Column: Order on the court
Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 23:01
It is a wonderful thing. An exhilarating event. A happening unlike anything else in sports.
But it needs to stop.
Storming the court has got to slow down before we all whip ourselves into a sport-wide hurricane. The rush of charging onto the floor and forming makeshift mosh pits after the final buzzer is awesome. But right now, it has become more watered down more than any beverage boasting “Zero calories.”
Don’t believe me? As of this past weekend, there were eight courts stormed over a span of the last two weeks. Were all of these actually once-in-a-lifetime upsets worthy of special celebration? No.
Now, this is generally the time of year when elder experts and analysts typically start to clamor about we young folks rushing the court after every horn, honk and hoot. Conference play lends itself to upsets and extra excitement, so naturally more courts become crowded and as a result, more complaints are made. Fire off a quick Google search, and you’ll see.
But to me, this season’s been different and has in fact proven the depreciated standards we fans hold for games that are appropriate to storm.
So, I think it’s time for some guidelines. Now, this idea of course is flawed in and of itself, as predetermined rules for an act that’s spontaneous and against the rules is silly. I’m also sure you ‘ll soon imagine exceptions to these rules, times when rushing the court seems perfectly OK (for example, the crowd who rushed the floor after the New Jersey Institute of Technology broke its 51-game losing streak a few years back. If anyone had tried to stop them, they should’ve gone to sports Hell).
But hear me out, because there’s no denying the increased frequency of storming has diminished how special it is and that shouldn’t be.
1.) No rushing the court if you’ve won a national championship in the last three years. Think about this - your school reached the absolute pinnacle of college basketball in very recent memory. Now you’re going to celebrate a regular season win accomplished by a team that still has players from that incredible championship run? And you’re going to do it in the same exact way you did after the title?
Ya, I don’t think so. 2.) Rushing is only allowed if there’s a disparity of 20 or fewer spots between the teams in the coaches’ poll. This rule does a couple of things. Primarily, it prohibits court-rushing after victories over teams outside the top-five, because the greatest disparity can only be between an unranked club and a No. 5 team. Now, recall that these rules are simply ideal, so if our old friends at NJIT were to beat anyone in the top-five they probably should rush. But, generally speaking, stay in your seats. Now, what if a No. 18 team beats the no. 1? Seems storm-worthy. Except, if you’re the no. 18 team, you’re likely just as good as the teams a few spots both above and below you, from 15 down to 21, meaning that you’re better than every single team in the country except a handful. You’re not likely to fall out of the top-25 and are thus accepted as a pretty darn good team.
3.) Rival fan bases should never, ever storm the court, no matter what. Listen, a rival school in your eyes is no better than your own. So, why act as if beating them was a rare event? Why give them the satisfaction and make it seem like you had so little faith that your squad would win? Yes, rivalries are built on healthy hate, so that win will feel much better than a lot of others in a season. But more importantly, rivalries only exist when there is consistent competitiveness between the two teams, back-and-forth victories over each other. You should expect to win regularly and not celebrate like it’s a rare thing when you do. Only if there has been years and years of losing to those sons of b*tches, should you rush the court.
4.) Finally, if there is a last-second desperation heave from beyond NBA range to beat the buzzer and win a decent upset (if we’re now talking about a disparity of 10 spots), throw these rules out the window. Because you likely just saw a game for the ages and there’s no time to think. Just celebrate.