Column: Act like we've been there
This weekend will be a great, great moment for UConn. Win or lose, Saturday and Sunday - and possibly Monday and Tuesday - will be a showcase of the school and its athletic program.
For the fourth time in 10 years, both sets of Huskies - men and women - have made the Final Four. Only 11 times total has that happened in NCAA history. Outside of Storrs, no school has done it more than once.
Students should take pride in that, no doubt. It's an incredible accomplishment. It's thrust our beloved university to the center of the college basketball, sports and popular culture universe (see: Late Night with Jimmy Fallon).
But when this weekend comes around, it'll be time for students to have some pride in themselves.
By now, you've all seen the Instagram pictures, YouTube videos, blog posts and newspaper stories from the aftermath of UConn's win against Michigan State on Sunday.
It started off as an awesome display of pride - dozens, then hundreds, then seemingly thousands of students congregating on Fairfield Way. It was capped off by a flash-mob style version of the UConn bench's 3-point celebration, a giant circle of students swinging their arms in unison.
The issue was what sat in the middle of that circle. I cringed when I saw the flames, the embers, the ash.
Yes, I'm aware that the majority of the fires set in the Fairfield Way "riot" were merely copies of The Daily Campus, not school property, couches or the like. I'm also aware that the Storrs version of postgame rioting was tame in comparison to the scenes in Arizona, Dayton and other schools this March, where cops with riot shields have become a common sight.
Frankly, I don't care.
Those smoldering flames charred an otherwise great weekend in Husky Nation. What could have been an incredible display of camaraderie and school spirit turned into a story highlighted by a few acts of idiocy.
This isn't the first time we've seen this at UConn, either. After the national championship in 2004, video footage from Storrs was mocked by Jon Stewart. In 2011, the destruction was a bit more mild, but it was still there.
What will never make sense is the logic behind these selfish, stupid actions. "I love my school, so let's rip it limb by limb, set it ablaze and give it a bad name as the eyes of the nation are upon it," seems like pretty poor reasoning.
So when the Huskies take to the court again this weekend, take notice. Act responsibly. Realize that, win or lose, the country is watching. An incredible act of school pride will be noticed by some, but one act of lunacy will be plastered on every website, newspaper and TV station in the country.
Celebrations are fine. Go crazy. Clog the streets, stop traffic, yell and scream. Enjoy the moment with your fellow students. Celebrations are positive. They're fun. They're befitting of a basketball game.
Riots are befitting of a warzone. Don't make campus look like one.
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