College students possess one of the most unique privileges in sports: the ability to run onto the court/field and celebrate with their team after a big win. CSU fans abused that privilege last season, rushing the floor at Moby five times over the course of volleyball and basketball seasons.
By the time it got to the fourth and fifth times it started to seem a little rehearsed. A script developed and students followed it every single time CSU played and beat a ranked team. At some point the student body has to take a step back and examine the act of storming the court.
It represents an outpouring of spontaneous joy after a monumental upset or statement win over a rival. Storming the floor says, “there’s no way we should have ever won this game, let’s have a riot on the hardwood.”
For instance, the CSU volleyball team’s come from behind victory over then-No. 5 Nebraska at Moby Arena in November exemplifies the moment when the court should be stormed.The Cornhuskers took a commanding two set lead and thoroughly outplayed the Rams at the break. Then something happened. CSU’s spikes started to hit the floor. Nebraska didn’t look as massively imposing.
The Rams won the third set, and people were glad they didn’t get swept. Then the fourth and the crowd responded, ready for a fifth set. After CSU made the match-clinching block droves of students filled the Moby floor, jumping and chanting in exuberance, feeling as victorious as the members of the team themselves.
That sort of expression and jubilation becomes more and more difficult to capture as victories over ranked teams multiply. When CSU upset then-No. 17 UNLV at the end of last season, some fans rushed first and it gradually built, but never reached the thunderous tide of previous victories.
It wasn’t as if the game lacked excitement, CSU overcame a 16-point deficit to pull out the victory. The magic and mystique of rushing the court simply vanished for fans who had come to expect the victories rather than dream about them.
The Rams had started to beat good teams on a regular basis, and fans came to expect the wins rather than convulse with spontaneous exuberance. After last season’s three wins over top-25 teams in Moby and a berth in the NCAA tournament, CSU’s basketball program has elevated itself to the next echelon.
Fans should expect CSU to win nearly every if not every game at home because of the level of the Rams’ play on their own floor, which will never lead to the type of surprise and spontaneous expression that results in storming the court.
In no way am I advocating a full-stop on court storming. If San Diego State or New Mexico crack the top-10 by their visits to Fort Collins, rush away, but if they hold steady in the mid-20’s, fans need to exercise some restraint.
CSU has already proven this season that it is capable of equaling and surpassing teams occupying the upper echelons of the Mountain West conference standings with its win over UNLV earlier this year.
Fans surprised those of us on press row by not storming the court as we were preparing to shoot video of the event as we did so often last year.
While this behavior shows a good start, it must be maintained throughout the rest of the season.
UNLV was ranked No. 23 in the USA today coaches’ poll at the time of the game and unranked in the AP poll, so it wasn’t exactly the game of the century.
But that restraint should be acknowledged and continue. CSU fans recognized that the win over UNLV, while dramatic, was not worth storming the court over.
It was a classy move by a knowledgeable fan base of a team on the rise.
Stay classy CSU and stay off the floor unless the gravity of the moment demands it.