“Stormin’ the Court”!

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS March 11, 2013 #427         Up next…”Stormin’ the Court”!

After further review…Lately you may have noticed excessive “stromin’ the court” activity by college basketball fans, after their T*E*A*M has typically defeated a higher ranked opponent, especially as the result of a buzzer-beating final shot. Hundreds of fans will then rush onto the court to celebrate. “What’s it all about Alfie?”  Is it just college-kid craziness?

First off, running onto the court or playing field is not new. You may recall seeing film of Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle rounding third base after hitting the game-winning home run in the company of exuberant fans who’ve left their seats. That congratulatory style got out of hand, so game management stationed security on the field to prevent that trespassing.

Trespassing? Absolutely! The ticket a fan buys for a seat in the stands does not grant the privilege of a personal visit to the field or court. The NFL put a stop to such mob behavior by increasing security personnel and structuring stadiums so that there was no easy access to the field. The Southeastern Conference (SEC) has a rule that dictates a $5,000 fine for fans storming the court. The amount increases for repeat offenses.

Safety, of course, is a big issue with stromin’ the court. Fans rarely get to actually greet their players; their presence merely causes a commotion, particularly when opposing players may be hot-tempered after a loss. Can physical altercations occur? Of course. Some have suggested that the home fans simply wait until the visiting team has left the court. These stormin’ events are purely spontaneous reactions, and there is no reasonable expectation that home fans will ever wait patiently until the visitors have left, then rush onto the court. Not in this dimension anyway.

Perhaps the best suggestion for this negative phenomenon is a simple one: respect for one’s opponent. The visiting team is your guest and needs to be treated as such. Have we lost that? Certainly fans may yell and scream in ritual antagonism during the game. But there are boundaries, and observing them is vital to fair play and respectful competition, which seem to be under constant assault in today’s society. The TUNNEYSIDE suggests: if you want to be “inside the lines”, put on a uniform and play for your team. Boundaries make the games we play better.

Will you respect the boundaries of others in all walks-of-life?

To contact Jim go to www.jimtunney.com or email him at jim@jimtunney.com.


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