Championship teams’ fans riot, spread havoc, disorder

By Jonathon Blader, Staff Writer ||

Imagine, just for a second that F&M athletics were all Division One. Through hard work and determination, one of the College’s teams was playing in the national championship game. Win or lose, the campus is a powder keg poised to explode. If this unlikely scenario were to play out, would there be rioting on Hartman Green? Would the Dip faithful tear down the light posts and plunge them through the windows of Zebi’s? How would Public Safety cope with a thousand intoxicated students climbing up trees?

I ask these questions out of pure curiosity. Rioting after sporting events has become somewhat of a tradition at some of the bigger state schools with prominent athletic programs. This recent trend was thrust into the public eye once again after the University of Connecticut saw both its men’s and women’s basketball teams win national championships. Shortly after the men’s win over the University of Kentucky on April 7, the thousands of fans that had been rooting for the Huskies from inside Gampel Pavilion, UConn’s on-campus arena, were joined by thousands more supporters. Prior to the game, the University announced it would bring in a DJ to please the crowds, but it was a useless proposition. As is college tradition, heavy drinking occurred before, during, and after the game, with UConn students becoming rowdier by the minute. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that students climbed on trees, started fires, flipped cars, and vandalized campus until the wee hours of the morning. When all was said and done, 35 people were arrested, and $55,000 worth of damage occurred.

Most of the media wrote this event off as immature college kids letting loose in an irresponsible fashion, but there is more to be said about the matter. While there was a constant buzz of disapproval from news outlets, college-aged students from around the country were congratulating UConn on “turning up” the right way. Is this simply a generational gap topic that the older crowd will never understand? Or could it be that one side has the more valid point?

The fact of the matter is that vandalizing your school is considered cool to some people, no matter how backwards that sounds. If your favorite team wins, it really feels like you won along with them. By throwing a wild celebratory party, you’re showing an intense amount of school pride.

Regardless, there will always be another side to the coin. A celebration should not be reprimanded, but reckless festivities that could potentially harm others cannot be condoned. This is the only shot college students get to be part of a counterculture; blowing off steam shouldn’t be condemned. With the stress that college puts on today’s students, should UConn be content with only $55,000 worth of damage?

If this were to happen at F&M, where would you stand? Would you take to the streets and show your Diplomat pride? Or would you stay in, refusing to participate in the once-in-a-lifetime debauchery that was about to ensue?

 

First-year Jonathan Blader is a staff writer. His email is jblader@fandm.edu. 

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