leave the game with a minute left to play in Madison. We still have a rough finish to the season, but this week has made me believe we belong in the tournament. Go Illini!

  2. And I want to add a comment about rushing the court. Being one of the first two celebrants at Green and 6th street after beating Louisville, I had a pair of prescription glasses kicked off my head by a crowd surfer and put my hand in a puddle of puke looking for them. The glasses were broken and cost a lot to get fixed, but the experience was totally worth it. I say rush the court if the win justifies it. I will agree with Nate K on this one that the win over the Spartans may not have justified it, but the Krush earned their chance after a hard day's work of cheering from Saturday morning (early morning for Nate K) to late (very late for me) Saturday night.

  3. Rushing the court was definitely warranted. It was the team's biggest win in five seasons.

    If we lose that game at the end, after keeping it close, it would have ended our NCAA hopes. I don't think the team would have recovered. Pulling off the win gives us a quality win (of course) and confidence going into the toughest stretch of the season.

    Do you think we would have played as well against Wisconsin if we had lost to Michigan State?


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