Sports reporting is a pretty cool gig. You get a comfy seat, free food, an unobstructed view, more free food and stats galore. Oh, and some drunk dude with a mullet does not spill beer on your brand new jersey. And when the game is all said and done, you even get to rub elbows (among other body parts… which we’ll save for another post) with the star athletes themselves.
But there is one aspect to the game, especially in college sports, that a lot of journalists like to talk about, but in reality, they can never, ever relate to. And that’s the sheer madness that ensues after a big win.
Storming the floor. Rushing the field. Whatever you want to call it, a lot of people like to talk about it, but few have truly experienced it from both ends (that’s what she said).
That’s why this Fynal Cutter is here to say, fresh off a field frolic of my own in Bloomington, that unleashing hoards of college kids onto a playing field is definitely not a bad thing (yes, that’s me under the bucket).
It seems like once a year this becomes the big debate in sports: Whether or not students should be allowed on the field/court after an upset or historic win. And a lot of pundits like to say it’s unsafe, or that there is an invisible barrier that’s not supposed to be broken. Well I say bologna to that barrier.
Try telling IU quarterback Kellen Lewis that none of the fans that lifted him up and carried him off the field should have been allowed down. Better yet, try telling any number of the thousands of regular college Joes and Janes that they should never have been allowed to forge a memory that will stick with them forever.
Speaking personally, I’ve been on both sides of this story. I’ve sat in a press box while madness spilled out before my very eyes. I’ve also gone stark-raving mad and burst through that invisible barrier to jump around, shoulder to shoulder with my heroes like we’re equals. Because in those moments, there is no division. It’s not a matter of athletes and students, it’s just a bunch of college kids, all wearing the same colors, collectively reveling in the same glorious moment.
So for every instance of legitimate danger (and all things considered, there are only a very, very select few) there are thousands and thousands of students who experience something that will never, ever leave them. And aren’t the fans the reason these events take place in the first place?
So sports reporters can go on and on with all their reasons why colleges should do more to dissuade that sort of behavior, but after this past weekend I feel like I have a better idea why those guys all say that. They’re just jealous they’re not the ones getting to kiss the bucket. Cuz it’s one of the very few instances where it truly is better to be a fan.