ARTICLE OF THE DAY

Stop the Madness!!!
by Brian North
3/8/06

March Madness is one of the best times of the year. Colleges that don't get much of the limelight for 11 months have a chance for their one shining moment if they can win their conference tournament. You will see the same scene repeated over and over, players and students rushing the court in jubilation. But it's getting to the point where storming the court is becoming obnoxious.

Fans used to rush on the court only after a monumental win, now its done seemingly after every game. But there needs to be some rules to govern the unruly who only join in because of the mob mentality and their ability to create chaos and not get caught. So here are my proposed rules to celebrating big wins.

Rule number 1: Fans may only storm the playing surface five seconds after the clock reaches all zeros. Florida State zealots almost cost the Seminoles a big win over Duke recently when students rushed the court before the game was completed. The foolish act resulted in technical free throws for the Blue Devils, but they weren't enough to over turn the outcome. But you could see that scenario playing out.

Rule number 2: No touching of the opposing players. I have never heard of a case where an opponent was hurt or assaulted in a bum rush, but you have to think it's only a matter of time before some drunken idiot takes a swipe at the other teams best player. If that ever happens, look for plexiglass walls or moats to be implemented to keep fans away from the players.

Rule number 3: Fans may only rush the court after wins over top 10 teams. If they are not ranked in the top 10, then it's a good win, but not court storming worthy.

Rule number 4: If your school is ranked, you may not rush the court in an upset win, even if the opponent is number one. Act like your teams was supposed to beat them.

Rule number 5: Fans may rush the court if their team wins a tournament championship in a conference that doesn't normally get at large bids. But your school has won more than two straight titles, there shall be no storming the court for subsequent consecutive titles.

Rule number 6: Breaking long losing streaks justifies audience participation, but they most involve one full winless season.

Rule number 7: If someone goes down, immediately stop celebrating. A few years ago a high school basketball player in Arizona suffered a stroke in a mid court celebration when he was crushed in the mania and knocked unconscious. It's no fun to get hurt celebrating, be cognoscente of others around you, especially those that are claustrophobic.

Rule number 8: No illegal contact. A big mosh pit with bodies in close proximity is no excuse to get grabby hands and try to cop a feel. Show some respect, let any extra curricular activity be mutual.

Rule number 9: Leave the equipment alone. Field goal posts at most schools have been made fool proof so as not to cost money in replacing the broken equipment. Everything costs too much these days, enjoy your five minutes on the playing surface, then leave empty handed. Be happy with the fact you weren't arrested for trespassing.

Rule number 10: Rush a court or field once in your life, but not more than five times. Make it special, not an annual act of hooliganism.

Enjoy March and all the great memories it has to offer, but keep the madness in check, and only unleash it for the special times.

Brian North
bnorth@wcti12.com