One of the most exciting feelings for sports fans and athletes alike is storming the court after a big win on your home floor. I was lucky enough to have had the chance to do this once while I was in college (Unranked South Carolina beating #1 Kentucky) and it will be a memory I will continue to cherish for years to come.
The students at the University of Maryland rushed the court after last night’s victory over the #14 N.C. State Wolfpack. However they have been attacked with harsh criticism for their actions by other fans and in the media. While some other media types might be condemning the actions of these students, it is a tradition in college basketball. The Maryland community should embrace it for what it was, a celebration after what was arguably the biggest win for the program since 2010.
The phrase “act like you’ve been there before” was one that I heard muttered in different shapes and forms by a variety of mediums over the course of the last 16 hours since the Terps buzzer beater victory. In theory, this comment makes sense and is plausible for the bulk of major college basketball programs. However, outside of members of the senior class at the University of Maryland none of these students who rushed the court last night had ever felt the thrill of victory over a highly touted nationally ranked opponent like they did last night. Furthermore, I’m sure the sheer lack of excitement that the football program has brought more students over the past few years helped their cause in doing this. Those who chose to rush the court and celebrate with their heroes on the hardwood made the right call and, quite frankly, shouldn’t care what the Seth Davis’ of the world think of their decision.
Last night, albeit ugly as a win as I have seen in a long time, was a big moment for this team and this program now that it is being guided by Mark Turgeon. Gary Williams, for lack of a better term, spoiled Maryland fans during his time in College Park by winning these types of games even when he did not have the most talented team on the floor. Up until this point Mark Turgeon had won plenty of big games in his coaching career but, without a shadow of a doubt, this was his first signature win as the head coach of the Maryland Terrapins. Those fans, who continued to loyally support this program and University throughout the lull in recent years, deserved last night’s celebration.
As my colleague, Mike Willis, so eloquently said on ESPNU’s UNITE on Tuesday night when asked whether a win over N.C. State would be worthy of storming the court the students at the University of Maryland are always looking for a reason to break out into a communal celebration. Last night’s win proved to be more than enough to provoke students to rush the floor in what was the start to what I could only imagine one hell of a party in College Park.
Although I am no longer a college student I can say with 100% confidence had I been in the same scenario as those current Maryland students, I would have been leading the charge onto the court. The fact of the matter is these students were living in the moment and could have cared less about what past Maryland teams had done. THEIR Terrapins team had just won their biggest game in three years, so why shouldn’t they have the right to celebrate any way they want to? Who are we, as outsiders, to decide what amount of celebration is deemed acceptable or not? This was their moment to celebrate the triumph of their university…and how can you really get upset after seeing jubilation like this?
Special thanks to everyone that contributed your photo’s from last night for the purpose of this article.
Jackie Lazzaro via @MariamiMichelle