Rushing the court is awesome.
In my life, I’ve been a part of three court/field storming incidents:
- In 8th grade, my CYO team won the region championship and our modest fan section rushed the court. Do not bring this story up to me when I’ve been drinking. I’ll take the rest of your night away.
- In high school, I ran on the field after a big win by my school’s football team with about 100 other fans. It was less a storming than a drizzle.
- I was at the BC-USC football game this year and rushed the field after the BC win.
All three of these events are burned in my memory and were some of the most fun I’ve ever had. I understand when people dislike people who play fun police. If something is fun, people should do it.
However, something doesn’t sit right seeing Georgetown rush the court after a win over Villanova. John Thompson III said so.
I don’t know that I am more qualified to determine rules and regulations than anyone else, but no one else seems to be stepping up and doing so. Here’s my best shot at rules of court (and field) storming:
Rule #1: If it feels right, do it.
This is the most important rule. Nothing else really matters. If you’re in the front row and it feels right when the clock hits all zeroes, jump the barrier and get out there. The Kick-Six at the 2013 Iron Bowl will break almost every other rule I’m going to list, but would anyone actually have expected Auburn fans to not litter the field after that game?
Go with your heart. This will overrule every other rule below. For example:
Rule #2: Don’t rush against a heated rival.
The Iron Bowl example goes directly against this, though I still think it holds. Rivalries are supposed to be both intense and somewhat balanced. Storming is for major upsets, and if someone is truly your rival, you should never be such a huge underdog that this would be in affect.
Rule #3: If you’re ranked in the top 25, you’d better have beaten a a top 5 team, or at least a top 10 team in dramatic fashion.
This one kind of goes without saying. The act is reserved for upsets and if you’re ranked, your opponent better be really good. This rule blends into the next one.
Rule #4: If you’re one of the nation’s most storied programs, you’d better think twice before stepping on the floor.
Negative feelings about Duke aside, can you imagine the Crazies storming Cameron? It’s just hard to imagine them ever being that big a home underdog that it seems warranted. The same goes for the fans at Kansas, UCLA, Kentucky, Arizona, UNC, and Indiana (sadly, due to recent years, it’s a bit easier to imagine at Assembly Hall than some of the others). Gonzaga deserves special mention simply because no one would schedule a true roadie at the Kennel anyways.
I suppose this is why JT3 wasn’t so happy with the Hoya faithful, but this a’int his father’s Georgetown (quite literally).
Rule #5: Ending a special winning streak or some sort of record breaking win would be a deserving occasion.
Top of my head, here’s some scenarios that would warrant a storm:
Anyone beating Kansas at the end of the year to clinch a solo Big XII title (ending the Jayhawks streak of 10 straight titles won or shared).
Northwestern, the only major conference team to NEVER go dancing in March, beating a top 15 team to seemingly punch their ticket.
Beating anyone on a 20+ game winning streak.
Rule #6: When small schools clinch a spot in March Madness, all bets are off.
Do anything. Storm the court. Storm the library. Storm the university president’s office.
Rule #7: When you do rush the court, watch where you are going and don’t trample anyone. And don’t do anything to the other team.
Whenever there’s a big, wild court storming the old fuddy-duddies will talk about safety and they aren’t wrong. If done incorrectly, someone can get hurt. This is why the SEC fines schools for court storms (and why you see less in that conference, until someone beats Kentucky…good luck stopping those students). So if you’re hopping a railing to get on the field/court, do so carefully.
Also, don’t be a jerk to the other team. Coach K has a habit now of clearing his team from the court before the game even ends for their safety (I’m not a big fan of coaches throwing walk-ons to the wolves while the star players sneak to the locker room. It makes them feel like real second-class citizens.)
Have any rules you’d like to add? Think anyone even suggesting rules is a part of the fun police and should just keep quiet? Leave a comment below.
Shane McNichol is the founder, editor, and writer at PalestraBack.com. Follow him on Twitter @OnTheShaneTrain.